Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Lead Writer Jill Murray Interview

Interview with Jill Murray, Lead Writer at Eidos-Montreal

A special interview that was part of my trip to Montreal for the reveal of the game. You can view the interview as a video slightly below or read it. Keep in mind that this is taken from what was said during the video in almost exact transcription. I felt keeping the nuances of the speech was appropriate.

To start off, do you think that with this rebooted series that it has gotten females more into game because of this series?

Jill: I think that women have always been into games and what we’ve been seeing the last few years is more recognition of this fact. I know that Tomb Raider is a franchise that has a lot of women fans. We see that in the cosplay, it’s an excellent franchise and I’m really proud to be writing for it

So with this being a sort of a conclusion for her origin do you think this is the darkest entry in the series?

Jill: In this series we seen her go from Tomb Raider (2013) where she was very much a survivor to Rise where she was more of a Hunter. Now she arrives in Shadow of the Tomb Raider at her full capabilities. She’s powerful, she’s the Tomb Raider she’s always been destined to be now. But now she has to work out with all this power she has, she has the capacity to make some big mistakes. Will she allow her power to draw her into a place where’s she’s becoming the enemy she hates or learn to work with it to be a bit more positive of a presence in the world.

A big theme in the demo was consequences of her actions and what she can do. How do you design an effect where she’s done something and then she goes back, wow I just did that.

Jill: Ya, we have a lot of great moments where the player is right there with her. We see she’s about to do something that’s a bad idea. But there’s this ticking clock of the Mayan Apocalypse that’s coming. You know she doesn’t have much time to solve her problem, you know Trinity is coming into that space. You with her, want to make that decision in that moment so you do. As a player, just like Lara you’re left with all of these tensions of should I have done that, why did I do that? How am I going to get out of this. As you slowly see it play, you realize the meaning of your action gives you a lot to think about. She’s going to have to confront that guilt, and complicity of what am I doing here? Am I actually making things better, or worse?

So Jonah is back as we saw, what sort of dynamics are play with those two and I was told he has his own arc in this

Jill: Oh ya, so the same way Lara as evolved as a character. Jonah has also found peace, he’s capable in his own way. Lara can get things done by fighting, he can get things done by talking to people, knowing everyone in the neighborhood. He’s that best friend that always has her back, but is also the one person that can call her off when she’s veering seriously off course. We get to see more of how their friendship works and also see it strained to its absolute limit

So with Jonah coming back, are there other characters we’re going to meet and are they going to play a pivotal place in this?

Jill: You’re going to have to stick with us to find out about other characters, we’re focused on the ones you saw in the demo. Jonah is there, we have this fantastic new antagonist in Dominguez? We have more to show you at possibly E3. Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Lead Writer Jill Murray Interview
So with there being a sort of new enemy, yet familiar one. What sort of dynamics are we going to have as far as this bad guy we were introduced to in the demo?

Jill: Dominguez is at the head of Trinity, so he represents the force that Lara’s been trying to take down all along. He brings with him his own motivations and drive that we can recognize as having a value of their own. He challenges Lara by making her think about what she’s doing compared to what he’s doing. Probably even make the player question what’s really going on.

Are there going to be any call backs to the last two, narrative wise? Is she going to be mentioning past experiences?

Jill: Ya, here and there. In the demo you played you might have noticed crowd scenes isn’t her thing. To Jonah they mentioned some things in the past. We really tried to honor the fantastic work that the teams that came before put into this series. They really did gift us with some incredible material to start with.

Thanks for your time, I’d like to leave a last spot for you to mention or say anything on Shadow of the Tomb Raider?

Jill: The game comes out on September 14, 2018. The thing I’m most proud of is that we have an emotional character driven story that still has these blockbuster moments you’d expect from Tomb Raider. That you can expect to see, lower lows, higher highs and I hope you come with Lara and us on this journey.

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Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner