EDGE MAGAZINE #4


Lara would be on the run, in a contemporary setting unlike any she had faced before, framed for something she only partially understood – and we would kill off at least one long running character from the series. Originally this was going to be Jean Yves but because of some copyright problems we switched to Werner Von Croy, Lara’s erstwhile mentor and now traitor, having abandoned her in a collapsing tomb in the previous game.


The scope of what we were taking on was immense.  I began by writing a flashback scene, a cinematic opening in a crumbling German castle being bombed by WW II Allied planes in a remote border region of the failing Third Reich. This is a technique I use in all my writing, creating a ‘mood piece’, that will establish the tenor of what I’m trying to formalise in my mind. I fleshed out this preface with dialogue, camera directions and masses of implied background detail about the characters involved. It never made it into the final game but established the all important tone and quality of the world we were intending to create.


Q- I understand the game changed significantly during its development with levels being cut and large portions of the story becoming truncated. Could you please go into some detail about what alterations were made and if you feel these adversely affected your writing?

A- By December of 2000 the bulk of the story, establishing scenes and supporting concepts were in place and documented. I would say the main skeleton of 90-95% of what we finally used was there. I then started work on the dialogue that would need recording before any of the establishing FMVs could be animated. There were changes throughout the next two and a bit years right up until the last possible minute but the infrastructure of the story, as it now exists in the finished game, was there, healthy and strong.


As it was first plotted out the main action would take place in Paris and Prague with a massive finale planned for the subterranean cities of Cappadocia, in central Turkey. When the levels in Paris and Prague grew to gargantuan proportions other locations had to be cut. As I’ve already said, the WWII German Castle Kriegler, one of my personal favourites, had been jettisoned well before December of 2000, quite rightly as it panned out. The Nephilim final act, planned for Cappadocia, was grafted onto the Prague level, all involving radical rewrites. The thinking at the time was that subsequent games could pick up any left over threads and the narrative arc would continue, using what had been established as the creative springboard. There were plans to launch game II in Cappadocia.


Actually there was a lot of material that got cut and changed; the whole process was one of slash and patch, right up to the latest possible moments before release, but this is nothing new in the games industry. There were however things that got left so late that their final omission left the game badly crippled and I mourn them. One example was the range of hero abilities planned for Kurtis. He ended up as such a thin, emasculated version of the character we planned in the early stages of development that I could have wept. I may actually have done so. He was a casualty of war in every way. I hated having to write down to the limitations of programming and time constrictions. It had to be done but I hated it.