As part of Tomb Raider’s 25th anniversary festivities, Square Enix has released new footage and details about the canceled survival horror game Tomb Raider Ascension.
Square Enix worked on Tomb Raider Ascension for some time as part of the “exploratory phase” of development that would lead up to Crystal Dynamics’ 2013 reboot. “It was through Ascension that the team homed in on telling an origin story through the lens of survival,” the publisher said.
In the gameplay footage, we see Lara Croft running around various environments and fighting against otherworldly fantastical creatures, at times on horseback. The footage stems from an in-development version of the game, which is why it looks rough. It definitely shows a lot of potential, though, so it’s not hard to see why some elements were retained for the reboot.
A second video shows off some of Tomb Raider Ascension’s gorgeous concept art, which depicts Lara Croft in a variety of settings and environments. The artwork also depicts some of the enemies Lara would meet up with and the young girl Izumi, who would have been at Lara’s side.
In a third video, Square Enix shows off some of the branding and box art mockups for Tomb Raider Ascension, which presumably would have been released on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. The video also features some “early exploratory” voice over aimed at showing a different side of Lara. “I get lost. I have doubts. I know pain. I know fear,” she says. “One day, I will become a legend, a warrior, a hero, a raider. But first, I will be a survivor.”
The survival element was a key facet of 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot, both in terms of the gameplay and in the story. The game was successful and spawned two sequels, Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015) and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018).
Given how successful and iconic the Tomb Raider series is, it’s expected there will be more games in the future, but no official announcements have been made just yet. Crystal Dynamics is now working alongside Microsoft’s The Initiative on a reboot of Perfect Dark.