Tomb Raider Timeline

The following history pertains only to the major releases in the video game series. For info about the Tomb Raider movies, novels, comics, animated series, etc., please see the Links section below. This page contains spoilers. So if you haven't played all of the games, be warned.

Note that this timeline does not attempt to reconcile the contradictory biographies established by the series' two developers: Core Design (1996-2003) and Crystal Dynamics (2006-present). My Introduction to the Tomb Raider Series gives a brief overview of each game. For detailed plot summaries, visit WikiRaider and Wikipedia.

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Lara Croft: Vital Statistics

Birth Date: February 14
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London, England
Title: Countess of Abbingdon
Residence: Croft Manor, Surrey, England
Blood Type: AB-
Height: 5' 9" / 1.75 m
Weight: 130 pounds / 59 kilo
Measurements: 34D-24-35 / 86-61-89
Hair Color: Brunette/Auburn
Eye Color: Brown
Marital Status: Single
Parents: Richard Henshingly Croft, 10th Earl of Abbingdon (father); Amelia Croft, Countess of Abbingdon (mother), both deceased

 

Note: The information above comes from Lara's original 1996 biography, which has been revised several times over the years. She's now younger, shorter, has sort of grayish eyes, and while her deceased parents are still called Richard and Amelia, the backstory has been rearranged somewhat. Stay tuned for updates. ;)

The Evolution of Lara Croft

The Evolution of Lara Croft by Rivendell (with 2013 Lara added by me). Click to enlarge.



Lara's History

Tomb Raider Timeline

Tomb Raider Timeline from Crystal Dynamics. (click to enlarge) See Game Chronology below for details.

February 14, 1968 – Lara Croft born Parkside Hospital, Wimbledon, London (original biography)[1]

– OR –

? 1992 - Lara Croft born. Location unknown. (Crystal 2013 Reboot)[1]

Ages 3-11 – Lara received instruction from a private tutor. (Core)[2]

Ages 3-6 – Lara attended Abbingdon Girls School (Crystal)[3]

Age 9 – Lara and her mother, Amelia, were involved in a plane crash in the Himalayas, after which Lara's mother vanished under mysterious circumstances. (Crystal)[3]

Ages 10-15 – Lara accompanied her father on various expeditions. (Crystal)[3]

Age 11 – Lara explored a haunted island off the coast of Ireland. (Black Isle levels TRC)[4]

Age 15 – Lara's father disappeared in Cambodia. (Crystal)[3]

Ages 11-16 – Lara attended Wimbledon High School for Girls. (Core)[2]

Age 16 – Lara accompanied Werner Von Croy to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, to retrieve the Iris. (TRLR)[2]

Age 16? – Lara infiltrated a Russian military base attempting to retrieve an artifact called the Spear of Destiny. (TRC)[5]

Ages 16-18 – Lara attended Gordonstoun Boarding School in Scotland.

Ages 18-21 – Lara attended an exclusive Swiss finishing school. (Core)[2]

Age 21 – On the way home from a skiing trip, Lara's chartered plane crashed in the Himalayas, leaving her the only survivor. After a 2-week trek through the wilderness, she returned to civilization a deeply changed person. She has since devoted her life to solitary exploration and adventure. (Core)[2]

Age 21? – Lara visited Rome in search of the Philosopher's Stone. (TRC)[6]

– OR –

Ages 18-21 – Lara attended college, where she became friends with Amanda Evert. During this time, Amanda was trapped at an archaeological dig site in Peru. Although her remains were never recovered, she was presumed dead. (TRL)[3]

– OR –

Age 21 – While searching for a legendary lost island off the coast of Japan, the vessel on which Lara is traveling is destroyed, leaving her shipwrecked. The young relic hunter becomes the hunted as she struggles to survive. (Crystal 2013 Reboot)[7]

Age 22 or 23 – Presumably the following year, Lara traveled to Syria and Siberia in search of the lost city of Kitezh and the Divine Source. (Crystal Reboot: Rise of the Tomb Raider)

? – After being disowned by her family, Lara inherited a mansion in Surrey from a great aunt. (Core)[8]

?? – Since Lara's father's body was never recovered, a family feud over the Croft title and lands ensued. Lara eventually won the legal battle but as a result is now estranged from her relatives. (Crystal)[9]

? – Lara's first globe-spanning adventure involved the search for a mysterious artifact called the Scion. (TR1/TRA) [6]

? – Lara returned to Egypt and Atlantis. (TRUB)

? – Lara hunted for the fabled Dagger of Xian. (TR2)

? – Lara visited Alaska to find the Mask of Tornarsuk. (TRGM)

? – Lara traveled the world in search of four artifacts forged from an ancient meteorite. (TR3)

? – After learning of the existence of a fifth meteorite artifact, Lara set out to recover it. (TRLA)

27 – Lara sneaked into Von Croy Industry headquarters to steal the Iris artifact from her old mentor. (TRC)[10]

31 – On another visit to Egypt, Lara accidentally released the entombed spirit of the evil god, Set, and had to re-imprison him in order to avert a worldwide cataclysm. At the end of this adventure, Lara was trapped in a collapsed temple and presumed dead. (TRLR)[11]

31 – Lara's friends gathered at Croft Manor to mourn her loss. Meanwhile, in Egypt, Werner Von Croy attempted to find Lara, dead or alive. (TRC)[5]

