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Hey guys,

Today, the ultimate gaming heroine, Lara Croft, leaps onto Xperia smartphones as an Android exclusive treat. Featuring an arcade style fixed camera view, the game has already been a console success and is now available across our Xperia smartphone devices, including Xperia S, Xperia ion and Xperia PLAY!

Guardian of Light follows Lara’s adventures through Mayan ruins as she joins an ancient tribesman named Totec to take down an evil threat – Lara and Totec must use their own set of unique skills to work together and fight through each level.

We sat down with Ben Cusack, ‘Brand and Marketing Director – Mobile’, at Square Enix Europe, to pick the brain behind bringing Lara to Xperia smartphones…

Obviously Lara Croft is a HUGE franchise; popular in both gaming and film, what do you think the mobile version brings to the mix?

Lara Croft is the first lady of gaming and continues to have millions of fans worldwide. By bringing Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light to mobile, consumers can experience the action, adventure and puzzles synonymous with the franchise, available to play anytime, anywhere. Next year is a huge year for the Tomb Raider series, with the next major console game being released, so the launch of the Android version is great timing to keep new and existing fans busy over the coming months and beyond.

The game is set in Central America and brings to life ancient Mayan lore; how does this setting test Lara on her adventures?

Two thousand years ago in ancient Central America, a battle began between Totec, the Guardian of the Light, and Xolotl, the keeper of darkness. Totec’s army was defeated when Xolotl used the mirror of smoke to unleash hordes of ghastly creatures. Totec survived the battle, and found a way to defeat Xolotl, imprisoning him in the mirror of smoke and watching over the mirror as an immortal stone statue.

In present day, Lara Croft reads of the legend and attempts to find the mirror. After a long and dangerous hike she is successful. She stops to observe the mirror, only to find that a band of mercenaries led by the local warlord followed her into the temple and took the mirror from her. Unknowing, or unbelieving of the curse upon the mirror, the leader of the mercenaries handles the mirror and recklessly releases Xolotl. The stone statue of Totec comes to life and warns Lara that Xolotl must be stopped before the light of dawn.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is an action/adventure game featuring Lara Croft, and this brand extension combines the hallmarks of the Tomb Raider franchise including exploration & discovery, platforming, and puzzle solving combined with character progression, fun fast-paced combat, and elements of cooperation and competition.

The game’s mix of cryptic puzzles and high-action gameplay is integral to the Lara Croft/Tomb Raider series, but are there any new features you’re particularly excited about?

Players can choose to play as Lara or Totec – each playable character possess unique weapons and skills. Like with some previous installments, Lara retains her dual pistols with infinite ammunition and a grappling hook, which she is able to use to cross gaps and which Totec can tightrope walk across. Totec carries spears which can be used both as a weapon and on the environment, for Lara to climb on.  Both characters carry unlimited “bombs” that can be dropped and detonated. Tombs can be explored and some have “booby-trap puzzles” to solve.

The Tomb Raider 2013 title features a much younger and more vulnerable Lara. How does this compare with the Lara we see in the Guardian of Light?

The team at Crystal Dynamics are developing something truly special for next year’s console launch, going back to the origins of Lara’s life as an adventurer. Guardian of Light  is set in the present day and is a standalone game.  The two games play out at very different times in Lara’s life but by playing next year’s console release, players will understand more about the Lara they play in Guardian of Light…

The game will be optimized for Xperia PLAY – how will his enhance the mobile gameplay?

The Xperia Play’s physical buttons either side of the screen will add a new dimension to the game, allowing players to enjoy all the action on the screen at all times.

How integral is the port to Android to your overall mobile strategy? How do you see it as a development platform?

With over 900k Android devices activated each day, the platform allows us to open up our existing and new games to more consumers.  We’re serious about developing for Android and are continually looking at platform trends, successes and learnings to ensure we develop and publish enjoyable and immersive mobile entertainment. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is the first of a host of games hitting the platform over the coming months.