Update: We were contacted by Nielsen Entertainment to remove the leaked image, and we obliged (though at this point, a good Google search will help you find what you're looking for). They also asked us to remove the story, adding just a little bit more credence to the rumor. Considering the source, we're guessing the images were part of a Nielsen poll to see how people would react to Lara's new look, and to see what they thought of the few gameplay details which were revealed. For what it's worth, we think it sounds awesome! Original story is below.

We're usually pretty hesitant when it comes to accepting the testimony of moles at face value, but this story's got a bit of credibility -- some underground agent, working in conjunction with Four Player Co-Op, snagged some supposed screengrabs of concept art and details for a new Tomb Raider game. According to the text accompanying the art, Lara's new adventure will be open-world, will feature a reworked combat system and -- most importantly -- will serve as an origin story for the young heiress.

Anonymity breeds contempt in the gaming news world -- however, this report is supported by four pieces of news that have dropped in the past two months:

  1. Eidos' president said the next Tomb Raider game will "reinvigorate the franchise."
  2. Crystal Dynamics is hiring folks to work on an installment in a "AAA franchise."
  3. Toby Gard, the series' creator, is leading a design group for an "unannounced project."
  4. Eidos is terrible at keeping its secret games under wraps.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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