It was the morning of New Years day when someone sent me a text message that caused me to raise my head from the alcoholoc stupor it was in and examine my phone. The person used this exact phrasing: “Erhm mah gawd, Tomb Raider iz gunna hav mltiplayer”. To be entirely honest this didn’t really register in what remained of my brain as I once again faceplanted the pillows of my bed, determined to at least attempt to get rid of the tiny bloody dwarf that was seemingly beating on the inside of my head with a hammer. About 3-hours later some part of my slowly dissolving mind registered the text message and said, “Tomb Raider is going to have multiplayer!?” On retrospect that’s a terrible way to wake up with a hangover.
Alright, so enough with the stupid story. Rumors that Crystal Dynamic’s reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise will have multiplayer have been floating around for a while, but now we have actual confirmation with Karl Stewart sending out a Tweet saying, “OK, so after all the speculation..yes it’s true.” and providing a link to Official Xbox Magazine’s website, where they state: “In the issue hitting subscribers starting tomorrow (on newsstands Jan 8), read all about our hands-on impressions of Crystal Dynamics’ newest addition to Lara’s upcoming adventure: multiplayer! We spill the details on the new modes and info on who you’ll be playing as.”
Huh. Interesting. In true Internet fashion there’s been a quite a few people wrongly reporting this as a competitive or head-to-head multiplayer, when in fact nothing of the sort has been mentioned and we’re all still in the metaphorical dark, or actual dark depending on what country you’re reading this in. I’m looking at you Gamespot, unless you somehow know something the rest of he world doesn’t. In fact it seems likely that it’ll be some sort of co-operative mode, considering OXM said, “and info on who you’ll be playing as,” suggesting to me a named character with an actual story, which in turn suggests a co-operative character of some sort rather than a generic Deathmatch character designed to be killed over and over and over and over. Mind you UK retailer GAME listed multiplayer as a component of the game a while back with the description, “play a variety of multiplayer modes as Lara’s Shipmates or Yamatai’s Scavengers.” which does sort of suggest a competitive multiplayer, and the same sentence from OXM I used to vaguely prop up my co-op argument could also be referring to two groups of people. And the cover of OXM helpfully says, “Fight for survival against friend and foe”, although I suppose that could also actually be referring to either co-op or competitive multiplayer as well. This is just speculation of my behalf, mind, but co-op would make sense given the style of game. I’ll probably end up being wrong, though. Bugger.
Meanwhile the reaction to this revelation has been exactly what you’d expect, by which I mean mildly chaotic. To be fair there’s actually a lot of people reserving judgement until we actually know something, but there’s still a lot of people out there condemning the entire game and the developers, making bold claims that multiplayer is shoe-horned in and that it will somehow affect the quality of the singleplayer. You’d think by now with the likes of Mass Effect 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood that we’d have learned not to jump to massive conclusions, because they actually turned out to have rather good and pretty damn popular multiplayer modes! As such, I’ll reserve judgement, because it’s entirely possibly that multiplayer will turn out to be the greatest thing to ever happen to the franchise. Or it’ll suck. Either way, I’ll hang until we know a bit more, me thinks.