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Firefly
4th Aug 2003, 03:05
The future of Lara Croft, the nubile virtual archeologist, has come into question this week after the Tomb Raider franchise was pulled from its founding home at Core Designs in Derby and moved to US-based Crystal Dynamics. The move comes in the wake of the departure of Core's founder, Jeremy Heath-Smith, and the continuously delayed release date of the sixth Tomb Raider title, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. It certainly wasn't helped by the fact that when the game finally made it to the shops, it received widespread critical panning in the games press.

It seems that not even Angelina Jolie and a pair of implants could bolster the latest Tomb Raider game, and Paramount Pictures have even gone so far as to blame Angel of Darkness for the poor opening figures of their new Tomb Raider movie, Cradle of Life.

Lara Croft started out as a refreshing change, entering the small screen for 1996's original Tomb Raider and going on to become one of the most iconic figures in video gaming history. Famed for her kick-ass, no-nonsense attitude and her monster cleavage (rumoured to be the result of a mouse slip during the character's development), Lara has achieved more success than many real life models, fronting a drinks campaign, inspiring two films, and adorning the cover of The Face magazine. But could the pulling power of the erstwhile Ms Croft be coming to an end?

"I don't think Lara can be brushed aside as a failed franchise, just yet," claims games journalist Mark Eveleigh. "Much like Sonic and Mario, she adorns the games industry as one of the leading figures and will undoubtedly live on as one of Eidos' flagship brands."

Although she may not be as gun-toting and as tightly-clad as Lara, one woman who is about to make a very big impact on the games industry is Mie Kumagai, the new head of Sega's subsidiary company Hitmaker, and the first female president in the history of the company.

"I never played games before joining Sega," explained Kumagai in an interview on polygonmag.com. "I think the image of a female player isn't desirable in society, and I feel women need to be educated about the fun of games. The audience for them is wide and should include more women. Darts is a more conventional game, and it's enjoyed by women. At a local darts bar in Ikebukruo women represent 50% of the clientele and I want to break down the barriers around video games the same way."

Courtesy of www.guardian.co.uk

ch@otis
4th Aug 2003, 15:53
Just to make sure people know that I missed the point completely...
I think that the failure of the ne TR movie was due to the lack of a strong story in the first movie.
Sure, it had the globe-hopping feel of the game, and there was plenty of action, but there just wasn't any depth to the story, or at least there was less than I expected.
Tomb Raider games, for me, have always been about the story - not just Lara's chest, guns and buttocks.
I was disappointed with the movie, though I did think Angelina made a good Lara.

owen10
4th Aug 2003, 16:14
An interesting article, which is hard to disagree with. Lara simply isn't as engaging as she once was. Better games have arrived that don't depend on the lead character's reputation to entertain. Crystal Dynamics certainly have their work cut out and I'll be amazed if they manage to reverse this worrying trend of style over substance.

D3v1L80Y
4th Aug 2003, 19:58
I am still a TR fan, but I can see where it has lost some of its 'luster'. That is only natural. When countless sequels are released, the original concept of Lara Croft is either lost or as owen10 states, not "as engaging as she once was".

Think of how many times this has happened in other entertainment industries, primarily the movie business. The endless string of movies like 'Nightmare on Elm Street', 'Friday the 13th', 'Rocky' etc. all lose their flare after about 2 or 3 installments.

We will just have to wait and see what Crystal Dynamics brings to the table and hope for the best.