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[ August 26th 2005 ]

Ian Livingstone, creative director at Eidos, used the recent Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival as a forum to discuss all things gaming, and addressed the phenomenon of video-game icons such as Mario, Sonic and Tomb Raider star Lara Croft.

Since Tomb Raider released in 1996, the game has become one of the most successful franchises of the digital era, selling more than 35 million units and spawning two motion pictures backed by studio giant Paramount. Livingstone tells the BBC how Eidos initially perfected the formula.

"If you own your own content you can control your destiny and obviously make some money along the way by doing so," he told the BBC News website. "But it's a huge commercial risk, and with the next generation platforms you're talking about development costs of 5m upwards, with 100-man teams and so on."

"Creativity still exists on other platforms. It takes an awful lot to hit the sweet spot on a mass scale, without them then fading. I think it's good that they only come along now and then, otherwise we water down the value of a character."

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