Lara Croft

Lara Croft: 25 years of Tomb Raider and a British gaming icon

    Strong, independent, and courageous, Lara Croft forged an unforgettable journey through the 90s of gaming, making the transition from a niche character to a pop-culture star, making her one of the best instantly recognized symbols ever.

In more than two half years we’ve been with her, Lara has undergone a significant emotional and physical change.

Whatever you thought of her bizarre body initially, Lara is an enduring British gaming icon that’s here to stay.

Making Lara more accessible

“She was iconic from the jump because we hadn’t seen a lot of female heroes in video games,” says Dallas Dickinson, who works at Crystal Dynamics as the franchise executive producer of Tomb Raider.

She was in the front of the time when 3D graphics were introduced,” he says.

“It was like: holy cow – you can do this, a fully realized character!”

The original films, starring Angelina Jolie – propelled Lara into more significant acclaim. 

However, Dallas believes that it’s the series’ later attempts to make Croft’s “origin” story, which has made her easily accessible to numerous people.

The latest three games in the Tomb Raider franchise three games – Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which were launched in 2013, 2015, and 2018, respectively follow what happens to a young and more inexperienced Lara.

“What was done with the 2013 Tomb Raider game was meaningful,” Dallas clarifies. “It gave her a bit more grounded, more likable sense to her.

“The superhero version may not have been as accessible to certain people, and so when she became more real – with that persistence at her core – I think she resonated with an entirely new generation of gamers.”

The original game was developed through Core Design and published by Eidos. The first games launched in the 90s created Lara Croft, a household name around the globe.

Over the past 25 years in 25 years, in the past 25 years, the Tomb Raider games alone have sold more than 85 million copies around the world.

Cool acrobatics

However, the result of this has to please two or three generations of fandom, each of whom has a “grown-up” with a slightly different Lara Croft.

So, how can Crystal Dynamics – the series current caretaker and creator, manage to reconcile the needs of fans who are new to the series with those who have been following Lara for years?

“That is the challenge,” Dallas declares. “The principle we follow is that Lara’s tales are true.

“In Lara’s timeline,” the life of Lara”The “Survivor Series” which we call the final three games is in a way a kind of period of her origin story that her previous adventures hadn’t explored as deeply.

“She was becoming the Tomb Raider during those three games.”

However, Dallas states that the stories which predate “Survivor Series” are just as important – they show the character of Lara Croft, who is much more mature and confident.

In his words, “This is the kind of Lara who will, at an impulse, “just do some cool acrobatics – you know, just for flair.”

Lara is a pioneer.

However, it is important to honor that “full journey” of Lara’s character – from her enthralling portrayal in the beginning games to the more youthful Lara we’ve seen recently.

“We do see it as a progression – a progression that was told in a different order,” Dallas declares.

“We began with a set of stories about the heroic times of this era.

“But going back to the origins doesn’t disrupt those things – it doesn’t dishonor or say that they’re not true.”

The most important thing to Crystal Dynamics is ensuring Lara Croft’s pioneering legacy isn’t lost.

Croft is one of the first gaming leading ladies. She and her maker, Core Design, fought against a virtual glass wall to bring her to the world of digital.

Twenty-five years later, and while the characters we encounter in video games have more diversity than ever before, there’s still a long distance to go before we’re able to achieve absolute equality to gaming’s main characters.

“There are lots and lots of people whose stories have not been told. So there are lots and lots of ways that representation – although it has grown – can continue to grow,” Dallas states.

“But we’re delighted and very proud of the contributions Lara and Tomb Raider have made to that.”

What’s the next step for Lara? Dallas has kept mum on specifics. However, there are hints that there might be some projects in the works.

“We don’t have a schedule which we’ve set. So we haven’t talked about the specifics of the games that are coming up.

“But it’s irresponsible to assume the fact that all this work to bring together the timelines with no the possibility of future products in mind.”