Earlier this year, Square Enix brought the turn-based, mobile stealth puzzle game Hitman GO to the PlayStation 4 and Vita. Now they’ve repeated that move with the turn-based, action puzzle game Lara Croft GO, which is out now for PlayStation 4, Vita, and PC after being available on iOS, Android, Amazon, and Windows Phones for a year. Except that lady Lara is packing a little something extra, as the PlayStation 4, Vita, PC, and Mac versions of Lara Croft GO are also getting an expansion called Lara Croft GO The Mirror Of Spirits, which won’t be available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phones until March.
To find out what Lara Croft GO The Mirror Of Spirits is all about, I sat down with Square Enix Montreal’s Antoine Routon, the Co-Creator of the original Lara Croft GO, as well as Design Director Bronson Zgeb and Studio Director Saleem Dabbous from Ko-Op, who designed this add-on.
Aside from the Lara Croft GO The Mirror Of Spirits add-on, which we’ll get to in a moment, how is the PlayStation 4 and Vita version of Lara Croft GO different from the one that came out for mobile and computers in 2015?
Routon: It’s very similar. Though we did spend time on the controls to make it feel as good on a controller as it is on a touchscreen. And we added Trophies, of course.
Was there anything in the original version of Lara Croft GO that you either felt didn’t work or could be better, and you changed it for the PlayStation 4 and Vita version? And I don’t mean like a bug but maybe a level that needed to be tweaked or something.
Routon: No, not really. It’s actually easier to go that way. It’s hard to move a game from PlayStation to mobile devices. But if you move a game from mobile to PlayStation, it actually translates more naturally once you reconfigure the controls.
But you made the art look better, right?
Dabbous: The art direction was so focused and so referential and inspired by the original Tomb Raider that it actually scaled up beautifully.
Routon: Yeah, the art was designed to work well on a small screen. But when we put it on a big screen, it looked really nice. Again, if we had designed it for the big screen, and then moved it to a small one, it wouldn’t have worked as well.
So, moving on to Lara Croft GO The Mirror Of Spirits, what is it all about?
Zgeb: It has new mechanics, its own narrative…
Dabbous: …a whole new soundtrack…
Routon: When we made Lara Croft GO, it was, in part, a love letter to the series in honor of its twentieth anniversary. But when we started working on the PlayStation 4 and Vita versions, we thought that it would be cool to expand on that idea by bringing in fresh, creative minds, which is when we brought it these guys from Ko_Op.
What made you think of them?
Routon: We had seen some videos of their game Gnog, which isn’t out yet, but we could see something in that game that made us think they could do something cool with Lara Croft GO.
Oh, cool. And what kind of game is Gnog?
Dabbous: It’s a toy-like puzzle game about giant monster heads and their inner worlds. It’ll be out early next year on PlayStation 4 and PSVR, and later on Steam and iOS.
So how is Lara Croft GO The Mirror Of Spirits different from the main game in Lara Croft GO?
Routon: Well, the set-up is that Lara is hanging up a mirror she got on her most recent adventure. But then the mirror shakes, reality shatters, and Lara finds herself in this shattered reality version of her manor with a blue, mirror version of herself. And the idea is to help her recombine with her mirror self, and to restore the world.
Dabbous: One of the things that inspired it was the part Tomb Raider: Underworld where Lara has to deal with her doppelganger. But we wanted to put our own spin on it. She’s not your enemy like the doppelganger was.
Oh, so you can’t shoot her?
Zgeb: No. There are mirror versions of the enemies, but the mirror versions can’t hurt regular Lara, only regular versions of enemies can hurt Lara, just as only mirror enemies can only hurt mirror Lara. Though if mirror Lara dies, then regular Lara dies.
Zgeb: Also, you can’t move if your spirit self can’t also move.
Zgeb: That’s just one of three new mechanics we’ve added to Lara Croft GO The Mirror Of Spirits.
Do you need to complete the main game in Lara Croft GO to unlock Lara Croft GO The Mirror Of Spirits?
Zgeb: No. But we do recommend it if you haven’t played the main game yet.
Like in the regular games, Lara Croft GO lets you unlock new outfits for her by playing. Since Lara Croft GO The Mirror Of Spirits is set in her house, is the outfit you unlock a set of footie pajamas?
Zgeb: Ha! No, we didn’t give her footie pajamas. Though we did think of having her in her pajamas.
Dabbous: Yeah, it was the pajamas she wears in the second game.
Routon: Though because of the way she looks, there’s no textures, so we couldn’t do an outfit that’s based on textures.
Right. So no flannel pajamas.
Will her new outfit work in the regular game?
Routon: Yes. You earn it by finishing Lara Croft GO The Mirror Of Spirits, but you can then use it in the main game.
So now that you’ve done Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO, and Deus Ex GO, is Final Fantasy GO next?
Routon: We kind of feel like we’ve finished a cycle with these games. And while we’d never say never, we don’t just want to be the GO studio. We want to explore different avenues and make new things.
Before you move on, though, will you be bringing Deus Ex GO to PlayStation 4 and Vita, and if so, will it getting an expansion, maybe by the people who made Gnog?
Routon: Ha! We haven’t announced anything yet.
Finally, if you could make a GO game for any game series that’s not a Square Enix game, what would you want to make into a GO game?
Dabbous: Oh, man.
Routon: Yeah, it would take time to figure that out.
Zgeb: I actually have an idea, but it’s kind of obvious. Given that Hitman is a stealth game, I think you could also do Metal Gear Solid GO. Though I think it would have to be a somewhat comedic take on that series, something the focused on the goofier elements of that game.
Or Splinter Cell GO.
Zgeb: Right, right.
Dabbous: I wonder what Rocket League GO would be like. Something where you’d have to set up a plan and then setting it in motion. I think that might be kind of cool.