Warning: This article contains spoilers for Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
It wasn’t looking too good for Lara Croft and her Tomb Raider series at the turn of the decade. The series’ nineties heyday was a distant memory and the most recent Xbox 360/PS3 era trilogy had been blown out of the water by the arrival of Nathan Drake and Uncharted. Like so many great nineties heroes, Lara’s time appeared done.
There’s no way you could have guessed then that in 2018 we’d be heralding Shadow of the Tomb Raider as one of the most anticipated games of the year. But here we are.
Following the brilliant reboot in 2013, an even better follow-up arrived in 2015 under the name Rise of the Tomb Raider. Now, Shadow of the Tomb Raider rounds out what has been dubbed the Survivor Trilogy and boy is it going big. Like apocalypse big. Lara removes a Mayan dagger from its resting place in Mexico, setting off a chain of events that will lead to the death of the sun.
It’s all Trinity’s fault, of course. Lara only removes the dagger because she knows the Order of Trinity is after it and – given past experiences – she can only assume it’s for evil deeds. They are evil Trinity, aren’t they? Let’s recap the story so far.
Trinity is Over 1,000 Years Old
The earliest recorded evidence of The Order of Trinity dates back to 978AD, although it is believed the organisation is far older than that. It’s generally accepted that Trinity is funded by the Vatican as its secret military wing. Its goal is to ensure God has full command over the people of Earth.
Trinity’s mission therefore became to hunt down any artifacts with supernatural powers that could be used to defy what it decided was God’s will. Not only that, Trinity is also charged with eradicating any civilization that’s made use of these artifacts. These civilizations are considered heretics.
Members of Trinity are staunchly monotheistic, able to look past the path of violence and destruction left in their wake believing they are doing God’s work. An approach upheld by the leader of Trinity’s High Council, Pedro Dominguez.
One such civilisation Trinity managed to bury was blossoming in the Siberian city of Kitezh. It was here that the Deathless Prophet of Constantinople had run to hide after he had used the Divine Source to make his followers immortal. Naturally, use of such a powerful artifact had gained the ire of Trinity.
Trinity itself is not formally acknowledged, with its existence kept secret at all costs. Despite having unlimited resources and money, the number of actual Trinity members is small and exclusive. To keep themselves secret, most of their work is undertaken by hired mercenaries.
How Trinity Found Lara
It wasn’t actually Lara, but her father Richard, who first came to the attention of Trinity. Following the death of Lara’s mother in a plane accident, Richard got lost in his research seeking what he called the Immortal Soul. This was in fact the Divine Source and soon enough Pedro Dominguez got worried his research would unearth not only the history of Kitezh, but also the existence of Trinity.
Dominguez sent Trinity agent Ana to infiltrate Richard’s life and monitor his research. When she was unable to turn him away from his path to exposing Trinity, Dominguez ordered his assassination. Trinity then used its power in the media to discredit the Croft family name.
Years later a fresh-faced Lara finished her university degree and signed up to be part of the archaeological reality TV show Whitman’s World. Her journey took her to the island of Yamatai.
Trinity on Yamatai
Of course, Yamatai was already on Trinity’s radar well before Lara set foot on the island at the start of the first game. It had once housed an ancient Japanese civilization who had a powerful artifact called the Star Phenomenon that, on the behest of the Sun Queen, could control the weather.
The island had been lost to time, but it was rediscovered during World War II. A Trinity agent infiltrated a Nazi science team sent to examine the island, potentially sabotaging their mission to acquire the Star Phenomenon. A second agent also arrived on the island decades later to join the ragtag gang of washed up survivors led by Mathias.
While Trinity was never explicitly identified as the antagonist in the 2013 reboot, Lara does come across mentions of the mysterious order. There’s a radio message broken by static, and various documents Lara finds, which reference Trinity. But she is at a loss as to who they actually are.
Upon her survival and return home, Lara is surprised when her experiences are so strongly discredited. Trinity is behind it, of course, and also goes back to the island to destroy any evidence of the Sun Queen and the Star Phenomenon.
Trinity and the Divine Source
In the wake of Yamatai, Lara decides to dedicate herself to restoring the family name. She picks up her father’s research and takes it further. She unearths the secret hiding spot of Kitezh and the location of the Divine Source. Knowing she is getting close, Dominguez orders Lara’s assassination.
Lara survives, but her assailant escapes with all her discoveries, leading Trinity to the location of the Deathless Prophet – known at this time as Jacob. Thus begins the bulk of the gameplay for Rise of the Tomb Raider.
It’s only at the end of the game that Lara begins to understand the full depth of Trinity’s influence on the world. Ana, now outed as a Trinity agent, admits that Lara’s father was assassinated.
Trinity’s Mayan Adventure
Pedro Dominguez’s personal interest has always been in the Mayan culture and its powerful artifacts. When Lara gets wind that Trinity has located a ceremonial Mayan Dagger in Mexico, she rushes to the location to beat them to it. Unfortunately, in removing the dagger, she sets in process the end of the world, beginning with a series of natural disasters.
In order to stop what she has started, she heads to the Amazon. Here we get into the heart of the new game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. In the Amazon, Lara will not only have to stop the death of the sun and the extinction of life on Earth. But she’ll also get to face-off against Pedro Dominguez and get her revenge.