We're glad to see Lady Croft looking better than ever in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. Thanks to the guys at Crystal Dynamics, we now have some of the most in-depth and meticulously detailed models in the history of gaming. Tomb Raider's recent developer diary let us know just how much hard work has gone into giving Lara her new makeover. While drying blood, dirt and grime aren't necessarily pretty on their lonesome, when we watch Crystal Dynamics' work in motion through Lara, it all becomes quite beautiful.
Lara's character features a complete full model upgrade, which focuses on the dynamic materials and effects you see on her body throughout Tomb Raider. Her head was completely rebuilt from scratch in order to make a fully next-gen Lara. She now has five times the amount of density and particle effects that can be seen throughout her face. A large focus was the "Tress FX" on Lara's hair. This is when each individual strand of hair is coded to react realistically to Lara's situations and environments. They now have their own physics effects, where you see her hair realistically flay around when she's moving, feeling a light breeze, hanging upside down, jumping, etc.
Another major focus was on Lara's skin. Sub-surface scattering diffuses light from its various sources and display how a real human's skin would reflect it. Drip maps show the traveling of water, blood and grime across her body. So beads of rain are visibly dripping and streaking, her blood is drying on her skin, etc. Her visible equipment has received an overhaul as well. Her gun, climbing axe, bow and quiver all have additional physics effects coded into all of item. So you can see each arrow in her quiver jostle around as Lara moves.
Stay tuned for our official review of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition when it lands on Jan. 28.