VideoGameCritic wrote:I'm kind of amazed that Tomb Raider 1, 2, and 3 where released over three consecutive years. Imagine today telling a development team they had to get out a AAA title in less than a year.
That can be sort of explained.
Tomb Raider I & II have the same team of developers, minus a few people who quitted in 1997.
Tomb Raider III was made by a B team within Core Design, because the main team wanted to get more time to create a new Tomb Raider game with a new engine, which ended up being Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation (which does show due to the multilevel/mini-open world progression, it being the longest Tomb Raider game period, and it looking a lot better than II & III, especially the lighting).
It's a similar situation to Call of Duty alternating developers for each annual entry. Which did extend to Tomb Raider V being lethargically developed by the main team while another less experienced team was on Angel of Darkness, which ended up as a development disaster due to new hardware complications and tossing almost everything they had done after the main team took over the project.
But back to Tomb Raider III, it surprised me when I learned about it being developed by a B team, because Tomb Raider III might as well be called "Tomb Raider: The Lost Levels" or "For Super Players".
The level design felt way too complex and too vast to be made by a team who either didn't give a s--t or didn't have any experience, but it does feel a lot more convoluted and trial & error than in I & II.
I love Nevada and like the Pacific quite a bit (except that damn canoe sequence), but India is incredibly unforgiving, long, and confusing for a first zone, and London makes me wanna shove my foot down the throat of whoever the heck designed the whole zone. Especially Aldwych and Lud's Gate. Couldn't even get through Antartica, I was burnt out (and my PC glitched out my default keyboard settings).
I'd also shoot whoever decided to create that "save crystal consumable" idea for the PS1 version, but I have the PC version, so... spams quicksaves
And protip: always pick Nevada first as your first destination, because you lose your weapons there, and you don't want to lose them in the lategame. Give it to Tomb Raider to make the level select a trap to avoid as well.
It does sort of explain also why Tomb Raider III's plot feels so... basic and kind of lacking stakes throughout most of it. Seriously though, if you compare the plot progression with getting four stones, losing them to the main villain, and his motivation to create a new race of human mutants for the sake of our evolution as a species (hello Natla), Tomb Raider III feels like diet Tomb Raider I. Admittedly Tomb Raider II's plot isn't much better, but III's feels more like a spin-off than a sequel/big standalone story.
Meanwhile, Tomb Raider IV's plot though is easily the most developed and arguably the best of the classic series.
But yeah, the main team actually started developing Tomb Raider IV after Tomb Raider II was released. Eidos really wanted them money printing cow though, hence why Tomb Raider III exists.