Sunday, 22 September 2019

Last Friday, Tomb Raider Cosplay Ambassador, Raymond Croft, released his latest project, a two-minute long fan trailer inspired by "Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation" called "Tomb Raider: Wrath of Seth".

The two-minute-long 4K video is intended to be a fictional trailer but can also be seen as a mini-fan film, with an impressive team bring it to life.

Raymond Croft (@RayXCroft) was the main steering force behind the project as he wrote, directed, produced and starred as the lead in the production. He was joined by fellow Lara Croft cosplayer and ambassador, Saylum Croft (@SaylumCroft) who brilliantly stepped into the role of a female Von Croy. Jordan Baylon (@Kufspawn) and German Santos joined them to give Croft a hard time as "desert warriors", the hands-on enemy.

Promotion artwork for Tomb Raider: Wrath of Seth. Source: Raymond Croft, Twitter.

Of course a project like this needs a talented team also behind the camera. Working behind the scenes was Xander Bissell (Cinematographer, @XanderBissell), Olly Nite (Drone Operator), Marc Schneider (Editor), Dr Marina Escolanlo-Poveda (Egyptology Adviser), and Tariq Mehmood (VFX Artist). The music used in the trailer was by Colossal Trailer Music. All did fantastic work and exceeded all expectations and hopes for the piece!

At the time of writing, the fan trailer has reached over 1300 views in just the short time it's been out, and collected over 130 likes.

If you haven't already, definitely make sure to check it out and leave a comment for the team. Feedback always means a lot especially for fan projects!

To celebrate the launch, Raymond also tweeted a number of behind the scenes photos on Twitter:

Friday, 20 September 2019

If your Tomb Raider collection isn't yet complete, both XBOX and Steam are currently holding discounts on the entire series, including the Lara Croft spin-off titles.

For XBOX gamers, a number of titles from 2006 onwards are available at a reduced price. This includes Tomb Raider Legend, Tomb Raider Anniversary, Tomb Raider Underworld, Tomb Raider (-80%), Rise of the Tomb Raider (-85%), and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (-67%).

As for spin-off adventures, we have Lara Croft and the Guardian of Life and Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (-80%).

The titles are available at a reduced price as part of the Square Enix Sale on XBOX, which also covers games in the Life is Strange, Just Cause, Final Fantasy, and Deus Ex series. Check out the full list of games, HERE

For Steam owners, there's more of a selection, with the classic titles in the mix. On PC, we have Tomb Raider (-86%), Tomb Raider II (-86%), Tomb Raider III (-86%), Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation (-86%), Tomb Raider Chronicles (-86%), Tomb Raider VI: The Angel of Darkness (-86%), Tomb Raider Legend (-86%), Tomb Raider Anniversary (-89%), Tomb Raider Underworld (-89%), Tomb Raider 2013 (-85%), Rise of the Tomb Raider (-85%), Shadow of the Tomb Raider (-67%).

The Lara Croft series also received some hefty price reductions with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (-85%), Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (-85%) and Lara Croft GO (-75%).

You can see the full Tomb Raider sale on Steam, HERE

Monday, 16 September 2019

Celebrating local talent, Derby City Council unveiled their second walk of fame path last weekend, featuring eight local celebrities whose names are now embellished in cast-iron and marble plaques along Guildhall Theatre and through to Derby Cathedral.

The eight individuals were selected from over 400 residents who wrote into the Derby Telegraph. Approximately 200 different names for consideration for the second path, following the success of the original walk in May 2018.

Lara Croft's "Made In Derby" star. Photo Credit: Nathan McCree.
Excitingly, included in this new lineup was Lara Croft, whose creators and original developers, Core Design, were based in Derby and who developed her first six adventures. In recent years, the video game heroine has also been recognized by the local community and was granted "Lara Croft Way" following overwhelming response in an online poll.

Lara Croft's own "Made In Derby" walk of fame star was unveiled in a public ceremony over the weekend by former Core Design staff; Heather Stevens (Level Designer), Gavin Rummery (Lead Programmer), and Nathan McCree (Composer), and organized by Derby City Council.

