Trivia / Tomb Raider

  • Creative Differences: Toby Gard and Paul Douglas, respectively lead designer and lead programmer (out of a team of just six working on the game), quickly got sick of how marketing the game went and how they lost almost entire creative control over the game they made or the work on a sequel they didn't even plan in such a short time-span. They would both quit Core Design and went their own ways. Toby Gard returned later to help as consultant for Crystal Dynamics and quickly managed to secure enough creative control over the games that he became the lead designer and writer for Underworld, precisely to prevent history from repeating itself.
    • Who's Laughing Now?: The marketing patterns Crystal Dynamics' games used for their initial run with the franchise was pretty much everything Gard always wanted from the series - namely getting away from Lara's chest and focus on Lara as a strong female protagonist instead.
  • Executive Meddling: Hoo boy. Eidos saw the franchise as a moneymaking machine and they demanded a new Tomb Raider game be pushed out every year, quality be damned. This line of thinking eventually bit them in the ass when Angel of Darkness tanked in sales and reviews... for which they've put entire blame on Core Design. Then they've restarted the entire cycle again with Crystal Dynamics, until they were bought up by Square Enix.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The "Unknown Entity" that possesses Amanda in Peru is commonly known as "Fluffy'' in the fandom.
    • "Doppleganger" was known early on as "Bacon Lara", and the new and improved Doppelganger is sometimes called "Dopplehoe" or shortened to "Dopple" or "Doppie".
  • Follow the Leader: The 2013 reboot has been accused of copying Uncharted, mostly due to both 3D platformer/shooter with a central protagonist who is in way over her/his head and gorgeous Scenery Porn. The accusation is especially ironic as the original Uncharted was described as a Tomb Raider ripoff before its release.
  • Franchise Zombie:
  • Insistent Terminology: While being fully correct, use of the term "second reboot" toward Tomb Raider (2013) is one of the easiest way to spot fans of original Core Design continuity.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Jeremy Heath-Smith, the chief executive of Core Design, was very open about what motivates him to keep assembling new teams for yet another Tomb Raider game. On the other hand, he was always making sure all the team members get fat and even slices of the money made by the studio for the harrowing work to push yet another game in 8 months. He is still fondly remembered by all the members of the staff.
    For me, it was really important that they did something with that money - bought a house, or invested it (...) I was always the advocate of "Letís make as much hay as we can while the sun shines. And while thatís not, from a creative perspective, the best approach, it certainly is one approach when the sun is out."
  • One-Hit Wonder: Anyone even remotely related with developing games within the franchise seems to share this fate:
    • Core Design never managed to create any game even remotely as big as Tomb Raider. Their biggest success prior was Chuck Rock.
    • Toby Gard never managed to recreate his Tomb Raider success (however, his Here They Lie for PSVR is quite popular and praised). Paul Douglas never even made another game and nobody knows what happened with him since the late 90s - he just vanished without a trace. The remaining members of the original six also never managed to deliver anything else of any importance or popularity.
    • Ever since picking up the Tomb Raider franchise, Crystal Dynamics seems to be stuck with it, not making any other titles at all for the past decade. And the record sales of Tomb Raider (2013) make it highly unlikely they will ever manage to outdo them.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The original six working on Tomb Raider was, according to themselves, assembled from people who simply didn't have anything else to do at that moment and put under the leadership of Toby Gard. Special mention should go to Gavin Rummery and Neal Boyd, as it was their first game project ever. Despite this the team proved to be highly efficient and it was Rummery who wrote the iconic room building tool, fundamental for the entire series.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: The Tomb Raider comics series was a Long Runner, published by TopCow for 8 years in total, able to outlive Core Design and apparently the game series itself. When it was announced the franchise would be passed to Crystal Dynamics, obvious problems with licensing started. The original deal for comics was made when Core was still the sole holder of the rights - and now they are held by Eidos and leased to Crystal Dynamics, TopCow's license wasn't even revoked - it was as if it never existed in the first place. Since the company wanted to continue their work and Crystal Dynamics' only requirement was Continuity Reboot to fit the new Lara, all remaining plot threads were wrapped up by the final, 50th issue and... that's how the series ended. Lawyers of both companies proceed to exchange letters for next two years, after which everyone simply lost interest. To salt the wound, years later Crystal Dynamics hired not TopCow, but Dark Horse Comics to provide Interquel mini-series for second reboot.
  • Sex Sells: The conclusion of Eidos execs when deciding how to sell a game about a strong, independent and intelligent female protagonist. The quality of advertising for the first three games really suffered due to this and soon after the first game's release, Toby Gard and Paul Douglas quit out of pure disgust caused by the raunchy ads. On the other hand, this sex-backed imaginary really bolstered sales, turning Miss Croft into an icon.
  • Troubled Production: The entire run under the Core banner was one huge problem, from the very start of the series, partially due to the way Core was (not) structured internally. Crystal Dynamics also had its own moments of this.
    • Tomb Raider was made by a team of six, while giving them free reign with whatever they wanted to pursue. After the game became a smash hit, due to Creative Differences with marketing department of then fledgling Eidos Interactive, Toby Gard, the main creator behind the game, and Paul Douglas, lead programmer, decided to quit, realizing they had no control over the character they created nor the loud, sex-appeal driven marketing.
