In a surprising twist to the Call of Duty saga, Lara Croft is headed to the most popular first-person shooter title on the market today.
The news came straight from Call of Duty's official X account, revealing a silhouette of the renowned Tomb Raider inside a dim cave, armed with her unmistakable dual pistols, observing parachuting soldiers descend into a blazing cityscape. The captivating teaser caption read, "Pistols ready. Prepared for drop in. Lara Croft is coming to Call of Duty @tombraider."
This isn't the first time Call of Duty has dabbled in high-profile pop culture crossovers. Recently, Activision has tapped rappers like 21 Savage, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, and cinematic universes such as The Boys, Godzilla Vs King Kong, and The Terminator.
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) August 23, 2023
For those who've journeyed alongside Lara since her groundbreaking debut in 1996, her transition has been nothing short of remarkable. From the era of the PlayStation 1, Lara has evolved, been rebooted, and reimagined multiple times. Not just confined to the pixelated universe, she has been the face of movies, and, perhaps more importantly, a beacon for female representation in gaming.
Critics often hail Lara Croft as a paradigm of how female characters should be conceptualized and depicted in gaming. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, released in 2018, stands testament to the character's undying relevance, pushing players to explore conventional narratives in novel, introspective ways.
However, Tomb Raider aficionados were left in limbo concerning Lara's future, especially with Square Enix relinquishing both the Tomb Raider license and the developer, Crystal Dynamics, to Embracer Group. To make matters worse, Croft's new owners aren't exactly in the best place after a massive deal fell apart. Although a new entry is currently in the works, Crystal Dynamics likely doesn't have the resources at the moment to speed up its development.
Apart from the assurance of being a "single-player, narrative-driven adventure," designed potentially on Unreal Engine 5, with Amazon getting involved, and a recent "leak", little else has been shared.
The incoming arrival of Lara Croft into Call of Duty isn't a mere eventuality of random crossovers; a pattern emerges if you play close attention. Following closely on the heels of the teaser about a forthcoming Tomb Raider game, Lara's unexpected cameo in one of the industry's largest franchises could prove us all wrong and be a meticulously planned precursor to a grand announcement. The convergence of these universes has left the gaming community speculating if this unusual crossover is timed impeccably soon after the disclosure of a brand-new Tomb Raider chapter.
Details about Lara's ensemble in Call of Duty remain elusive. Still, given the game's history with collaboration bundles, it's likely that players can anticipate a unique character skin, complemented by additional weapon skins. The Lara Croft Operator bundle could very well be rolled out as part of Call of Duty's upcoming midseason update for Season 5, as some fans anticipate.
Yet, this intriguing crossover raises more questions than it answers. Which version of Lara Croft will grace the Call of Duty universe? With multiple avatars across the decades and a five-year hiatus since her last escapade, fans are curious. The Crystal Dynamics' iteration of the next Tomb Raider remains a well-guarded secret. Will it be another fresh take, or might Camilla Luddington, once again, breathe life into the legendary explorer, continuing the narrative from where Shadow of the Tomb Raider concluded?
For now, Lara's legion of fans and the Call of Duty community await the manifestation of this merger and what it might herald for the future of both franchises. As we gear up for what promises to be an exhilarating collision of two titans, one thing's for certain: the gaming realm is set for a spectacle.