There was a lot of groaning and moaning on them thar interwebs when Crystal Dynamics announced that its Tomb Raider reboot would offer a competitive, progression-based multiplayer mode - I'll admit to contributing a little cynicism of my own. If you rank among the groaners and/or moaners, the below probably won't amuse: creative director Noah Hughes has told OXM that the studio will continue to "explore" multiplayer functionality in future titles.
It's probably worth remembering, while we're all wittering about "bolt-on deathmatch" and ye olde iterative thinking, that Crystal Dynamics is the studio behind Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, one of Xbox Live Arcade's best co-op experiences. According to Hughes, both games show Crystal introducing such functionality in an intelligent and sensitive fashion.
"We're anxious to continue to play with ways that people could tomb raid together," he said. "With Guardian of Light, the tone and the story supported side-by-side play in the campaign; this time around, it's less appropriate and we tried to do more of a complementary experience, hoping it would have a lot of replay ability and people can just jump in and have fun.
"Those are just two of our explorations into multiplayer in the Tomb Raider universe," he added, "and we are anxious to see what else we can do in connected play." Neither the new Tomb Raider nor Guardian of Light will necessarily define the franchise's direction here, Hughes explained. "The key point is that neither will represent the single blueprint that we'll iterate on. We're looking at what's appropriate for the time."
Our Tomb Raider review will be with you very shortly. Any score predictions? Get the full story on Tomb Raider multiplayer in the video below, which is curated by noted despoiler-of-crypts Log.