'TUM RAIDER' CREATORS
Copyright 2011 www.tombraiderchronicles.com
[ September 28th 2011 ]
2001, the BBC commissioned animation studio Strange
Company to produce a parody of Tomb Raider called
Tomb Raider Chronicles recently caught up with
Artistic Director Hugh Hancock ten years on to
discuss what is today one of the most talked about
Lara Croft shorts.
did you become involved with the project?
a while ago now, so I'm slightly fuzzy on the
details! As I recall, we already knew the guys
involved in it from a Machinima perspective. I
think I'd lectured somewhere and they'd seen us
there, or possibly had read about us - anyway,
we'd had meetings before and knew we wanted to
do something together.
of projects had been thrown around and for one
reason or another hadn't happened, but we were
still chatting. So, when they realised they needed
a skit based on Tomb Raider, their thoughts went
to Machinima as a fast, cheap production method,
and from there they went to us!
my perspective, I got a call one day asking if
I'd be interested in the idea of doing a parody
of Tomb Raider, but with the polar opposite of
Lara in the main role - a fat, beardy, unfit guy.
I love working with the Beeb in general, and it
sounded like a lot of fun, so my response was
pretty much "hell, yeah".
you played the games prior to being approached
by the BBC?
the first Tomb Raider game when I was a teenager,
but not all the way through. I love the background
and the character they've created, but platform
/ shooter games are not really my thing other
than that - I'm more of an RPG / MMO guy with
occasional forays into hardcore FPS.
software was used to create the film?
piece of software we used was actually the Half-Life
engine. Whilst we would have loved to use the
Tomb Raider engine, it wasn't moddable at the
time, so we used a Tomb Raider texture pack to
create a few custom levels.
there, we modelled the main character in 3DS Max
as I recall, hand-animated him, captured the entire
thing using a TV capture card (this being somewhat
before the days of FRAPS), and edited it as a
normal movie in Adobe Premiere.
were done in Adobe After Effects, and the wonderful
foley and character noises were entirely created
by Gordon McDonald, my co-director at Strange
Company, in one decidedly worrying-sounding session
in his audio office. Seriously, we thought he
was having some kind of attack in there.
other projects have you been involved with?
a pretty long list! Obviously, I founded Machinima.com,
which I'm pleased to say is still going stunningly
well under the direction of Philip DeBevoise.
My best-known movie is probably the feature-length
a punk fantasy epic, which got well over 100k
viewers (pretty good for something 90 minutes
long), and was featured in the Guardian, on the
BBC, USA Today's website, and various other cool
directed a lot of other films too, both indie
and for other people, which can mostly be found
on the official Strange
I'm directing our highest-profile film yet, Death
Knight Love Story. I'm also growing The
MMO Melting Pot, which is a pretty unique
idea - basically, we're trying to fix the problem
that a lot of brilliant games bloggers, particularly
MMO bloggers, don't get the exposure they deserve.
So, we spend our days seeking out the hidden gems
of games blogging and then we tell people about
do you make of the Tomb Raider brand today?
the elder statesman of video games, basically.
Lara Croft has to be the best-known and most-recognised
game character of all time - more so even than
Mario, Link or Sonic. The fact that the brand
has managed to keep going all this time says that
it's tapping into something pretty deep in the
human psyche - not just that it's got a pretty
girl on the cover.
the games themselves have gone up and down in
popularity, but basically we're talking about
the video game equivalent of James Bond here.
The films may go through good phases, bad phases,
and silly phases, but at the end of the day, Bond's
still Bond. And Tomb Raider is still Tomb Raider.
The central idea and the character are never going
to be less than awesome.