Tomb Raider: The story behind the game

There’s an elite bracket of games with multiple chapters that transcend generations and consoles and immediately evoke memories of nostalgia among millions of gamers. Tomb Raider is undeniably one of those games.

If you’re slightly older like me, you’ll have fond memories of Tomb Raider 2 and of locking the butler in the freezer out of sheer amusement. However, if the trivial matters do not amuse you as they do me, and you’re more focused on the incredible gameplay and repeat value of many of these early instalments, then the story behind the game is just as interesting as some of the early blockbuster versions of this game.

The origins and dynasty of Lara Croft

For many gamers, it’s hard to comprehend just how popular Tomb Raider has become, as its popularity has exceeded that of home video consoles. It influenced various Hollywood movies, merchandise and spin-off casino games. Although a slot casino with a range of Tomb Raider or TV and movie-based casino games isn’t the first thing you might think of when examining the story behind Tomb Raider, it helps to emphasize just how astonishingly popular it became.

Lara Croft is the main protagonist of Tomb Raider. There were a couple of years between the launch of the project and the launch of the original game in 1996. It was a British game design studio that coined the title and created the Lara Croft character. Something that not many gamers know is that the original game was meant to have a male main character, but due to there being too many similarities to a certain tomb-raiding Harrison Ford character, Toby Gard decided to build the story and the game design around a female protagonist.

Eidos Interactive was the design company behind the original half a dozen games. The unexpected global success of the first two games managed to dig the struggling game designer out of a tight financial spot. Within two years, they went from a game design company on the brink of folding to one of the brightest names in the growing game design sector.

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Why did people not have faith in the game?

Now that the entire game and character have generated over $1bn in revenue and sales, it seems bizarre that many within Eidos didn’t have high hopes for the game. Lara Croft’s character was pioneering in many ways. Even though it was only three decades ago, few high-profile games championed the idea of a female lead character in a very male-dominated gaming sector.

Although Sony boasted impressive sales of its new PlayStation 1 console and positive future projections, many people forgot that it predated online gaming. Home consoles were still expensive items, and the games rarely sold millions of units.

Tomb Raider was part of a selection of Sony, Nintendo, and, a few years later, Microsoft games, which bucked this trend. This resulted in the industry fulfilling its staggering potential and becoming the multibillion-dollar titan it is today.

Global success and notoriety

The first one surprised Eidos, but the second one was the game many of us remember playing in our youth. Tomb Raider 2 created a gaming dynasty that placed it next to the greatest PS1 collections, such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro The Dragon and many more 3D platformers, that still evoke such rich nostalgia.

Such was the phenomenal success of the first three games that Hollywood cast Angelina Jolie to play Lara in 2001, when she was arguably the most prominent actress in film. While it was modestly received, and recent remakes have hardly captured or grown the brand, few movies start as video games. Nothing can highlight its success more than the big-screen movies and remakes that have earned millions in revenue.

Final thoughts

Tomb Raider is an excellent example of how conviction in innovation and creativity can truly pay off. While there was a huge team behind the success of Tomb Raider, all of whom performed a phenomenal job, including the game designers, story writers, and advertising specialists, an integral part of the design that propelled it into the realms of such mind-blowing success focused on Toby Gard’s vision.

The ingenious idea of designing a female lead character was entirely ahead of its time. Putting together a game like this in such a traditionally male role helped Tomb Raider become a huge international success. It has also helped the game age well, and it continues to find success among newer generations of consoles and gamers throughout the last two decades.


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