Tomb Raider franchise director Tim Longo has left Crystal Dynamics to accept the mantle of creative director at LucasArts on an unannounced project. Longo revealed the move in a twitter post earlier this month. Longo leaves the Tomb Raider project with the design likely set for the most part as the game enters what should be the production push toward an anticipated release later this year.
As Longo noted, this is a return engagement with LucasArts. During his previous stint with the company he served as first lead designer and then director on Star Wars: Republic Commando. The game earned many fans with its campaign that let players become part of an elite squad of clone soldiers who took on special missions set at the same time as the events in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Since then, rumors of a sequel have come and gone. Could Longo's hiring indicate a Republic Commando 2 is indeed in the works again?
His arrival potentially coincides with another interesting development today. LucasArts announced it has licensed Unreal Engine 3 from Epic Games for multiple upcoming projects according to a news release. Zak Phelps, director of technology at LucasArts, said of the move, "Unreal Engine 3 is a forward-looking solution that shortens the path between inspiration and execution on a wide variety of gaming platforms."
So, the former Republic Commando director has returned to LucasArts and the company has handed him one of the preeminent modern shooter engines to play with. It's all circumstantial evidence, to be sure, but with plenty of reason to be hopeful.