In 2013’s iteration of Tomb Raider, Lara Croft was driven by urgency, and most of her decisions were reactive. She responded to drama, or conflict, or struggle only because she had to, not because she was driven to by her ambitions. Five real-world years later, in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft has evolved into someone who’s narcissistic, and destructive, and obsessed with finding the next treasure, or the next artifact that defines her importance. She’ll go far enough to ignore her allies, even if it means starting a war – even an apocalypse – all by herself, because the race to win is more important than anything else.
With that, I think the title of 2018’s addition to the Tomb Raider franchise makes a lot more sense than it did to me initially. This is seemingly intended to be Lara Croft’s darkest story, with the beloved protagonist realizing there’s a human cost to what she previously thought just involved ‘raiding tombs’, and that destruction follows her for a reason. According to the Narrative Director at Eidos Montreal, an increase in drama and tension with her allies was a huge focus of the game, too. This is the Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the dive into the darker parts of her personality, and the confrontation of how her flippant attitude toward messing with historically, culturally significant artifacts can influence everyone, not just her alone.