The artbook for Tomb Raider 2013 has some really interesting insights into the uses of fx as part of story and gameplay.
Effects are used in this game to support story, game play and create spectacle. The overall artistic direction of the game was more grounded, realistic and darker than the original games, seeking to promote a sense of ” ominous beauty”. This was promoted by the fx animation. “Fire is simulated realistically as it flowers from the torch, propagating across cloth and dry wood…waterfalls douse fire as expected, reinforcing the reality of the world.” This is a totally different tact than that taken by the Journey team, creating atmosphere though realism, trying to evoke sympathy for Lara though believability in her situation.
The effects are a massive part of the environment. “rain cascades in sheets…abandoned fire suggests someone has been here before her.” Like in previous examples, fx is used to make the world come alive. “These environments have a presence, a personality of their own.”
Whist the fx are used to support story and atmosphere, rather than provide abstract guidance to help with game play, the ideas of game play and story are linked. “variety of weather in the game, starting with the tummoltious lighting storm at night and ending the level at the top of the mountain with a snow flurry. These intense weather systems play an important role in story and ultimately the game play.” This is seen in the opening scenes of the game, when Lara escapes captivity. “Lara expresses fear, pain, and resolve as she pushes though the darkness of the Den..recoils from the head to the fire…designed to connect Lara to her environment and situation while retaining full player control.”
This is probably my favorite level in the game – the fire looks amazing! “fire plays a huge role in the visuals and game play of Tomb Raider, but in this level they were front and center.
(Best played with sound off!!)
Tomb Raider 2013
Tomb Raider:The Art of Survival