Alongside the heroine were individuals who were born in or contributed significantly to the area including, Adam Peaty (Swimmer), Jack O’Connell (Actor), Karam Singh (Breaker), Frank, Thomas and Reginald Bird (Bakers), Liam Sharp (Artist), Steve Bloomer (Footballer), Florence Nightingale (Nurse), John Flamsteed (Astronomer), Marion Adnams (Artist).

The "Made In Derby" cast iron frame. Photo credit: Marketing Derby

Designed by sculpture Tim Clapcott, each tile features the name of the individual in a marble mosaic with black text on a white background. The star is cradled in a cast iron frame with the words "Made In Derby" and featuring local designs and landmarks.

For an added twist, the Walk of Fame paths both have scan-able QR codes built into the tiles. By downloading the "Made In Derby" smartphone app and scanning the code, visitors will see an augmented reality version of the individual spotlighted.

Want to learn more?
- ARTICLE: A second Made in Derby walk of fame is on its way to city streets
- ARTICLE:  Crowds turn out to welcome the latest stars on Made in Derby's walk of fame
- ARTICLE:  Derby's Walk of Fame artist reveals details ahead of big unveiling
- TWITTER: Nathan McCree's wrap-up tweet of the event

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Following the success of their previous livestream, Matt and Tomb Raider Marathon is back for another weekend of fundraising, due to take place between 2nd-3rd November 2019.

With the recent reveal and the target date, the team has put out an appeal for like-minded streamers who are interested in joining them to keep the channel packed with content and to help raise money.

Tomb Raider Marathon has already raised a staggering $6,548.01 since 2017, for organizations such as Direct Relief and Help Hope Live. For his latest venture, Matt has selected  St Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Interested in being one of the brilliant streamers involved in bringing Tomb Raider Marathon V to life? They're currently looking for Twitch streamers who are available between November 2nd-3rd. If you own a webcam and have prior experience hosting livestreams, that's an additional bonus! TR Marathon V's deadline is coming up soon this Sunday (15th!), so if you're interested, make sure to sign up using the Google Doc form before this Sunday to join the amazing broadcasting team.

All the money raised from Tomb Raider Marathon V will go directly to St Jude's Children's Research Hospital which first opened its doors in February 1962 with the goal of researching childhood diseases previously believed to be incurable or dangerous and caring and covering the medical costs for the young patients admitted to them. It's an organization which has touched a lot of hearts, especially for their dedication and care and, of course, their patients.  To find out more information about the charity, check out their website, HERE.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Back in June, the world celebrated Pride Month, with many countries (my hometown included) holding their march in July. For many people it was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and victories the LGBTQ+ community has had, but for others its a way of vocalizing against how society and the government can do better. At its heart, it's a celebration of sexual diversity, identity, and community.

In addition to LGBTQ+ parades and events taking place across the globe, we've also seen several celebrations in our community by incredible fans which we wanted to spotlight today.
While it can be argued that Lara's origins (particularly marketing) may have sought that heterosexual male demographic in 1996, today the fandom is made up of a diverse spectrum of genders and sexuality. For many fans, Lara represents so many things, with her being described as both a feminist icon and a gay icon. Here are just some of the ways that community members celebrated in recent weeks:

Tomb Raider Level Editor Spotlight

Tomb Raider Level Editor (Twitter Channel) kick started the month of festivities with a shout out to Ranpyon's The Rainbow Eggs, a 2011 fan-made level. In the story, Lara is enjoying an Easter getaway, visiting a friend by her lakeside house. Adventure is close by when Lara arrives and discovers that two eggs, known to be part of a set of seven legendary artifacts, have been found close by, kindling her determination to find the remaining five. While not officially connected to the Tomb Raider Level Editor database, the Twitter channel is a wonderful resource celebrating the amazing fan creations there. You can check out the fan level, HERE

Survivor Reborn's New Look

Jennifer and the Survivor Reborn team changed their site banner colours on social media with the rainbow flag overlaying their logo. They also called back to last year's celebrations which included a pride-themed podcast episode with special guests Jackie Wu and Fabi. It's always great to hear from the team and the special guests! If you haven't already, you can listen to episode five, HERE!

