Twitch has partnered with Rise of the Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics and Microsoft to deliver a more interactive experience on the just released single-player action-adventure title.
In a blog post, Twitch has announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider players who stream their game via Twitch's app for the Xbox can now allow their viewers to influence their gameplay and therefore control at least part of Lara Croft's fate when in one of the Expedition Modes.
This is done through a voting system using a total of 64 Expedition Cards. Every six minutes or so, viewers will be asked to vote between a pair of cards for 60 seconds. At the end of the minute-long voting period, the card that wins gets activated and modifies the gameplay.
Anything can happen when a card is activated. As Microsoft's FAQ of the new feature says, Expedition cards can make enemies stronger, add player advantage or simply make the game more entertaining for the next five minutes or until the player dies — as is what happens to Lara in Big Head Mode. Other modifiers include one where Lara leaves a rainbow trail in her wake and the ultra-hot mode that sets her on fire and lets her ignite her enemies as well.
This feature is completely optional, so players who want to have full control of Lara's fate don't have to worry about viewers messing with their game. However, for more intrepid gamers who want to increase the variety of their experience of the game, they need to go to open the options menu and turn on Broadcast Interactions.
On the other side of the screen, viewers will also get their rewards simply for viewing the game. Twitch says viewers will receive 500 in-game credits they can use to buy new Expedition Card Packs, which in turn will let them use new weapons, outfits and modifiers when in Expedition Mode.
These rewards will become available when their favorite streamer completes certain milestones, including side missions, challenges, challenge tombs, crypts and more specific achievements. The rewards are redeemable within the first 30 days after viewers have received their credits, so viewers must use them or lose them.
This is not the first time Twitch has allowed viewers to interact with what they are watching, but it is the first time a major title has been made available with this feature. Presumably, the goal is to get broadcasters, who are influencers in their own right, to get their viewers interested in Rise of the Tomb Raider enough to buy it for themselves.
If all turns out well with this strategy, future games could possibly receive a similar feature, effectively changing the industry as gaming studios design their next big titles for game streaming.