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London Shadow of the Tomb Raider Reveal Event - My Experiences!

May 04, 2018 Kate Sykes 0 Comments



Recently, I was invited to and sponsored by Square Enix to attend the reveal event for the new game, "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" at The Welsh Chapel on Shaftsbury Avenue, London.

We set off at 10am from Sedbergh and arrived in London at 3:30pm, after a stop for a bathroom break and a McDonalds take-away, and got lost with our new sat-nav taking round in circles for two hours!
We drove past the London Eye a few times, around Trafalgar Square many times! I did get a good look at the new statue of Milicent Fawcett (first female historic figure to be represented among the Square statues).
We finally found the carpark at Waterloo Station and walked around until we found our hotel.
We checked in and then took a black taxi to the venue which, believe it or not, are wheelchair accessible! It was a fun experience to be able to do that in London.
On the way, we past the Palace Theatre, current home to "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child", which was just at the end of the road from the event...

We arrived at the chapel at 6pm and were escorted round the back where a ramp was laid out for me.
Then Ally at Square Enix Europe showed us around.

Breif history: 
Buit in 1888 by James Cubitt, it was once a night club that hosted big names in the music industry, then an Australian-themed bar. Since then, it has been empty for years to be rented out for locations.

Upon entering the main area, I was immediately struck by an enormous rotating Mayan pyramid covered in greenery in the centre of the room.
Looking around, the room was filled with real exotic plants and vines weaved through the spindals of the balconies. The centre dome in the roof reached high above the floor and was lit in violet. It really felt like entering a tomb.
Ally took us to see the front entrance which was like walking through a Mexican graveyard on the Day of the Dead. Alters filled with candles, flowers, decorated skulls and offerings lined the walls around gravestones, statues and crosses...




Heading back into the main area, I bumped into Liz at Square Enix Europe who looked after Laura Eliza Cosplay and I while were cosplay ambassadors at EGX 2016.
I also saw Jessie TR again for the first time in two years!
Photo courtesy of Jessie TR.
We then briefly met up with Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager at Crystal Dynamics) before she headed downstairs for a presentation and we explained why we were late.
When she came back, she asked me "Have you met Alison yet?" I replied "No..." wondering if it was the same Alison I was thinking of. "I'll be back in a minute" she said, and lo and behold, she returned with Alison Carroll (formally the official live-action Lara Croft for Tomb Raider: Underworld) and introduced me as "one of our official cosplay ambassadors" who was both "Rise and Classic Lara"! As a professional gymnast as well as an actress, Alison was the first and last of the official Laras to take on all the action who also had the physique Lara would have.
She was someone my 15-year-old self really admired and wanted to be like. To meet her 10 years on at the reveal of a new Tomb Raider game was very special!

After asking her and Meagan to sign my copy of the community year book that is "20 Years of Tomb Raider" (*cough* by Meagan Marie *cough*), Meagan escorted me to find a spot in the queue to play the demo.
The corridor on the left where the queue was directed was too narrow for my chair to turn into, so I waited with anticipation outside another arched doorway which was blocked by a black curtain. During the wait, I met some friends and the new UK cosplay ambassador, Jade Sura, came over to say hello (who was a sweetheart and looked fantastic).
After 10 to 15 minutes, the curtain lifted and I entered quickly so not to reveal anything.

Demo impressions (no story spoilers):
Being the first Tomb Raider game developed by Eidos Montreal in collaboration Crystal Dynamics, we have a fresh new team including new writer, Jill Murray, and new game directer, Daniel Chayer Bisson.
The thing that stood out for me immediately, other than the striking enhanced graphics, was the difference in direction for the actors. From candid dialog between characters right down to subtle, not overly dramatic grunts and groans. It made everything feel real and grounded and showed more of what the actors' could do.
There are also some new features. Lara can now grapple with her axe I.E wall run and decend/swing from a rock wall. She can also dive under water and explore more without needing a rebreather. As for combat, this game focuses more on stealth and so Lara can cover herself in mud to blend in and use the enviroment to her advantage.
I also just want to talk about Lara's character for a moment....
That young, nieve girl is gone. Replaced with someone very familiar...oh and that physique I mentioned before, Shadow of the Tomb Raider definitely delivers on that! Lara can bend her enviroment to her will, moving with ease and contantly pushing her boundaries. Now she has the body to show for it, worthy of an Olympic athlete.
Her character also mirrors the tombs in this game. Both have taken a dark decent in that Lara will be just as terrifying and unpredictable at times. In the past two games, Lara has lost many people and has had to forge herself into a weapon in order to survive. What would that do to a person? What mark would it leave? In this, we see her start to question whether or not she's a good person and I think it's very important because what makes you human is that you have flawes, nobody is perfect, not even heroes.
I honestly can't wait to discover more!










Afterc the demo, I met up with some more friends and took pictures with the cosplay ambassadors...
With Zaelya Cosplay, French Cosplay Ambassador (who did some amazing stunts!)
With Tracie Swift, longtime fan and one of the organisers of the Tomb Raider Suite launch event at Hatfield House.
With Cath Vandier, longtime member of the French community and former Community and Communications Assistant at Crystal Dynamics.
With the lovely Augustin MDN, fantastic French cosplayer and reporter for laraider.com.
With Jade Sura, UK Cosplay Ambassador and Youtuber.
With Mareike AKA Aurora CosplayDream who I first got in contact with 10 years ago on Myspace! I also bought some cosplay items from her.
Great to finally meet her as the German Cosplay Ambassador!
With the amazing multi-talented Meagan Marie, Senior Community Manager at Crystal Dynamics, author and cosplayer.
I even got to sign an autograph for Amy D!

I had a ride on the revolving pyramid...because.



At the end of the night, Ally (of Square Enix Europe) came over to talk to me, we joked and she went and picked one of the real flowers from the display and gave it to me for a souvenir...

The event ended at midnight and we got a taxi back to the hotel, put the flower in water and got in bed at 12:45am!
The next morning, it was another early start to get ready for the community lunch at 11am before the trailer embargo at 2pm.
We were last minute attendants as we had extra time from arriving at the 24 hour carpark late and so we headed to Belgo's on Covent Garden via black taxi again...

We got there and Meagan told us she just found out that their lift was broken so my Dad, being awesome, fireman-lifted me down the stairs to the end of the restaurant.
We had the place to ourselves as we were booked before opening times and after ordering, we started talking to Rob, the Audio Director for SOTTR, who had come all the way from Montreal for the event.
He was clearly passionate about the project and excited that some of the fans finally got to play it.
He gave us some incite into his role in SOTTR.
Having worked in gaming for 30 years, Rob came onboard on day 1 of pre-production when it was still being decided what kind of world would be around Lara in this game.
He told us he often travelled to Crystal Dynamics in San Francisco and that all the sound recordings ended up being done at Sony's studio not far from there.
One of the things he did there was experiment with underwater microphones to record movement of water. Although he couldn't reveal anything, he also hinted that there could be some easter eggs for the fans.
He was also enthusiastic about how he feels this is a defining game in the series...."It's cool that this is the last in the trilogy", he said, "Although, there will be more adventures, this is the end of this reboot story." So, the last we'll see of Trinity? Not the last we see of Camilla Luddington I hope.

I left London incredibly excited for the game's release and what it could mean for the future of Tomb Raider.
Special thanks to Square Enix for sponsoring our trip and accommodation!
See our video of the event featuring Zaelya Cosplay in action and the official trailer below.
I'll end with a statement I think many will agree with....
Classic Lara Croft is reborn!

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