'LARA MORE RECOGNISED THAN THE POPE'
Copyright 2005 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ August 13th 2005 ]

Ian Livingstone, Creative Director at Eidos, has used Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival to give his vision on the future of interactive heroes, and explains the recipe behind the success of Lara Croft and what to expect from her forthcoming globe-trotting exploits in Tomb Raider Legend.

"Being the right character at the right time was one of the reasons why Lara was so successful. Also she was one of the first games published with a 3rd person character and was definitely the first female character. Core had made a bold move with the character but let's not forget that Tomb Raider was also a great game to play with great graphics and amazing technology for the time.

"Core had reinvented the action/adventure genre. But Lara herself was down to one visionary at Core - Toby Gard who designed her. Toby had observed by Neneh Cherry, Tank Girl and the rise of girl power at the time. He realised a strong, independent woman was attractive. So Lara was dynamic, beautiful, sexy, athletic - things guys like. But also she was independent, strong, adventurous - qualities attractive to women.

"Lara's level of appeal is unique in modern games. Can you name any other gaming character who is as well known and has survived the test of time? Everybody knows Grand Theft Auto, but none of the characters in the game are household names. Time Digital did a survey a few years ago and Lara was more recognised than Pope John Paul II.

"Lara transcended games. She's became a household name and a powerful brand. Because of that, people liked to think that they knew her. Even though she is a virtual character she became almost human. Maybe Angelina Jolie helped in that respect! As a game heroine, the desire of her fans to want to know more about Lara coupled with the imminent launch of new console platforms today creates a new set of challenges - to keep her as popular and strong in the future as she has been in the past.

"You have to invest and innovate or the franchise will suffer. The last iteration of Tomb Raider did not live up to customers' expectations. The control and the content were simply not good enough. That was one of the reasons why the development of Tomb Raider:Legend was moved from Core to Crystal Dynamics.

"Fresh minds and a fresh approach based on market information was needed. Crystal Dynamics was also acknowledged for its superb technology. And bringing back Toby Gard was a huge bonus. We have every intention of fulfilling fans' expectations and are very confident we will do so.

Ian Livingstone continues to talk about what gamers can expect from 'Next Gen' platforms and the expanding relationship between movie production and video-game development. The full interview is available from the EIEF web site HERE.

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