Lara Croft… the racehorse? True stories from 20 years of Tomb Raider

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Lara Croft… the racehorse? True stories from 20 years of Tomb Raider

As Rise of the Tomb Raider releases on PS4 today, we celebrate with a tale from Lara’s illustrious pop culture past

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming 20 Years of Tomb Raider, the definitive guide to the franchise, digging deep into two decades of Lara Croft’s impact on pop culture. As Lara returns to PlayStation 4, we look back at a key moment from the character’s past, as she takes her first steps towards Hollywood…

Tomb Raider III: Completing the Trilogy

Lara’s expansion into the pop-culture consciousness continued to grow in her third year of life. Partnerships established in 1997 came to fruition in 1998 as merchandise requests continued to flood in. “Eidos as a company is very, very protective over Lara so we’re very careful with the merchandise that we choose,” said Janet Swallow, VP of Licensing in GameTap’s Tomb Raider retrospective. “We’ve had two odd requests; one of them was a racehorse owner asking whether he could call his racehorse after Lara, which we declined.” The concern being that the horse may fall at the first hurdle, a risk they didn’t want to take. “And the second one was a tulip grower in Holland,” continued Swallow. “To name one of their brands of tulips after Lara which we thought was quite nice.” She confirms the tulip deal was approved and they were grown in Amsterdam.

Some top tier merchandise also made it through approvals, such a series of 9″ figures from Playmates that became immediate fan favorites. Each posed Lara within intriguing dioramas, and kicked off a long partnership with the toy company. Other products included a PlayStation memory card with Lara’s torso jutting out from the console, letting her save games with style. She was also partnered up with U.K. sports drink brand Lucozade for a series of action-packed commercials, and starred in one of German band Die Ärzte’s music videos, taking it to the top of the music charts for eight weeks.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

March of 1998 saw the announcement that Paramount had acquired the worldwide film rights to Tomb Raider. “Tomb Raider is a high-energy, inventive and smart action-adventure project,” said Producers Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin in an official release. “It’s based on the rare video game that is well-suited for film adaptation, not only because of its thematic and visual richness, but also because it’s so strongly character and story oriented.” A pair of striking teaser posters were released long before an actress was cast, asking “Who is Lara Croft?” Following the movie’s 2001 release, there would be few left who couldn’t answer that question…

Previews for Tomb Raider III took place again at E3 and ECTS. This time model Nell McAndrew filled Lara’s boots for photoshoots and live appearances. Eidos also choreographed a custom stage presentation where fans could talk directly to Lara and ask her questions; her voice actress Judith Gibbins was squirreled away backstage to answer the queries. McAndrew would proceed to take Tomb Raider on tour for several months, visiting Europe, Australia, and stops all over the United Kingdom.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

It was at events like these (specifically E3, held in Atlanta at the time) which Producer Troy Horton recalls most fondly. In the “pre-social media days” shows had extra weight and importance. “Those are the kind of moments you realize you are working with a really fantastic team on a really amazing product. You face the customers, see people playing it and hear their feedback directly. You live in a bubble at a studio, especially a small one. Back then there was no social media, email had only come into use a year or two before.”

Tomb Raider III sold massively—the best to date at the time of launch, although lifetime sales were eventually overtaken due to re-releases of the original two titles. The studio continued to invest in the future, satiating the desire for yearly Tomb Raider releases while keeping an eye on new technology and opportunities just over the horizon.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

20 Years of Tomb Raider, a 360 page hardback recounting Lara Croft’s greatest moments across video games, comics, movies and pop culture, releases 25th October. Written by Meagan Marie, Senior Community Manager, Crystal Dynamics, it’ll be available from all good retailers. You can pre-order yours here.

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  • They need to remake from the ground up TR: Angel Of Darkness. The story had so much potential…
    I also love the new Lara games but… they are moving away from what made it special back in the day.

  • @CrystalDynamics

    How acceptable is it to release this episode on PS4 a full year after the XBox version?

    We haven’t forgotten.

    • It’s been nearly a year. [DELETED]

      We got it late but we GOT IT.

      We also got it with all the DLC.

      No one is forcing you to buy it but still you complain.

      It’s a brilliant game by the way once you’ve stoped moaning in 2019 it may come on PS plus

  • Please take care of your Collector’s Edition pre-order customers. People have been playing the standard retail copy for a week now, but we are supposed to wait 1-2 weeks after release!

    • I thought I was the only one with that problem :( indeed I see friends playing the game for a week now. I never order a Collector’s Edition, but this one is worth it, and now I feel punished for it. I received the message that it will be delivered Oct 20. I hope that they compensate te players waiting for it somehow.

      So not fair with the bonus they provide for first week players: ‘Play during the first week and receive 100,000 in-game credits for expedition cards’. Meanwhile the players are waiting for their Collector’s Edition.

    • +1
      I am waiting too :-(

    • The game was released 12 am east coast time and I live on the wast coast of the US, so I got my collectors edition Oct. 10, at 9pm at game stop. There was nothing like that available outside the us?

  • Forget Lara Croft: the racehorse, here at Lara’s original home we have Lara Croft: the road! Hope that fact made it into thebook…

    • We totally mention Lara Croft Way in the book! I’m traveling to the U.K. this December and hope to stop by Derby for a photo myself!

  • So now that you want to try and make us buy something more suddenly the PS community is good enough.

    You will realize that you make big mistakes, Tomb Raider never had it’s home at Xbox, it was at PC and PS (Saturn as well but not that much after)

    Messing with your playerbase is never a good idea. There is no reason what so ever to just jump in and fork out more money to Crystal Dynamics.

    • A year ago they told us to play temple of osiris and TR remaster instead, because they loved us that much… It was like, yeah, there is a new game coming out, we will let you in the dark, but here, take this and shut up.

      All of a sudden, playstation and their userbase are the people they love the most. I won’t forget what they did. I’m going to wait till it hits a bargain or buy it second handed. I waited a year, I can wait a bit more.

      Eye for an eye, right?

    • rafaelmendes23
      Hit the head of the nail there. It’s going to be second hand by me.

      Waiting is not much of an issue, since they made us wait so long the fuss and hype has died down. Now it’s just another game that we can get sometime in the future. Beside they were so nice to release it at a time were there are new games coming out and right now there are also tons of events in various games. So yea nice of them to make it so much easier to wait because there is so much else to do :)

      I’m not the biggest fan of the old saying “An eye for and eye” reason being that there is another part of it. “An eye for an eye, makes the world blind” But yes the first part is what we should look at. Payback can be a **** (Just find a swear word)

  • Awww poor little child, someone upset you and you spat your dummy.

    Fine don’t buy the game, your missing out as it’s brilliant

    • Or people are not tools who are slaves by companies.

      We the people who are not supporting them can still play the game. It’s a matter of waiting a bit longer and get it second hand.
      You support greed, well that’s your way of life, not everyone supports the greedy ones.

      Not supporting them =/= Being a child. You though seems to be the child here.

  • Got the game and it doesn’t work well….keep freezing and restarting the game….can someone help please. Got all the patch update and still nothing ????????

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