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JEREMY HEATH-SMITH TALKS TOMB RAIDER
Copyright 2005 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ March 2nd 2005 ]

Former Core Design boss and CiRCLE Studio director Jeremy Heath-Smith has given a candid interview to Game Informer on his new project, Without Warning, the use of middleware as a viable alternative to developing an in-house proprietary game engine, and the lessons learned from the Tomb Raider franchise which resulted in abandoning the studio he formed in 1998. Commenting on leaving Core Design, Heath-Smith said: "I started Core Design in 1988; she was my baby. I sold it, which I guess changes the dynamic of that a little bit and made a me lot of money out of it as a result, but I spent the best part of my life there. My brother joined us a little after I started Core Design and the team we took with us has been with us for about 8 to 10 years.

"So to walk out of that building was kind of weird but I have to say that once we moved into the new building it was like a sort of cloud lifted from over us. Everything was new again. It was just all the boys sitting around trying to come up with a game. That's how it's really changed; it's one of these things where the entire company is behind everything that goes on. That had been missing for a long time. It was a massive heart wrench, but looking back at it now, I don't regret it for a second."

On the lessons learned from the Tomb Raider franchise: "The difficulty of Tomb Raider was that when it was successful, you try to appease everyone. You try to appease the press because you don't like to read negative reviews. You try to appease the marketing, sales, and commercial guys, too. And they all say that it needs to change, that it needs to be more edgy and you need Lara Croft to go into the city and go here and go there. So you do all of that because you think it's the right thing to do and then you actually stand back and look at it and think what the heck happened. This isn't Tomb Raider. That game was back with the wolves and the bears and the ancient temples.

"You talk to a Tomb Raider fan and ask them where we went the wrong direction and they'll say that it was when we started to change the core gameplay dynamic. To be fair, we sold out to commerciality and we should have stuck to what we knew we were good at doing, which was making games. So the lesson to be learned is do not break the formula. Look at Final Fantasy, they haven't changed the formula for that recently. They've advanced it but it's basically the same game as the first one."

The complete Game Informer interview with Jeremy Heath-Smith can be read HERE.

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Lara Croft and Tomb Raider are trademarks of Square Enix Ltd.
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