Saturday 30 October 2021

To mark twenty-five years since the launch of the original Tomb Raider game, Daryl Baxter has written a book examining what went into the creation of Lara's debut adventure. Excitingly, the highly anticipated, "The Making of Tomb Raider" book launches today.

Published by White Owl, the unofficial record explores the process behind Lara's debut adventure from the pitch to designing the sequel. For the book, Daryl spoke to over twenty individuals including Shelley Blond, Ian Livingstone, Jeremy Heath Smith, Mike Schmitt, Susie Hamilton, Heather Stevens, Gavin Rummary, Nathan McCree and many more, to record the history of the original game's development.

If you want to learn more about "The Making of Tomb Raider", we highly recommend checking out Raidercast's interview, HERE! It's a really wholesome conversation between two passionate fans. There's also an exclusive excerpt on the Radio Times website, HERE

The 144 page book is available now through Pen & Sword Books for £20 (introductory offer).

Source: @darylbaxter

Official Synopsis: 

Back in 1994 at the game company CORE Design' in Derby, Lara Croft was born. Through eighteen months of pure hard work from the team, Tomb Raider was released in 1996 and became the success that we see today; taking part in the mid-nineties celebrations of Brit-Pop and Girl Power. This is the story of the team who were involved in creating the first two games, then leaving the series to a new team in 1998. Lara Croft brought class, comedy, and a James Bondian role to the game, dreamt up by Toby Gard and helped to become a pitch with Paul Douglas. The game was a gamble, but because everyone at the company believed in it, it led to huge success for everyone, except for Toby and Paul. The Making of Tomb Raider' goes into detail of how Lara and the games were born, alongside why Toby Gard and Paul Douglas left before the sequel was released. Throughout eleven chapters of countless interviews, this book will tell you who was responsible for creating the first two games; from its levels, its music, the many voices of Lara Croft, and much more. The team also reveals all about the star of the second game; Winston the Butler, and how he came to be by Joss Charmet. Over twenty people were interviewed for this story; from the pitch for what would be Tomb Raider, alongside the challenges along the way, up until the release of Tomb Raider 2 in 1997.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Celebrating twenty-five years of the franchise, "Tomb Raider: The Official Cookbook and Travel Guide" is now available!

Originally revealed in mid-March, the cookbook celebrates the adventure and diversity with culinary dishes from Lara's travels. There are forty recipes in total, including "power snacks for energy on the go, appetizers, entrees, drinks, desserts, and meals with franchise ties". Some of the revealed dishes include Ceviche from Peru, Kathi Rolls from India, and Beans on Toast from England.

Inspired by local cuisine, the recipes have been replicated by Tara Theoharis, the creator of The Geeky Hostess, and the author behind "The Minecrafter's Cookbook" and "Break an Egg! The Broadway Cookbook". The text is by Sebastian Haley and Meagan Marie, both very familiar names, with Meagan's name being a recent addition on the cover. The two also worked with Official Fansite Owners to create a travel guide, showcasing the best places to go while visiting their home countries.

"Tomb Raider: The Official Cookbook and Travel Guide" is available now, published by Insight Editions. 

Official Synopsis: 

Tomb Raider: The Official Cookbook and Travel Guide is a thrilling and delicious tutorial on recipes based on the cultural history of the many locations Lara Croft has visited throughout her 25 years of global adventures-bringing the taste back home to you.

Inspired by the hit Tomb Raider videogame franchise, this book features over 40 recipes from the many locations Lara Croft visits and explores across the globe, with food and drinks inspired by key characters and locations. Also included is expert information on the cultural history of the many beautiful cities and countries to which she travels. A global exploration, this unique cookbook and travel guide takes fans on an exclusive journey across the planet chasing the thrills and adventures of Lara Croft. Featuring beautiful full color photography as well as stunning art from the games, this is the ultimate gift for fans, travelers, and food aficionados alike.

Book Launch Trailer / Tara Thoeharis Trailer

Tuesday 19 October 2021

This month, Eidos Montréal and Eidos Sherbrooke announced on social media that they were shifting to a four day work week, allowing for a stronger work-life balance and, in the long term, better mental health.

Stating on their website, Eidos Montréal (the company behind Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex), revealed that the studios will be "officially closed on Fridays, without changing the working conditions currently in place nor the salaries of employees" bringing the working week down to thirty-two hours.

The decision was made in reaction to the pandemic with the statement going on to say that, "with remote working which has transformed the way we collaborate, we had already started an important cultural transition with the implementation of a rest period, access to a personal financial advisor, access to a telemedicine platform, reimbursement of mental health care and physical activity costs."

The aim is to allow employees to be able to disconnect from the stress of work, "the idea is not to condense the working hours into 4 days, but rather to review our ways of doing things and our quality time invested, with the aim of working better! Above all, we want to increase the productivity and well-being of our employees." As a side note, another change to schedules is one-hour meetings reduced to thirty minutes, allowing more time for effective collaborations and less time attending meetings.

You can read the full announcement, HERE!

Monday 18 October 2021

Crystal Dynamics recently wrapped up their celebrations of the Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld trilogy frequently referred to as "LAU". As October began, some of their final celebrations carried over from community articles on fanfilms and box artwork, to outfit designs, and livestreams, the latter revealing some interesting information about a future charity project.

Speaking during the Tomb Raider Underworld livestream, Meagan Marie (Director of Community at Crystal Dynamics) revealed that "everybody is going have a chance to buy prints of these for a charity initiative at the end of the year," but later added that, "it might be early January" due to the holidays posing potential delays.

