While I was in London trying out Halo 5: Guardians and Rise of the Tomb Raider, I got time to sit down with Mike Brinker from Crystal Dynamics to chat about Rise of the Tomb Raider. I got to grill him for some answers to a few questions that fans have been looking for. This is what we chatted about:

Related: Rise of the Tomb Raider -Hands On Impressions

How important is Lara’s character development in Rise of the Tomb Raider, and what can we expect to see while we play through the game?

Lara’s obsession with “truth” is a key factor that plays into Rise of the Tomb Raider. Lara becomes obsessed with these truths and she will do anything to uncover them. What we are focusing on as a studio is showing the world the “Rise” of the Tomb Raider, and how Lara has to overcome these challenges to uncover the mysteries and challenges she faces. Its all about her being prepared and resourceful.

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Yamatai is over and the events that took place are still part of every fan out there. How important are the events to Rise oft he Tomba Raider and how do they tie into the sequel? Will we see any returning characters?

We are focusing on the story mainly for rise of the Tomb Raider and the events are important but you will not feel lost of you did not play the last title. Characters will return as you saw for yourself Jona is back, and there will be more as you play the game. I cannot say much about other characters, but the story and characters all play a major part in how Lara rises to becoming Tomb Raider.

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What is your favourite new thing that Lara can do?

There are so many of them, but so far Lara’s ability to take her Bow Rope and tether it to objects and take objects and tether them together really adds a new depth to puzzles and combat.

Lets chat about the upgrade system and how deep it all goes. Will there be a set number of weapons for each weapons type, or do you start and end with the same bow and just upgrade it while you progress through the game?

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We wanted to increase everything Lara could do  so right off the bat we increased her skills. We now have gear that you can not only find but you can repair and craft, and now she has a variety of weapons. She does not only have one bow, there are several bows that she can equip now and use. All this changes the way you want to play, lets say you prefer stealth, you can upgrade your bow to enhance your stealth abilities. Overall her weapon and skill tree develops completely different each time you play the game. Weapons and skills also come in different rarity forms, if you explore more you will find better gear and if you just run right to the end of the game you will have the starter gear.

What about the size of the game? how many days off should I take to get this one done?

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Expect to spend around 30 -40 hours getting everything done. This is gathering every weapons, ability and completing every side quest. It all comes down to how you want to play through the game. Running through the game will take you around 15 – 20 hours. So expect double the play time collecting everything and exploring every secret tomb. In terms of scale, all our hub spaces, the areas that allow you to explore and choose your own way to play, have been increased by three time the size. So there will be lots more to see and do in each area of the game too. We have more challenge tombs, crypts, caves, and a bunch of extra things to do like the side missions for the Remnant people, and the tomb guardians.