The lights are on
Tomb Raider has a long history as both a character and franchise, but where will the brand head as it moves into the future? Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider franchise have come a long way over the years. Younger gamers may not recall the way the character invaded the cultural landscape in the late 90s, appearing in everything from comic books and toys to theme park rides. We took a look back at some of the features that shaped the character and the game series in the past, and more importantly, spoke with Crystal Dynamics about what it will take to relaunch Tomb Raider with a brand new vision. “We got contacted not so long ago from someone looking to renew a contract for a strange water park ride in south Italy, where they have a girl dressed up as Lara Croft who comes out every single day and starts the ride,” laughs Karl Stewart, global brand director for the new Tomb Raider franchise. “And we were like: ‘We do what? Are you serious?’ There was a time when that must have made perfect sense.” From the moment that the first Tomb Raider game launched in 1996, the character had a special appeal. One of only a handful of true video game heroines, Lara Croft was capable and deadly, smart and resourceful, and for many audience members, undeniably sexy. Her twin guns and curvaceous figure cast a big shadow for other characters to follow in the coming years. Even as the years passed, her look and demeanor continued to evolve. Along the way, numerous media beyond games got in on the action. Comic book maker Top Cow launched a successful Tomb Raider graphic novel series, one that often integrated with the other major characters of their comic universe. Ballantine Books began a series of three novels that tied in with game continuity. Two major Hollywood movies starring Angelina Jolie did big business at the box office. Through that film licensure, Paramount Parks opened several theme park rides across North America built around the brand. And, of course, as the years passed, nearly a dozen actual video games released. “In the past, a number of opportunities have presented themselves to the IP, and those opportunities have been taken,” Stewart tells us. “And that’s great. But that was for that vision. Now we have a new vision.”In 2006, Crystal Dynamics released their take on the franchise with Tomb Raider: Legend, a newly reinvigorated style that still seemed to stay mostly true to the series roots. The game was met by positive critical and commercial success, but the developers knew that sometime soon a change would be required. After 2008’s Tomb Raider: Underworld, Crystal Dynamics knew the time for that more dramatic change had come. “Iconic characters are a product of their time,” explains franchise director Tim Longo Jr.. “Specifically with franchises, they need to evolve with the times. The ones that don’t get ahead of that problem are going to fail. They’re not going to be around anymore.” But how to take such a well known character and bring back her relevance? “We talked about our medium and audience changing,” Longo continues “It’s not only become bigger, it’s wider on the types of audience members. And our medium has matured as an art form and entertainment.”
The Lara Croft: Tomb Raider film opened up an entirely new audience for the franchise, but gamers had mixed impressions of the treatment
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.
mmm hard and plastic
Man, I was in the 6th grade when the first TR dropped, and I remember playing it at my buddies house for hours non-stop. I have always been a TR fan, but as the article stated, there comes a time when a character has to catch up. I'm glad they are revamping this series...can't wait til it drops and we get our first taste of Laura Croft reborn!!!
I have never played a Lara Croft game but really want to after reading about the "reborn".
The first Tomb Raider movie was.... well boring and I don't get why it did so well.
Enough already!! New and creative ideas are continually pushed aside or left behind in order to promote the same crap again and again. I'd rather play Womb Raider wherein I venture throughout the human womb in search of biological life-nourishing treasures. Lara's big honkers sell every time, regardless of quality- kind of like a two-bit English *** that no poor drunk wanker can refuse. Pitiful.
This article has really got me looking forward to the reboot. and btw those models are hawt.
Surely to be another great reboot, just like the Sly Collection!
OMG! KARL STEWART IS SO CUTE! I JUST WANNA EAT HIM UP! YUM!
Nice article. But does this mean no action figures for TR2011? Boooo. :(
Reboots. Always whitewater to tread upon. My only advice to them is to be careful.
this game looks worth playing. I think that I will get it. I probably will....scratch that I will get it.
On your new cover featuring Lara Croft... why does she look like Celine Dion???
tomb raider games are awesome. puzzles are just fun to figure out.
Lara Croft is character twich these days is very old (gameplay mechanichs) so is a good choice to make a diferent game but to reboot the story is a little hard, we have already a concept about Lara so change it can be very dangerous to the franchise, they think better before making another step.
This game seems like its gonna be a great game.
But to take "Tomb Raider" as a title in hoping its gonna attract Lara croft fans into thinking its going to be the same as the other Tomb Raider games its just WRONG!!!
this game is more like a survival game than action...
They should used another title =_=;
but i am looking forward to check it out =D