Tomb Raider, the upcoming reboot of the old-running series from Crystal Dynamics, might not have a true open world, but the developer is confident that the different hubs on the island will create the sensation of a sprawling environment.
The new Tomb Raider game overhauls the whole series, bringing a younger version of protagonist Lara Croft, as well as a bigger emphasis on survival, as the young explorer is shipwrecked on an island filled with mercenaries and scavengers.
While she can't freely explore the island, like in Far Cry 3, for example, there are settlements that act like hubs and emphasize exploration to varying degrees.
"As a Tomb Raider game you want to create a world that's rich with atmosphere and high fidelity enough to feel like a real place," Crystal Dynamics' Noah Hughes told CVG.
"Another aspect, that was essential to keep, was that sense of finding things. It wasn't acceptable to trip along a linear path. So the hubs were really that middle ground where we felt we could deliver on that sense of exploration and maintain that fidelity that we thought was important."
The island is also filled with different collectibles and players will have reasons to check all of them out, either to get extra experience or to find out more about the island and its characters.
"Each of them has a goal, like the relics you pick up," Hughes said about the collectibles.
"The pull there really is to share the archaeological experience with Lara. In the case of the historical docs, they really represent more of a narrative element where people are curious about the backstory of the island and the relevant characters. Each one has a goal of adding to the experience."
Tomb Raider is out on March 5 worldwide for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.