Even if it means I need a separate savings account just for new controllers, every modern game should have a built-in photo mode. After spending 60+ hours in the gorgeous world that is Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I’m in the market for two new Dualshock 4’s if I want to continue my escapades as an armchair paparazzo.
With more than 175 screenshots, it’s no wonder that two share buttons on two Dualshocks have given up the ghost. With so many breathtaking vistas and interesting NPCs — not to mention the Tomb Raider herself — it’s hard not to pause the game very few seconds to grab a snapshot of the environment or of the game’s many explosive moments.
God help me, I’ve not even played Marvel’s Spider-Man yet. Excuse me while I take an advance on my next paycheck.
In the past year and a half, games like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, the recently released Spider-Man, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins have proven that most gamers secretly midnight as well-trained professional photographers. Just check out these spectacular community shots of your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, and you’ll see there’s a growing number of us that could should have second careers in white-collar game photography.
While it’s most certainly not as robust as the mode found in Spider-Man, and it has a few annoying limitations, Shadow of the Tomb Raider‘s photo mode makes for stunning, funny, and sometimes “creepy” shots.
Earlier this year, the NPD Group affirmed that the Dualshock 4 was the best-selling controller of all time. It could be because so many console gamers own PS4s, which inevitably inflates the controller’s sales numbers. But it could also be that like me, many PS4s owners just like taking pictures and keep breaking share buttons.
OK. Probably not, but it fits the weird angle of this article, so let’s just go with it. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
However, one thing that’s for sure is this: developers would do well to make photo modes more ubiquitous. Take the pulse of gamers and it’s obvious that regardless of platform, we want the ability to not only make our own content from the games we love, but we also want the tools to do so right at our fingertips.
Regardless if our controllers and equipment hold up shot after shot, we want to share game worlds with our friends and families, as well as the developers that spend so much time making them. It might seem inconsequential on the surface, but in a culture heavily predicated on everyman content creation, gamers demand the ability to share their exploits in multiple ways at the touch of a button.
It’s true that many of us could only dream of having the talents and abilities of true professionals like Duncan Harris of deadendthrills or Justin Pollock of Virtual Geographic, both of whom take truly breathtaking images used for marketing assets across the industry. But for the average gamer, having access to the tools those specialists have at their disposals is mostly out of reach.
In-game photo modes increasingly help bridge that gap.
Just like many that spent hour after hour taking amazing shots of Kratos and the frigid world of this year’s God of War, and those who took picture after picture of a spandex-clad Peter Parker swinging through the Big Apple in Marvel’s Spider-Man, most of my time with Shadow of the Tomb Raider was spent behind the lens.
And even though I’m going to have to drop $60+ to grab a few new controllers, what I came away with after 60+ hours in SotTR was well worth the price.
That’s because sometimes, playing video games isn’t about blowing shit up or pounding other players into submission. Sometimes it’s not about high scores or leaderboards. And sometimes it’s not even about a good story.
Sometimes, it’s about getting so immersed in a world that you come out the other side feeling like you’re somehow a part of it — that you somehow affected it in a unique way.
If you want to see some of the photos we took in our time with Shadow of the Tomb Raider‘s photo mode, take a look at our gallery on Imgur. Now, I’m off to add a few Dualshocks to my cart.