William Kerslake, Senior Designer on Rise of the Tomb Raider
With Rise of the Tomb Raider the Live team wanted to find new ways for players to interact with their core campaign experience, both to customize the gameplay and show off their skills to friends.
The Expedition experience begins with the Expedition Cards.
These cards come in three main flavors. Some give you bonuses like increasing melee damage or faster health recovery. Others make the game more difficult, removing the ability to heal or making enemies immune to specific types of damage. Finally we have some that are just for fun, big heads, chicken arrows or exploding enemies that tend to be team favorites.
Cards are purchased in packs with credits, earned through completing the campaign, and given as rewards for progress in all the Expedition modes. Credits can be earned in the story by exploring the world, completing challenge tombs, side missions, and from finding the lost backpacks of friends who have died.
Cards can be used in any of the Expedition modes. The first mode, Chapter Replay, lets you jump in and experience any key moment in the Rise of the Tomb Raider story using the skills and equipment from that point in the game. With Chapter Replay Elite you can go back and replay a previous moment with your fully upgraded skills and weapons from the full campaign.
With Score Attack we wanted to make a mode that acknowledged skilled players and the speed runner community that has always been a part of Tomb Raider. We look at it internally as an arcade-like experience, complete with pop-up scores and combo chains. With Score Attack we knew we were on the right track when internal email threads started popping up with people boasting about high scores and planning the best runs through a level.
During the campaign of Rise of the Tomb Raider we unlock each level as they are completed. We also record your score for each of the main areas behind the scenes so that you have a target score to beat when you’ve finished playing the campaign and want to show off the skills you’ve learned.
Expedition Cards are an important aspect of the Score Attack experience because each card comes with a bonus multiplier to your overall score. In general cards that make the experience easier lower your score, while cards that make the game more challenging give you a score boost. To get to the top of the leaderboard you are going to want to play with some hard cards.
It was really important to us that all players had a chance to score their best even if they haven’t unlocked the toughest cards. So you can look at any entry on the leaderboards, see what cards they used, and choose to spend credits to play with the cards they’ve unlocked regardless of if you’ve unlocked them yourself.
In all these modes we’ve included a whole new set of challenges (500+ in total) that test your abilities. From speed runs to taking down a bear using only melee attacks, the challenges show off the variety of ways Lara can tackle the obstacles in front of her.
Where the Expedition Card concept shines is Remnant Resistance. Here you can use your cards to create custom missions for Lara as she works with the Remnant against Trinity. Choose a location, objectives, and the weapons you want to use and set a target score for your mission. Once you complete the mission it’s uploaded and distributed with its own custom leaderboard as a challenge for your friends to complete. After a week the player with the best score for your mission gets a bonus credit payout based on how many friends have played it.
Make a fun mission with wacky cards or make an impossible mission that you don’t think any friends can beat and keep that reward for yourself. It’s up to you and whatever you want to create.
If creating isn’t your thing you can always play missions others have created. Playing missions is also a great way to see all the different Expedition Cards as only the mission creator needs to own the card to include it in a mission.
We look forward to seeing all the missions you guys create!