JarCup's Tomb Raider Pride Artwork

JarCup, the talented creator behind the Floof and Sport comic series was back with another new piece for Pride! The artwork features Lara Croft in a mix of the old and new; wearing a rainbow vest and sporting some impressive muscle definition. The image is also available to buy at JarCup's Redbubble store as a t-shirt, phone case, mug, travel cup, or as a sticker.

Tom Clement's LGBTQ+ Tomb Raider Analysis

For Pride, Tom Clement posted a throw back to an article he had written (and which remains one of his favourite pieces) in 2016 exploring the LGBTQ+ themes in Tomb Raider. For the piece, he also interviewed fellow Tomb Raider fan and webmaster, Stella of Stella's Tomb Raider walkthroughs:

Lara Croft is one of the world’s most recognisable video game characters, with 2016 being her twentieth birthday. She has the largest collection of Guinness World Records (six of them), transferred from the game screen to the big screen, and was hailed as an example of the British tech industry by Lord Salisbury in the House of Lords. Yes, the House of Lords, I’d like to see Mario or Sonic do that. She’s been promoted as a feminist icon and has been criticised as an unrealistic expectation of male fantasy. And if new reports are to be believed, she is gay as well. You can read Tom's full article, HERE

Miyah "Rainbow Trail" Semi-Throwback

Artist Miyah returned to an older comic for a semi-throwback too! In the comic, Lara discovers that by moving, she leaves a rainbow glow in her wake. The bright colours in the panels mirrors the pride flag, with the style of it mirroring the Rise of the Tomb Raider "rainbow trail" card. (Which was, without a doubt, one of the best cards to have in play!) There's a wonderful balance of colour in the piece with the minimalist design but then the sudden explosion of colour. It's a very cute comic to celebrate the month!

Chris' Tomb Raider-Themed Collage 

One of the earliest pieces that I stumbled across celebrating pride month was by Chris, also known as @illucifer on Twitter, who created this gorgeous flag out of promotional renders of the games. I love the creativity, the use of the colours, and how it represents each version of Lara in one collage. It's a really beautiful piece!

Lara's Diary's New Avatar

Last but not least, is Lara's Diary who changed their profile picture for Pride month to celebrate what they called "reflection, love and solidarity". The image they put up is gorgeous, with Lara's silhouette over the pride flag, but I particularly love how it's a small gesture to show inclusivity and celebrate with the community, but it helps so much to make the fandom more welcoming.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

During the XBOX E3 Media Briefing, Microsoft announced the XBOX Game Pass for PC, a new monthly subscription service for PC gamers!

While currently in beta mode, members will have access to over 100 games from 75 studios.

While it's a limited list so far, XBOX have promised that more titles will be regularly added, creating an ever-growing list. For Tomb Raider fans, there is one title that will be of interest already on the starting collection; Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is the second in Crystal Dynamics' rebooted trilogy which began in 2013. The title was launch in 2015 initially on XBOX One and XBOX 360 in November 2015, and later came to PS4 in October 2016 in a special release entitle, "Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20th Year Celebration Edition". The game's strengths have been credited to its realistic graphics, an increase in tomb exploration compared to its predecessor, and a selection of stunning DLC packs allowing for further exploration after the credits roll. 
With an introductory price of £3.99 per month (usually £7.99), a trial can be purchased for just £1. For those interested in the subscription, a Windows 10 OS is required.

If you also own an XBOX One, you can buy the XBOX Game Pass Ultimate: which combines XBOX Game Pass for Console, XBOX Live Gold, and XBOX Games Pass for PC.

You can find out further details about the XBOX Game Pass for PC, HERE.

