For years, Lara Croft has been one of video gaming’s biggest icons. Since her debut in the original Tomb Raider back in 1996, her adventures have sold millions of copies, solidifying her in video game history as one of the most popular female lead characters around.

Rise of the Tomb Raider released this week for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles, which continues the story from the 2013 reboot. Lara once again battles the odds as she attempts to find a lost treasure and fulfill her explorer father’s legacy.

The game has earned critical acclaim, and Microsoft has spared no expense giving the game a huge marketing blitz, including a fun little promotional competition where eight devoted fans spend 24 hours on a billboard, undergoing harsh weather conditions as voted on by viewers, to show just how far they can go to “survive” like Lara. The 24-hour promotion, called Survival Billboard, can be seen here.

But perhaps one of the biggest promotional tie-ins involves the live broadcast streaming service, Twitch. Viewers who tune in to a Rise of the Tomb Raider stream from the Xbox One will receive gifts, in the form of Expedition Card Packs (used in special challenge mode), which must be redeemed within 30 days. Additionally, those that stream Expedition Mode on Twitch have the option of letting viewers impact gameplay by letting them select one of two Expedition Cards, adding a bit of unpredictability to the challenge.

Broken down here on the official Twitch blog, the choices viewers make during live streams can lead to unpredictable results, as cards are applied to the game session that range in effectiveness. For instance, “Big Head Mode”, a popular feature in older games, balloons Lara’s skull to a larger comical size, and makes aiming more difficult. However, there can also be more challenging effects, like only giving players one life to complete a particular challenge.

This is a unique approach for both the Tomb Raider franchise and usage in terms of Twitch, as it offers a new level of interactivity with live experiences. That’s not the first time we’ve seen this in action, as Old Spice’s previous promotion with the channel led to unpredictable and fun results with viewers.

[a]listdaily catches up with Tomb Raider brand director Rich Briggs about how the Twitch interactive experience works.

Rich Briggs

Tell us how this Twitch-enabled feature works. 

Rise of the Tomb Raider’s Twitch feature lets fans watching an Expedition Mode stream vote between two Expedition Cards. These Expedition Cards will make the streamer’s experience temporarily more challenging, easier, or entertaining. Once voting is triggered, a 60-second timer starts and viewers choose the one they want to see via the chat. The Expedition Card with the most votes gets activated when the timer runs out, and then the streamer has to deal with the consequences.

How did Crystal Dynamics come up with this idea

This feature was a collaboration between Crystal Dynamics, Twitch, and Microsoft. Our team is always looking for ways to elevate our player experience, and streaming is no different. This feature adds a layer of engagement for viewers, as they can influence the gameplay while watching. It also increases the challenge for the streamer, as they’ll have to quickly adapt to whatever new conditions are set by the Expedition Card that is chosen.

Tell us how the reward system works.

Rise of the Tomb Raider rewards Xbox One Twitch viewers when the streamer completes Side Missions, Challenges, Challenge Tombs, Crypts, and other specific achievements during the single player campaign. Viewers receive 500 in-game credits each time, which can be used to purchase Expedition Card Packs. These card packs give players access to different modifiers, weapons, and outfits in the Expedition Modes.

What has been the response thus far to the promotion

So far the response has been very positive. Streaming is such a huge part of gaming, and we’ve taken a feature that our community was already excited about and added a level of engagement and interaction, not to mention receiving in-game rewards just for watching. It’s a win-win scenario, and Crystal Dynamics, Microsoft, and Twitch have all been promoting the features to our audiences.

It looks like the game has gotten great response from critics and fans. How’s it feel to finally get Rise of the Tomb Raider out the door for players to experience

Thank you very much! It’s so exciting to have the game in the hands of our fans and the rest of the industry. It’s also very gratifying to have our labor of love being received so well.