A leaked script from the next Tomb Raider game, allegedly named Project Jawbreaker, has been struck with a DMCA by publisher Square Enix. PlayStation podcast Sacred Symbols obtained a document from the game, which is being used to help cast characters. The sheet, which was widely reported on, introduced a rebooted Lara Croft, now in her mid-30s. Having had experience as a solo adventurer, the document went on that she now seeks a team to overcome a challenge too great to tackle alone.
In order to present the information, ex-IGN journalist Colin Moriarty and his co-hosts performed the script for their Patreon subscribers, but Square Enix immediately contacted the site in an attempt to get it removed. It’s worth remembering that developer Crystal Dynamics, which makes the Tomb Raider games, is due to be acquired by Embracer Group – but that deal is yet to be closed. It’s possible that Square Enix is being extra protective of its property to ensure the sale goes through, then.
Moriarty and his team have decided to comply with the DMCA, but as part of a separate podcast explaining the situation, he argued that the podcast fell within the constraints of fair use. “I was acting in the notion that this is fair use, this is general interest, this is of huge general interest, I didn’t break into Crystal Dynamics to steal it,” he said. While the audio is being removed from Patreon per the platform’s request, it will continue to exist in other locations for the time being.
Of course, the aggressive legal action effectively confirms the legitimacy of the script. We know that the title will be made using Unreal Engine 5, but the top-level pitch is that it will be an “action adventure game set in a modern day world rocked by a mysterious cataclysm”. That sure sounds like a Tomb Raider game to us.
To be honest, the writing in recent entries has been absolutely atrocious, so while Moriarty and co were playful with their mocking re-enactment of the script, we’re hopeful Square Enix will go back to the drawing board. In fact, we’re not overly keen on the underlying concept of a squad-based Tomb Raider game; while we appreciate Crystal Dynamics’ desire to do something a little bit different, Lara Croft’s never particularly struck us as a team player. We suppose that’s the character trait the game is attempting to explore, but we’re not really feeling it, are you?