In June 2012, I talked Tomb Raider with CJ Marion from the Globetrotter fan site.
How and when did you get into Tomb Raider?
It's kind of silly actually, but I rescued my first Tomb Raider game from a wastepaper bin, if you can believe it! My husband got a copy from a friend who'd just finished playing it. That was around January or February of 1997. He got stuck at the timed run across the fire pillars in the Palace Midas level and got so frustrated that he literally threw the game in the garbage. The next day I pulled it out and decided to give it a try. I wasn't about to start from that part, though. So I went back to the beginning. Midway through the first level I was hooked, and I've played every Tomb Raider game I could get my hands on since.
If you invented Tomb Raider, how would you feel?
First, I'd be extremely proud. It's a wonderful series with so many gorgeous, exciting settings and wild storylines. I'd probably also feel a bit weary—as I imagine Toby Gard does sometimes—what with people constantly bringing it up. He's tried to move on and do other things, but of course people just won't let up about Lara. ;)
How would you feel if Tomb Raider was adapted into an anime/manga?
Well, if American comics and cartoons count as anime/manga, it already has been done. Top Cow has a Tomb Raider comic series with 50 issues plus various special editions and crossovers, and there's a 10-episode cartoon called Re\Visioned: Tomb Raider that aired on GameTap in 2007. (You can find it on YouTube.) If by anime/manga you mean strictly the Japanese forms, I'm not sure if it's been done, but I think it would be awesome. The more Tomb Raider the better!
If Tomb Raider ever finished, would you try to carry it on with a team of your own?
No. I'd miss it, certainly, but I don't have any expertise in game design, programming, art, marketing, etc. If the series ever did end, I'm sure many fans would continue to carry on, and I'd certainly try to do my part in other ways, maybe by doing walkthroughs or helping to promote fan-created content.
There's already a huge level editor community making games based on the classic Core Design game engine. It would be super if Crystal Dynamics eventually released a level editor too, but even if they don't, I won't be at all surprised if Tomb Raider fandom continues long after the official series is over. Lara Croft is such an amazing character, and planet Earth is such a big place, that her adventures could go on for a very long time.
Which company is/was better at making TR games out of Core Design, Crystal Dynamics or Square Enix?
So far Square hasn't actually makde any Tomb Raider games. They're just the parent company of Crystal Dynamics, the current developer. I don't think either Core or Crystal is better. They both have their strong points and things they don't (or didn't) do as well. Also, the games each company has produced are clearly products of their time. For example, the Core Design games were limited by the technology of the late '90s and early 2000's, but their designers came up with amazingly creative puzzles and level designs that took full advantage of the tools they had. Crystal has more advanced technology at their disposal, so they're able to make their games more graphically gorgeous and give Lara a larger range of motion. They've also done a great job of creating more realistic characters and more elaborate plots, though their puzzles and level designs aren't quite as creative as Core's, in my opinion.
Do you think Lara will ever have a kid?
I have no idea what Crystal has planned for her, but the Lara who lives in my imagination is not a mother. She may have a few regrets on that point, but I think she prefers her active, globe-trotting lifestyle and would not drag a young child along with her—or leave a kid at home while she went out into harm's way.
Would you ever adopt Katie Fleming if you wanted because she's amazing !!!??? (That's sooooo random, you don't have to answer that!!!)
I adore Katie and have since she was a teenager and we first met online. I think she's a little too old to adopt at this point—plus she already has parents, and I already have a son—but perhaps in an alternate universe that might have happened. ;)
What's your favourite Tomb Raider game?
Well, there are some parts I enjoy and some I dislike in every game. But if I had to choose, I'd say it's a tie between TR1 and Anniversary. The first game is the one that got me hooked, so I'll always have a soft spot for it. Anniversary is like a fancier version of that same story. It's my favorite of the new games. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light isn't technically a TR game, but I think it's just brilliant.
Who's your favourite villain in the Tomb Raider series?
Natla. By far. Always. She's a complex and interesting character, and the voice actors who've played her have both done a great job making her both loathsome and intriguing.
Jacqueline Natla in Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider: Anniversary. Image: Wikiraider.
What's your favourite Lara quote?
In The Last Revelation, when Jean-Yves says, "Good luck, Lara. I fear you may need it," and Lara replies, "I make my own luck." I believe this is true in life, and I admire Lara's take-charge attitude. She's not just going to sit around waiting for something to happen to her; she's going to make it happen.
What would you do if you never knew about Lara and Tomb Raider?
Oh, I don't know. I'd probably be addicted to World of Warcraft or some other online fantasy game. I was always big into Dungeons & Dragons as a teenager, so I'd probably have followed that path to its ultimate, addictive conclusion.
What's you opinion on Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness?
It's my least favorite of the Core Design games, but even so, I enjoyed many parts of it. For me, even my least favorite Tomb Raider games—Angel of Darkness and Legend—are still better than most of the other games out there. I though AOD had a great storyline, and if it had been finished before it was released, I think it would have been much more impressive than it turned out to be. I still wish that Core could have finished it and made a sequel or even the trilogy they had originally planned.
What's your opinion on Tomb Raider 2013?
I'm pretty excited about it, though I do have some concerns as well. I'm not bothered by the idea of a reboot, as some long-time fans seem to be. I don't like the young Lara we've seen so far, but the whole point of the game is to show how she evolves into an action heroine. As long as it's handled well and believably, I'm OK with that.
My main concern is the change to a Mature rating. I tend to shy away from games that are too violent, and the scene in the "Crossroads" trailer where Lara has to escape from that creepy guy was not something I'd normally want to play at all. But I know that's just one scene in a larger story. So I'm trying to keep an open mind an focus on the positives.
The scenery looks awesome. The skill system and hubs for fast travel sound cool. I'm hoping there will be lots of challenging puzzles, goodies to find and combine, and it would be fun if there were also some artifacts, relics, and such, but the developers haven't really said much about those things yet. Still, they keep talking about how the game touches on all the aspects of the classic games we've come to enjoy—puzzle solving, platforming and combat—so, yeah, I'm optimistic.