    • Tomb Raider II had a new, slightly restructured team, but it was still a relatively small project run by the core members of original team, most notably Heather Gibson, the level designer of the first game. After it was made, the team disassembled itself, with most of the people involved leaving and being done and through with Tomb Raider and with no ideas where to drive the series without taking a break to develop a new engine and think about new stories, thus...
    • From Tomb Raider III to Tomb Raider Chronicles a completely new team was working on the franchise, with just minor parts of the previous team being involved. The increasingly toxic environment and lack of any cooperation with Eidos eventually led to the infamous decision to simply kill Lara off... which Eidos management decided to overrule when it was already too late to just cancel The Last Revelation.
    • Due to the amount of work needed, Core Design finally had enough time to move to PlayStation 2 (which was planned as early as the release of the third game) and develop a new engine for it. Because the company had no real structure to speak of and Jeremy Heath-Smith, the main executive of Core Design, was constantly tied by different project at Eidos, the first year of work created nothing. While there were 40 people involved in the project, nobody was in charge and nobody knew what were the goals - nobody even set them. And out of those 40 people, none were involved in making of any of the previous games in any other way than secondary programming. Suddenly the full creative freedom went against the company. It wasn't helped that there were a lot of people hired from the outside, thus undermining the fraternity which allowed them to manage all the previous projects without any supervisors. By the time damage control started to be implemented, it was already mid-2002. Eidos, which needed Tomb Raider revenue to maintain solvency, set two absolutely unrealistic dates, then changed plans completely and released the unfinished game just to close revenue report in April 2003. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness suffered greatly due to all of this.
    • Core's big comeback was suppose to be The 10th Anniversary Game project, utilizing the new free running engine they were developing in the meantime. Due to corporate in fights, licensing issues and legal battles, Core was eventually stripped of their own material, concept arts and scripts, which was all passed to Crystal Dynamics to work on, even though Crystal Dynamics wasn't originally interested in the project.
    • In Crystal Dynamics first go, there were two different teams working on the games. One was responsible for Legend and Underworld, while the other was tasked to quickly churn out Anniversary as fast as possible. There was close to no interaction between the teams and it eventually led to the postpone of Underworld to rewrite the story and redesign large chunk of the game to make it all a coherent continuity - Natla wasn't even planned to appear in the game, while she ended up as the Big Bad of it.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The Angel of Darkness was supposed to be the first game in a trilogy. Karel was supposed to survive and be in Turkey, trying to bring back his fellow Nephilim. Kurtis's fate apparently depended on how much the fans liked him (i.e. he would come back if he was really liked, or he would not if he was really disliked). Of course, since The Angel of Darkness failed miserably, the trilogy idea was scrapped and ideas attached to it along with it - and the original continuity was never continued.
      • Also in the same game, the watch Lara can find in Francine's apartment was supposed to play a bigger role or at least have a sub plot of its own.
      • The planned trilogy was going to reveal that the Nephilim and Atlantean races were connected, and Natla was possibly going to be brought Back from the Dead, thus connecting it to the very start of the series.
      • Jean-Yves was planned to be killed in the beginning of the game instead of Werner, and Werner instead was going to play a much larger role in the game.
    • Core Design were in the process of making their own remake of the original game (which was looking to be far more faithful than Anniversary) before Eidos dropped them.
    • Lara was originally supposed to die for real at the end of The Last Revelation - Core Design wanted to kill her off as they were fed up with having to make a new game every year. Eidos Interactive had other ideas.
    • Before things started to formalize with legal assistance, in the early days of the franchise, there was a project for a comics series by Glénat, green-lighted by Eidos. Dark Eons managed to only release a single issue before it was quickly cancelled and removed from the market, as other branches of Eidos finalized their deal with TopCow. The single issue has a considerably different tone, themes and atmosphere.
    • Before Square Enix took over and went for a complete reboot, Crystal Dynamics was working on Tomb Raider: Ascension, which was going to be completely a different genre and experience than any previous game. It was intended as a Survival Horror game set in open world, with Lara travelling around on horseback and fighting for her survival against hordes of supernatural beings summoned by something in that area. The game also had very detailed physics for bows... and flamethrowers. Many elements from Ascension were later retooled to be used in Tomb Raider (2013), which might explain why certain elements of the 2nd reboot feel a bit disjointed from the rest (like the concepts of finding shelter and food).
    • Lara Croft was originally envisioned as a Spicy Latina character named "Laura Cruz". It was decided to make her British in order to appeal to the home market more.
  • Word of Saint Paul: Andy Sandham, who was the level designer for Tomb Raider III and then the lead writer for The Last Revelation and Chronicles, is probably the best source of trivia about Core's run of the series and providing explanations for numerous elements that ended up in or removed from the franchise. He wasn't involved in any way with making the original game aside watching Toby Gard play-testing it. He also quit the company before the development of The Angel of Darkness really went sour. He became the unofficial spokesperson for Core Design after the company was dissolved and is highly respected for this both among fans and former colleagues.

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