Shadow of the Tomb Raider: El Mirador

There are some spoilers ahead …

Something I find interesting about the new game trailer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the Maya Pyramids in the distance. Thus I wrote this speculative piece based off the trailer. We know that recent discoveries in the Guatemalan Peten rainforest have uncovered a cavalcade of Maya temples and cities that in their heyday millions of people dwelled. One fascinating discovery was the enormous pyramid structure called La Danta, otherwise known as the world’s largest pyramid. This structure resides in El Mirador a Maya city. Though discovered in 1926, what they found didn’t scratch the surface compared to what was discovered through a new way of terrain 3D mapping called LIDAR. (Light Detection and Ranging)

 The images were breathtaking such as what will follow from the videos that are a must see by the way and are located at the bottom of this page. The photo below is an artists depiction of El Mirador. This depiction was created after the 3D mapping to define the terrain and the various structures seen throughout. 

This is an artist’s rendition of the Maya city El Mirador

Of course, this city is in Guatemala not Mexico as the game says the Maya setting is located. However, it could go to Central America as well and was not mentioned yet, or maybe not. But that’s fine if not. 

LIDAT 3D image
This is a real 3D LIDAR image of El Mirador

This photo is what the LIDAR found beneath the thick jungle foliage that was shrouding these structures from view, until now. I am displaying this picture of El Mirador because of this below screen I took from the trailer.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Screen from the trailer taken by Okh Eshivar

This is interesting because of all the other pyramids around the larger one that Lara appears to be looking at. It could be the game developers knew about the artist’s rendition of El Mirador derived from the LIDAR mapping. It could be they decided to design a Maya world similarly. I am not sure if it is meant to be El Mirador, however, the La Danta pyramid is not cleared as this one is and all the other temples around it on the real site. They appear as mounds in the real city until cleared. It will take years to clear and study everything this site alone holds. Additionally, there is a network of roads like freeways they found during this exploration of the area. It is a magnificent discovery of humanity from ancient times and one of the reasons I adore archaeology as well as many in family background.

In the game, Lara stands on the threshold of her destiny, however, the city she looks upon seems to be thriving as it did centuries before. An unusual premise for the game and something that adds such profound curiosity. Could Lara have stepped into the past, for if this is El Mirador for one example the city appears thriving in the trailer. Could there be a time travel element in this game?

I only wrote this because of the collection of pyramids and what I know about El Mirador and the pyramid(s) there etc. But El Mirador is not the only large Maya city. There are other choices and it would take pages to explain them. I am not writing a novel so this will do for now until we know more.  My recent escapade in southern Mexico in February that once again started in Cozumel makes this entire game far more exciting for my family and me who are predominantly big Tomb Raider fans. E3 should be amazing this year and should hold much more SOTTR information I hope.

What we know so far …

So far we know that the game takes place a couple of months after Rise of the Tomb Raider.  Lara deals with her dark place that takes her into a pursuit of Trinity for selfish reasons to avenge her father for what they did to him.  Later as the game progresses Lara becomes more selfless. She sees a Tsunami ravish a city and kill innocent people. Lara needs to find answers and understand her place in the world she desperately tries to save. She is an anti-hero and has to accept her mistakes and the consequences she sets in motion like a Maya apocalypse. We see Lara and Jonah in Cozumel together. “Lara has become more capable, but so has Jonah,” says narrative director Jason Dozois. “He is coming into his own and challenging Lara.” This is a good thing in her development. Also, something very good for Lara is when Jonah lets her know things head on. Like this “It’s not all about you,” Jonah lets her know because of her coming to terms with the apocalypse being her fault. Lara goes on a search for several artifacts one is a knife and another is in a box in Peru. Another character that is key to the story is Dr. Dominguez. He is the newest antagonist working with Trinity and searching for a Maya artifact. 

The story leads Lara from Cozumel, Brazil, and Peru. We know that she must face her darkest fears and become one with the jungle to survive the onslaught of terror that results in her self-inflicted mission and being in this murderous environment where everything wants to kill her. 

This is a game that will bring the loose ends of the origin story together and be the launch pad for future games. However, this Lara has changed in a way that brings her strength of humanity, deep understanding of self to an accountable place in her life for anything, she has done. Before she would encounter enemies and wonder how to contend with them and her lack of experience was exposed. Now she enters a scene and you know she is going to win. Her determination has always been there in the drive to move forward. This time she is entering the arena with experience and far more strength as seen in her muscle development alone. This is a more defined Lara in every way. Her intelligence is not lacking in any way and one example is her reason for realizing Trinity was looking in the wrong place based on the stars. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider Lara finally becomes what she is meant to be. She becomes the Tomb Raider!

Watch these videos about La Danta and El Mirador

You can find this video on YouTube here


You can find this video on YouTube HERE

I hope you enjoyed this piece. Remember to

Explore the World!



What we know so far … info from Game Informer

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