The most powerful woman in the game world: The story behind Tomb Raider

How was one of the most well-known virtual female characters ever created in the world, and why was it almost forever disappearing somewhere in the middle of the previous decade? Let's hear and see the story of Lara Croft

This time, the story behind the gaming brand was among the first to adopt a girl as the main heroine. A heroine who quickly became one of the most famous female figures in pop culture, and appeared on the cover of countless magazines.

This is a brand that has existed for 20 years, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and with every game that comes out, you can actually see the historical development of the technologies behind creating games - .

So our story begins this time in 1988, when a British guy named Jeremy Smith decides to leave his job as a salesman to open a game development studio with his younger brother. They call their studio "Core Design" and aim to create original games.

And that's exactly what they did. For years, they have produced dozens of games from different genres, such as Rick Dangerous, a platform game inspired by Indiana Jones, and even a first-person shootout that preceded Wolfenstein. But even though they received positive reviews, they were not ground breaking games.

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But in the mid-1990s, gaming technology was gaining momentum and developing rapidly. And that gave one of the company's chief designers, Toby Gard, an idea to create something that would be closer to a movie than a game.

Early sketches of his idea showed a three-dimensional world full of pyramids, temples, tombs, treasures, and jungles where the three-dimensional adventurer needs to navigate. Or rather deal with puzzles, traps, enemies, platforming parts and more.

The enthusiasm for Gard's idea has swept the company. But his main protagonist, who was less reminiscent of Indiana Jones, was because the company was afraid of a lawsuit. Gard decided to offer instead one of the other characters he designed, who was a girl. Although at the time, women in gaming were usually portrayed as victims or hostages, and the idea of ​​giving the males who were then the majority of the gamers to play as a girl was quite revolutionary, Jeremy Smith decided it would be a great idea to catch up for an innovative game like theirs.

Toby Gard began to work on the design of the character, who at first looked like a muscular blonde with a baseball cap, but was later changed to a typical South American girl with a long braid and scratched. She took on the character of an athletic adventurer, one who would do anything to lay her hands on the deep and unfamiliar treasures of archaeology.

Yes, in the mid-nineties it was considered innovative and unusual
Yes, in the mid-nineties it was considered innovative and unusual

Gard decided to call her Laura Cruz. Yes Yes. Laura. Cruise. At first, Lara was supposed to be an American girl, and only later, Eidos acquired the studio at the time , Demanding that the figure be more British.

What did the game development team do to solve the issue? Well, they opened a phone book, scribbled it randomly until they accidentally fell on the name Croft. And so Lara accepted a change of nationalism and became a proud British, and her original story was rewritten.

Now Lara was the 11 generation of a lineage of Counties, who decided to give up the comfortable life to seek adventure around the world.

540 polygons formed her character, and her braid disappeared from the avatar in the game due to the problems of animation, a lot of effort was invested in it to be smooth.

The development of Lara's appearance for more than two decades
The development of Lara's appearance for two decades

A small mistake in moving the mouse when creating the character resulted in increased proportions of Lara's chest, which was immediately approved by all team members, before Gard could correct it. Or rather it was not enough.

But it did not really impress anyone , Who was not really enthusiastic about the game enough to approve it for distribution on the Playstation.

But at They did not give up. They went back to work energetically, adding to Duba dubbing, cinematic scenes that were also quite rare for the period and improved control of the game.

When Tombe Raider came on for a second round of approval at This time no one objected. They realized they had a winning game in hand.

The original Tomb Raider - has become a huge hit
Original - has become a huge hit

The game was released on 1996, and became an instant success. The innovative gameplay, the realistic character, that is, the standards of then minus certain parts of Lara's body, succeeded not only in selling copies but also Playstation. Lara has been featured on the cover of business magazines and magazines, starring in commercials and after several years even getting a movie.

To the dismay of And Eidos, Lara also won a different kind of sympathy related to the dimensions of her body, and at a certain stage had to chase after and close a site published Her nudity.

Toby Gard did not really like this preoccupation with the character he created, nor the crazy success he thought led to Lara's commercialization. He decided to leave the company.

It turned out that he was right. Success and money put Eidos and To spin. Idos required them to develop a new game each year, and the pressure on developers who could not rest for a moment only a man. After several years, Tomb Raider was no longer at the pace of graphic technology, and the attempt to develop a new engine when the second PlayStation came out was a disaster. The climax came in the game Angel of Darkness, the ninth in the series, and received terrible reviews and sealed Lara's fate, which eventually brought Eidos to the company's move to American Crystal Dynamics.

Angel of Darkness - almost eliminated the Tomb Raider series forever
Angel of Darkness - almost finished the series Win

Crystal Dynamics, which has already created successful games for Eidos like Legacy of Kain, has reassembled the Kain team to work on the new Tomber Rider game. In addition, they hired Toby Gard as a consultant, happy to return to business. Lara got a new design, and this time much more real and professional, and the series finally got the attention she needed again. In 2006 they released the tenth game in the series, which has already received excellent reviews.

Crystal Dynamics continued to release games in the series until, in the year 2013, instead of creating another sequel, they decided to renew the brand, and the current series of games in the distribution of Square-Enix, which has meanwhile acquired Eidos, follows young Lara.

Today, Lara Croft and her Tomb Raider series seem to be alive and kicking more than ever before
Today, it seems Lara Croft and the series She is alive and kicking more than ever before

So brand Indeed, he returned to life, and even with great success. And although he no longer gets the same crazy popularity of the nineties, and since then have created quite a few games in which women are heroines, it still holds well, and hope we will continue to see more successful games in the series.

Sveta S. She is developing sites and a gamer in her soul, you are invited to follow her on her YouTube channel GameGems


Thank you very much for the video 🙂

I remember some of the first games were hard and nerve-racking!

The new games are more action-based and do not require too much thought (and pity).