On June 3rd, 2011, Square Enix released the much-anticipated trailer for the forthcoming reboot of the Lara Croft franchise, named simply Tomb Raider.

What we got was a cinematic trailer, i.e. there is no gameplay footage on view. The publishers only want us to get a feel of what the game is going to be like. The trailer, titled 'Turning Point', is absolutely beautiful, with stunning CG imagery. Remember, Square is the company that brings us the amazing cut-scenes in the Final Fantasy games, as well as the Final Fantasy movies, so they know how to make realistic effects.

The trailer can be viewed on my front page (click here to watch it), but let's have a closer look at the footage and see if there are any clues for us to find...

A ship called Endurance steams away from a city, apparently, the Japanese city of Yokohama (source).

Lara's cabin desk is littered with various things. A phone, pen and pencil. A cup with 'Sisters of Artemis' can be seen and a crest of some kind. Is this a group connected to Lara? The goddess, Artemis, has long been associated with female strength, as well as chastity and hunting. Artemis' temple at Ephesus was one of the original Seven Wonders of the World.
There are several sheets of paper with notations, including some number: 53, 712541 and 3416095. More clues?

The numbers have been said to indicate the location of the so-called 'Dragon's Triangle', the Pacific version of the Bermuda Triangle. Apparently, they use the UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) system to indicate an area south of Japan. Click here to see where that is in Google Earth.

The text on the paper below the phone mentions "Khan's lost fleet" (you can just make it out on the third line down). In 1281, Mongol warlord, Kublai Khan, launched an invasion of Japan, with over 4,000 ships and 140,000 men. Two fleets were decimated by storms that became known as kamikaze typhoons.

A map lies on top of a pair of books, the title of one can be partially seen - The ...cation?

Lara pins the map to the inside of her locker. We see it is a map of Japan and the seas that surround it. Recall the coordinates. Next to it is a photograph of two girls at a graduation ceremony. Lara and a school friend? Below that is a piece of paper with what looks like a crude map. It is reminiscent of the old Piri Re'is map, which allegedly charted coastlines of lands yet to be discovered by European sailors.

*Update* The 'crude map' is actually a depiction of Kublai Khan's invasion of 1281. (source)

We next see Lara listening to some music and reading.

The ship begins to roll as a storm materialises suddenly. Note the numerous scraps of paper on the board next to Lara. More clues?
One of the pieces of paper on the board has what look like ship or boats depicted on it. Another reference to Khan's lost fleet?

Suddenly, water floods into the ship and Lara is trapped beneath a sealed cover.

As Lara begins to sink, a burly arm plunges into the water.

Lara is pulled out of the water by a mystery man.

When Lara looks up, the man has gone, but we see that the Endurance has broken in two.

Exhausted, Lara must decide whether to live or die.

A man gestures to her to leap. Is he the same person that pulled Lara from the water? If so, how did he get to the other part of the ship? Lara jumps! He doesn't appear to have the bracelet that Lara's saviour wore a few moments ago. Apparently, this man is Captain Conrad Roth, who will become very important to Lara during the game.

The man catches her, but her hand slips through his fingers.

He seems genuinely aghast as Lara begins to fall.

Lara plunges towards the icy waters below.

She hits the water. Is this the end of our heroine?

We see Lara's map again, this time on a craggy shore.

Lara has a bow over her shoulder and is tightening a bandage around her arm. She pulls the tourniquet and...

cries out in pain.

We pull back and see Lara gazing into the distance, a wrecked transport plane in the background.

Ships from all epochs litter the rugged shoreline, including what remains of the Endurance.

We are told that 'A Survivor is Born'. Indicating that this is a reboot of the franchise, with a new genesis for Lara Croft.

In the final image, we see a map beneath the title logo. Coordinates indicate 145.67 Degrees SE. Below this is somewhere called Chasm Monastery. To the left appear to be data speed indicators, suggesting that, perhaps, a distress signal has been sent, or at the very least information is being relayed to somebody else.

Finally, our shoulders sag and hearts sink as we learn we must wait until the latter part of 2012 to play the game!


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Updated 5th June, 2011