20 years of Tomb Raider: Rhianna Pratchett on Lara through the ages

by admin October 25, 2016 at 1:47 pm

It has been 20 years since the first Tomb Raider came out. Two decades of gaming that have been full of trends, new genres, old ideas and, in some areas, remarkably little change. 

It’s been twenty long years and yet E3 this year actually had fewer female protagonists in its showcase than the previous year – and that level of representation accounted for only 9 per cent of what was on show to begin with.

It might feel like we’re moving backwards, or like we haven’t made nearly as much progress as we should have, and perhaps that’s the case – but Lara Croft herself has come a long way in those 20 years, says Rhianna Pratchett, lead writer on the two most recent Tomb Raider games. 

“The way she’s marketed now is very characterful and strong, and it says a lot about her emotional and mental state,” says Pratchett.

“It was one of the things that attracted me to the project – not just their vision for Lara, but how she was being used.”

Rebooting an icon

Lara was first re-introduced to players in the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, in which she was shown as a vulnerable and emotionally complex character, in contrast to the sassier protagonist she was in the older games. This made a lot of people very angry – both people who weren’t interested in Lara’s emotional development and origins, and those who thought it was an unfair portrayal of a character that seemed so strong before.