Toby Gard, the lead graphic artist for the original Tomb Raider, is credited with designing Lara Croft. His initial concept was for essentially a male Indiana Jones clone, but after going through several iterations, Gard was inspired when he noticed that many of his male coworkers would choose to play as the female characters in Virtua Fighter, so he decided to make the "leading man" a woman instead. She was planned as a South American named Laura Cruz, but this was later changed to a British woman whose name was selected from a phone book.
Lara Croft is an intelligent, highly athletic adventurer and archaeologist who travels the world in search of hidden treasures, frequently facing off against dinosaurs, mercenaries, grave robbers, and other dangers. She is always presented as the daughter of an English noble family; however, three similar but slightly contradictory versions of Lara's youth have been presented over the course of the series.
- The first was described in the manual for the original Tomb Raider. Lara Croft was the daughter of the British aristocrat Lord Henshingly Croft. Until the age of 21, she was raised in luxury with all her needs provided for, but during a flight over the Himalayan mountains her plane crashed and she was the sole survivor. She was forced to learn to survive on her wits and instincts, and eventually found her way home. This experience showed her a better way to live, outside the comforts of nobility. She decided to become an adventurer and travel the world, but her family disowned her for this choice.
- In Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Lara gains her interest in archeology much earlier in her life, at the age of 6. She was the apprentice to the famed archaeologist Werner Von Croy as they trekked through Cambodia. It was never stated if this story simply happened before the plane crash described in the original Tomb Raider.
- During Tomb Raider: Legend, Lara's back story was told through several in-game flashbacks. In this continuity, the plane crash occurred at age 9. At this, Lara's mother Amelia Croft vanished without a trace and was presumed dead. Ten days later Lara found her way to Kathmandu, where she managed to contact her father, Richard Croft, who was an archaeologist himself. After the death of her mother, Lara spent her days with her father, following him on his expeditions around the world, in an attempt to discover the reason for her mother's disappearance. Her father died when she was 18, under mysterious circumstances, after which she inherited the Croft estate and the title of "Countess of Abbingdon." She continues the ways of her father, traveling the world to discover the reasons for her parents death.
Popularity and Criticism
Lara Croft is one of the more popular video game characters, and in addition to the game series, has appeared in comic books, feature-length movies, animated shorts, and novels. She has been listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "most successful human video game heroine". Because of her popularity, her portrayal both in the games and in media campaigns has come under scrutiny.
Although she is usually recognized as a strong female character, there has been consistent criticism as well; specifically, that she has unrealistic body proportions and that depictions of her frequently emphasize her sexuality, making her more of a sex object for men than a role model for women. This has been addressed more recently, with the practice of using models dressed as Croft for PR events being discontinued, and a full body redesign for the upcoming reboot. When Crystal Dynamics took over the series for Tomb Raider: Legend, they said Lara would be scaled back, specifically in her previously comical breast size.
Trivia (subject to change with reboot)
- Official title: Countess of Abbingdon
- Birthday: 14 February 1968, Wimbledon, London
- Nationality: British
- Residence: Croft Manor, Buckinghamshire
- Astrological sign: Aquarius
- Marital Status: Single
- Blood Type: AB-
- Height 175 cm (5' 9")
- Weight 8 st 3 lb (52 kg, 115 lb)
- Bust size: 34D (since Tomb Raider Legend)
- Hips: 35"
- Waist: 24"
- Hair color: Auburn
- Eye color: brown
- Dress size: 8
- Shoe size: 9.5
- Favorite Food: Beans on toast