The Brian Lara Cricket franchise dates back to 1994 when the first game, simply titled Brian Lara Cricket, was a simple cricket sim originally released for DOS
. Developed by Audiogenic Software Ltd.
and published by Codemasters
, the game was re-released the following year for the Sega Mega Drive
(Genesis in the United States) and Commodore Amiga. The game proved to be a success in the United Kingdom, spending ten weeks at the top of the games charts over the summer. This was probably due to the amount of content the game offered; players were able to choose from a One-Day International or a Test match, and offered multiplayer support for up to four players. In 1996, the franchise released its second game in the form of Brian Lara Cricket '96. This updated version featured squad updates for that year's cricket season, as well as including the ability to play as English county teams.
The series moved into full 3D for the first time with its third title, Brian Lara Cricket '99
. Developed and published by Codemasters, the game was released on PC and Sony's PlayStation console in 1998. Besides the obvious change to three-dimensional graphics, BLC99 was recognised for its use of in-game commentary
. The game offered a multitude of new modes to players beyond the ODI and Test matches; the option to play a Friendly match was added, as was the chance to practise using the game's Net Training feature. Among the other new game modes were the World Cup and World Challenge modes (both different kinds of One-Day International tournaments) and the Test Season, which allowed players to embark on up to seven years of touring Test matches with the nation of their choice. Perhaps the most notable additions, though, were the classic matches; famous scenarios from the sport's past, challenging the player to either repeat or rewrite cricket history by completing challenges. The game was marketed as Shane Warne Cricket in Australia.
The next Brian Lara game did not see release for another seven years. Brian Lara International Cricket 2005
was developed by Swordfish Studios
and released for PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC on July 21st 2005 - the first day of that year's Ashes series. It stayed faithful to its predecessor in terms of gameplay, instead focusing on refining the existing features and bringing some new ones to the table. The most obvious of these is the inclusion of the Hawkeye ball tracking system within the game, giving players another means to explore the statistical aspect of the sport. Unlike the three games before it, BLIC2005 did not feature full licensing for all of its game modes. While the 2003 World Cup and 2004 Champions Trophy featured licensed players, kits and stadia, the remainder of its modes contained players with misspelt names similar to those found in the early Pro Evolution Soccer
games. As well as the aforementioned tournaments, BLIC2005 featured ODI and Test match modes, a new roster of classic matches and a simplistic player editing suite. The game featured a lot of unlockable content, including a Classic XI team featuring notable names from the sport's past including W.G. Grace and Donald Bradman. The game was released in Australia and New Zealand under the title Ricky Ponting Cricket.
In March 2007, in conjunction with that year's Cricket World Cup, Brian Lara International Cricket 2007
was released for the PS2, Xbox 360 and PC. Essentially an updated version of the 2005 game, BLIC2007 features updated player rosters, statistics and tournaments. As with BLIC2005, the game lacks full licensing, which is once again restricted to the World Cup and Champions Trophy modes. The game also lacks the classic matches present in the series' last two incarnations. In their place is the ability to create a custom team of up to 15 original players and online play for the X360 and PC versions of the game. A PSP version of BLIC2007, titled Brian Lara 2007 Pressure Play
, was released later in the year. This portable release featured the 2007 Cricket World Cup competition, as well as a number of "Pressure Play" challenges tasking the player with completing specific goals usually within a short timeframe.