Included in the list of games for XBOX Games Pass for PC are:
ABZU, Apocalipsis, ARK: Survival Evolved, ASTRONEER, Battle Chasers: Nightwar, Battle Chef Brigade, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada, Bomber Crew, Book of Demons, Bridge Constructor Portal, Broforce, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Clustertruck, Crackdown 3, CrossCode, Die of Valhalla, Disneyland Adventures, Everspace, Fez, Football Manager 2019, Forzia Horizon 4, Full Metal Furies, Gear of War 4, Gears Ultimate, Guacamelee! 2, Halo Wars 2, Halo: Spartan Strike, Halo: Spartan Assault, Hatoful Boyfriend, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Hello Neighbour, Hollow Knight, Hotline Miami, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Imperator: Rome, Into the Breach, Kingsway, Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Metal Slug X, Metro Exodus, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, Moonlighter, Mutant Year Zero, Neon Chrome, Old Man’s Journey, Operencia: The Stolen Sun, Opus Magnum, Ori & the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition, Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You, Oxenfree, Pony Island, ReCore: Definitive Edition, RiME, Riptide GP: Renegade, Rise of Nations, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Riverbond, Ruiner, Rush: A DisneyPixar Adventure, Samorost 3, Sea of Thieves, Shenmue 1&2, Silence - The Whispered World 2, SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption, Slay the Spire, Smoke and Sacrifice, Snake Pass, Spintires: MudRunner, State of Decay 2, Stealth Inc 2, SteamWorld Dig 2, Sunset Overdrive PC, Super Lucky’s Tale, SUPERHOT, Supermarket Shriek, Surviving Mars, Tacoma, The Banner Saga, The Banner Saga 2, The Flame in the Food, The Gardens Between, The Last Door: Season 2, The Messenger, The Stillness of the Wind, The Surge, The Turing Test, Thimbleweed Park, Thumper, Titan Quest Anniversary Edition, Tyranny - Gold Edition, Valkyria Chronicles, Vampyr, Void Bastards, Wandering, Wargroove, Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut, We Happy Few, West of Loathing, Wizard of Legend, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Zoo Tycoon.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Last year, Her Universe teamed up with Square Enix to produce a new Tomb Raider-themed clothing line, described as the online store's first gaming-inspired collection. For the collection, they teamed up with cosplayer, Hannah Kent, who took inspirations from aspects of the classic and modern Tomb Raider interpretations.

While the clothing line was more affordable for fans, with items priced between $25-95, a significant difference compared to other official merchandise released during that time, it is still a quite an expense. For those who liked the pieces but found them to be too pricey when they were announced, Hot Topic currently has a sale on currently, reducing the costs for ALL Tomb Raider-inspired pieces.

The cheapest item is the "Training To Take On A T-Rex" teal tank top costing just $8, with the majority of the rest of the line marked at 20% off. The more expensive end of the collection costs, the jackets, are around $42-67, but comes with a surprising "Buy One Get One $1" deal.

You can check out the full Tomb Raider line-up on Hot Topic, HERE

The Her Universe lineup features five fantastic outfits including tank tops, yoga pants, jackets, and sports bras. The collection went live in September 2018, ahead of Shadow of the Tomb Raider's launch.

Following its reveal, Hannah spoke a little about her work on the project on her Facebook cosplay page, describing it as being "near and dear" to her heart. "I remember my dad bringing home the very first Tomb Raider game back in the 90s. He put it on his PC and he, my brother and I would sit for hours every night playing together. It was one of my biggest motivators to finish my homework!"

"Over the years I’ve returned to the franchise several times, even replaying all the old games because of how wonderful they are. I’ve also absolutely loved the new vision that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have brought to Lara’s story in the new games. I definitely can’t wait for the release of Shadow of the Tomb Raider next week either!" She adds, "getting the chance to do this collection and share my love of this incredible franchise with so many other amazing fans has been such a dream come true and an incredible blessing. I love what I’ve been able to create with Her Universe and hope that others will love it too. Thank you to Ashley at Her Universe for this opportunity and Meagan Marie at Crystal Dynamics for always supporting and believing in me! I’m truly grateful and can not thank you all enough."

In addition to her work with Her Universe, Hannah was also the Official Tomb Raider Cosplay Ambassador at the Shadow of the Tomb Raider reveal event in Montreal, and created the cosplay patterns for the Shadow of the Tomb Raider tank top.