Shadow of the Tomb Raider release date: New E3 trailers show off new game mechanics and a battle-ready Lara Croft

On Sunday, a new trailer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider was unveiled at the Xbox E3 press briefing, and it looked to be one thrilling end to an incredible trilogy. Now we’ve got our first ever gameplay trailer, which shows off some of Shadow’s new  game mechanics.

As you can see from the trailer, it looks like there’s going to be a big emphasis on stealth, plus fully-fledged swimming for the first time. 

“Experience Lara Croft’s defining moment as she becomes the Tomb Raider,” Square Enix wrote in a blog post. “In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara must master a deadly jungle, overcome terrifying tombs, and persevere through her darkest hour. As she races to save the world from a Maya apocalypse, Lara will ultimately be forged into the Tomb Raider she is destined to be.”

In the story trailer shown on Sunday, Lara struggles with an internal battle between good and evil, wavering on whether to take down Trinity or fix the mistakes that she’s helped to create. It’s arguably the best Shadow trailer we’ve seen to date.

You can read more about what Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics has in-store for Lara Croft below, including when the game will be released.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Everything you need to know

When Square Enix rebooted Tomb Raider in 2013, it showed off a grittier, less overtly sexualised version of its famous protagonist Lara Croft. It charted the start of her journey from a plucky teenager into a vengeful, hard-nosed archaeologist, with the battle scars to prove it.

Now, after an extended wait since Rise of the Tomb Raider, Square Enix has finally confirmed Shadow of the Tomb Raider to be the third and seemingly final game in the trilogy. And it’s back this September.

But what can we expect from Shadow of the Tomb Raider, now that we know it will be helmed by Eidos-Montreal? And what will it be about? Read on to find out everything we know so far about Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider release date: When is it coming out?

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is slated for a 14 September release. Unlike Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft’s final adventure lands on Xbox One, PS4 and PC – including Xbox One X and PS4 Pro versions – simultaneously. No doubt this comes as welcome news for PS4 and PC gamers who had to wait up to a year before getting the chance to play Lara’s last outing.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider story: What is it and what will it be about?

Slated to be the final game in the rebooted trilogy, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a setup to bring Lara Croft’s journey of self-discovery to a close. It’s not entirely clear what the setup is going to be, but it’s looking likely that this Tomb Raider entry is going to be far darker than the previous two entries, and that’s certainly saying something.

Crystal Dynamics has been leading the Tomb Raider project since 2006 but, for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the reigns have been handed over to Eidos Montreal. The Canadian studio is best known for its work on Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, but the Crystal Dynamics is still there as a guiding hand to keep them on track.

Chances are, despite the change in teams, Lara Croft is in safe hands. Going on the announcement trailer alone, it seems a change hasn’t affected the series’ dark tone. Even in a dense jungle with Mayan-inspired aesthetic, it manages to ooze a dark and otherworldly feel.

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Square Enix has kept its cards close to its chest on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, revealing little beyond the two trailers we’ve already seen. We know that it revolves around a Mayan apocalypse – harking back to 2012’s doomsday predictions – with early previews of the game stating that the first stage of the apocalypse begins with a tsunami that sweeps away an entire town.

In the three-minute trailer, we’re given a brief glimpse of Lara battling through a jungle while simultaneously questioning what sort of person she’ll become once she finally gets her revenge.

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Speaking at a preview event in LA, Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s narrative director Jason Dozois stated: “this is Lara’s defining moment, the moment when she becomes the Tomb Raider.

“It’s the culmination of her journey over the series and shows how the events of the past adventures have affected her.”

There’s also set to be a large morality element to Shadow of the Tomb Raider, indicating that you’ll have to decide just how Lara tracks down and takes on the shadowy Trinity organisation who killed her father.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider gameplay: How will it play?

Core gameplay details are rather scant but hands-on previews give us an idea of what we can expect. At first glance, it’s largely the same affair as past Tomb Raider games. However, as players delve deeper, Eidos Montreal’s DNA came through.

One interesting feature is the addition of something the team calls “living tombs”. Instead of simply being dead set pieces for action to take place in, these new environments allow Lara to interact with local culture and discover more about their history and further unravel threads of Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s story. There are even nonplayer characters to talk and interact with some screenshots hint at larger populated hub areas as well.

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Speaking to Polygon, lead game designer Heath Smith explained that the team is “trying to get the best of both worlds with the combination of linear segments with the openness of exploration. It’s still very much the Metroidvania you know and can cater to yourself, but with the added ability to give us a strong storytelling tool.”

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Thankfully, there’s still going to be plenty of puzzles to solve, sections to stealth your way through and plenty of goons to kill. Although, even there the team want to change the perception of Lara as a stone-cold killer.

“We’re aware of the perception that Lara’s a killer, but when she engages in violence, it’s a matter of life or death,” Smith explained.

“She’s going dark, using fear tactics, and even learning from the enemy and the cultures she’s studied,” added Dozois. “She’s become an apex predator even if she didn’t mean to.”

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It’s not entirely clear how Eidos Montreal plans to create this shift, but it looks as if players will have a greater toolset to call upon to change just how it feels to play as Lara.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider will challenge Lara Croft in new and unexpected ways,” studio head David Anfossi said in a press release. “Our team has created a diverse set of skills, combat, techniques and equipment for players to master and they’ll certainly need them if they hope to survive the deadly jungle environments and tombs.”

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