At the moment, the team has located a potential printer, with the goal of delivering the full Tomb Raider 25 art range. "The hope is that we'll be able to offer all - it's going to be about fifteen prints - at a very affordable rate that will still allow us to make pretty darn big donations to the charity we're looking at." There are still five pieces of artwork left to be revealed; Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, and Angel of Darkness. The chosen charity and artwork bundles have yet to be announced.

Keep an eye out for further information about this charity initiative coming in the coming months!

Monday 11 October 2021

To celebrate twenty-five years of Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics have teamed up with a group of artists who would bring their own reimagined twist to the game covers we all love and grew up with. For October, we start a brand new trilogy with Tomb Raider (2013). To celebrate the game, the studio has teamed up with legendary artist, Yoshitaka Amano to recreate Lara in his own style.

Released in 2013, Tomb Raider is a darker reimagined take on Lara's origin story. While on a research mission searching for the lost island of Yamatai, the crew of the Endurance is shipwrecked and its crew must fight for survival on a deadly, strange land where believed mythological concepts are now real. The experience can be described as "raw" and "harsher" than what fans had seen before, a description that the artist conveys in his work too. For his work, Amano only paints and draws on canvas, making him one of the few artists using traditional techniques for the celebrations. 

With the piece, Yoshitaka Amano also spoke about his latest piece in an interview translated for the Tomb Raider 25 website. Congratulations on 25 years of Tomb Raider. When working on the world-famous game character Lara Croft, I thought about how to express her features as a Japanese artist. I decided to create a sumi-e (ink wash painting) atmosphere with a dignified Lara. I also added a cherry blossom petal treatment in the background. I hope game development teams and fans will all enjoy it."

Final additions were made to the final piece, the inclusion of the Tomb Raider logo by Franchise Art Director, Brenoch Adams.

You can learn more about Yoshitaka Amano and his work on the Tomb Raider 25 website, HERE

Sunday 10 October 2021

Today to mark World Mental Health Day, we wanted to talk about something a little different.

The internet and particularly social media have become a huge part of our everyday lives. Particularly over this past year, I don't think anyone could have really predicted how heavily we would come to rely on it, whether we are just checking the news/advice, catching up with friends, or using it for work. It can be an incredible force of good, but it also has the power to negatively impact our mental well-being.

2020 made a lot of us think about our "worth" as statistics or productivity. As remote working became the norm, it blurred the lines between home and work, reshaping our support structures and routines. Our worlds became reliant more than ever before on the internet for connection and direction. In a digital world, we are so focused on influencers, the dream of productivity, and our digital worth that we lose sight of things that really matter, such as our mental health. Before we can do good and do the things that we're happy and proud of, we need to make sure that we're okay. 

Naturally, if you have any concerns about your mental health, the best place to get advice is from your GP or local mental health organisation. Making that first step can feel daunting but you're not expected to know all the answers, just to know how you feel.

There are a number of groups that can help you understand mental health better, how to take steps to improve yours, and where to go if you need further advice...

Every Mind Matters

First up is Every Mind Matters, a project run by the NHS to help you pinpoint which areas of your life you want to improve (e.g better sleep) and how to get there by building your "Mind Plan". While the NHS is part of the healthcare system in England, the website doesn't look to be location-restricted, allowing you to start to create a free mental health plan wherever you are in the world. 

Start your Mind Plan, HERE!

Safe In Our World

Safe In Our World is a mental health charity focused on helping to spread awareness within the games industry. Video games can be an incredible source of escapism, but it's also an industry where crunch isn't uncommon for developers and so much of its presence is online. As well as featuring an extensive directory of mental health organisations, SIOW also offers training (including free mental health first aid training to Community Managers), and shares stories of mental health from those in the industry. 

You can learn more about Safe In Our World, HERE

Take This

Another mental health organisation situated in the games industry is Take This. As well as holding panels on mental health at conventions, they also set up the AFK Room which gives the gaming community an area to escape to when stressed or overwhelmed at expos. While the organisation is based in the US, its website is filled with research accessible anywhere in the world. 

Visit the Take This website, HERE.


Up next is Mind, an organisation that not only provides advice for people with mental health issues but also lobbies the government to make a greater impact on lives. While it's an England and Wales-based group, the advice they give is universal. Not only does it provide clarity into what worsen mental health (including societal issues), but also on how you can support others who are having a difficult time. 

Visit the Mind website, HERE!

WHO (World Health Organisation)

The final organisation that I wanted to spotlight is WHO, and chances are that after this past year you're already incredibly familiar with them if you weren't before. WHO has a fantastic page providing advice on how to deal with stress, depression, and feelings of suicide. 

Visit the WHO website, HERE

Thursday 30 September 2021

Make sure to check out Final Fantasy Brave Exvius this month as their Tomb Raider-themed collaboration has just begun, allowing players to summon Lara Croft -Neo Vision- for a limited time.

The first raid, "Tomb Raider: Lost Valley" has just gone live and will last until October 20th. The event will be split into three parts; the main raid with rewards upon completion, the daily battles with a familiar foe, and a new challenge called "Tomb Raider: The Great Pyramid". The latter will go ahead in the second week of the collaboration starting on September 7th, and successful players will obtain special event-exclusive items including the Scion.

There's also a vision card special called "A Dino-Mite Battle" featuring pixel artwork with Lara and her iconic T-Rex encounter. 

If you're interested in learning more, the Final Fantasy Brave Exvius YouTube Channel has published an extensive twenty-two-minute long video that explores all facets of the new update from Lara's bonuses to her equipment. You can check out the video below!