? – Werner Von Croy was murdered and Lara became a suspect. In order to clear her name, Lara sought to discover the real killer. In the process, she came up against a sinister cabal and joined forces with another young adventurer, Kurtis Trent, to foil the cabal's evil plot. (TRAOD)

?? – Lara searched for the fragments of a sword rumored to be King Arthur's weapon, Excalibur, in the hope that it would help her locate her mother, who disappeared when Lara was a child. Amanda Evert, an acquaintance from Lara's college days, who had also vanished under mysterious circumstances, reappeared. She was also searching for this legendary weapon, though for different reasons. (TRL)

?? – Lara continued to pursue the truth behind her mother's disappearance. Following leads left by her father, she sought a set of artifacts—the gauntlets, belt, and hammer belonging to the Norse god Thor—which Lara hoped would enable her to gain entrance to a mystical underworld where she believed her mother was imprisoned. (TRU)

?? – Lara returned to the ruins of Croft Manor (destroyed in TRU) to locate a powerful artifact her father had hidden there. She encountered the doppelgänger created by Natla (in TR1/TRA) and enlisted her to help finish Natla once and for all...perhaps. (BTA/LS)

Tomb Raider World Map

Tomb Raider World Map

This map shows the locations of each of Lara's major adventures. Click to enlarge. Visit the Wikipedia Tomb Raider page for more information about the series.

Game Chronology

The following is a list of all Tomb Raider games to date. Only initial release dates are included. Re-releases and ports to other systems, such as the Macintosh, iOS, and Android releases, are not listed here. For details about each game, see the Introduction to the Tomb Raider Series.

October 1996 - Tomb Raider

October 1997 - Tomb Raider II: Starring Lara Croft

March 1998 - "Unfinished Business" and "Shadow of the Cat" free bonus levels for TR1

November 1998 - Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft

June 1999 - "The Golden Mask" free bonus levels for TR2

November 1999 - Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation

December 1999 - The Times exclusive free bonus level for TR4

March 2000 - Tomb Raider: The Lost Artifact stand-alone expansion for TR3

June 2000 - Tomb Raider  (Game Boy Color)

November 2000 - Tomb Raider Chronicles and the Tomb Raider Level Editor

July 2001 - Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword  (Game Boy Color)

November 2002 - Tomb Raider: The Prophecy  (Game Boy Advance)

December 2002 - Tomb Raider for Pocket PC

June 2003 - Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness

October 2003 - Tomb Raider for Nokia N-Gage

November 2003 - Tomb Raider: The Osiris Codex  (Java mobile)

September 2004 - Tomb Raider: The Quest for Cinnabar  (Java mobile)

September 2004 - Tomb Raider: Elixir of Life  (Java mobile)

April 2006 - Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend

June 2006 - Lara Croft's Poker Party  (Java mobile)

July 2006 - Tomb Raider: Puzzle Paradox  (Java mobile)

November 2006 – Tomb Raider: Legend  (Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS)

November 2006 - Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Action Adventure  (DVD)

December 2006 – Tomb Raider: Legend  (Java mobile)

June 2007 - Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary

December 2007 - Tomb Raider: Anniversary  (Java mobile)

November 2008 - Tomb Raider: Underworld

December 2008 - Tomb Raider: Underworld  (2D and 3D Java mobile)

February 2009 - "Beneath the Ashes" expansion for TRU (Xbox 360)

March 2009 - "Lara's Shadow" expansion for TRU (Xbox 360)

August 2010 - Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

December 2014 – Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

March 2013 – TOMB RAIDER

May 2015 - Lara Croft Relic Run (mobile)

August 2015 - Lara Croft GO (PC/mobile/tablet)

November 2015 – Rise of the Tomb Raider (XBox One and 360. PC & PS4 in 2016.)

There have also been several web-based Flash games as well as a number of Tomb Raider-themed video slot machines, which were later translated into mobile and web-based games. These are not covered here.


Lara Croft Voice and Motion Capture Actors

Shelley Blond
Shelley Blond
(voice 1996)
listenIMDB
Judith Gibbins
Judith Gibbins
(voice 1997-98)
listenIMDB
Jonell Elliott
Jonell Elliott
(voice 1999-2003)
listenIMDB
Keeley Hawes
Keeley Hawes
(voice 2006-2008 and LCTOO 2014)
listenIMDB
Minnie Driver
Minnie Driver
(Re\Visioned Tomb Raider animated series 2007)YouTube
Heidi Moneymaker
Heidi Moneymaker
(motion capture 2008)
YouTube
Dana Reed
Dana Reed
(motion capture 2008)
IMDB
Chrissy Weathersby Ball
Chrissy Weathersby Ball
(motion capture 2008)
IMDB
Camilla Luddington
Camilla Luddington
(voice and motion capture 2011+)
listenIMDB


Ten Years of Tomb Raider: A GameTap Retrospective

This 42-minute documentary, featuring a brief history of all things Tomb Raider, ran in nine installments on GameTap.com in the spring of 2007. It was also included on a bonus DVD with the Tomb Raider: Anniversary Collector's Edition. Keeley Hawes, the voice of Lara in Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, narrates.


Game Trailers Tomb Raider Retrospective

This three-part, 50-minute documentary looks back on the series in the run-up to the 2013 reboot.

Notes and Credits


PHOTO CREDITS:

Shelley Blond - spotlight.com

Judith Gibbins - goodcomps.com

Jonell Elliott - fanpix.net

Keeley Hawes - keeley-hawes.com

Minnie driver - minniedriver.net

Heidi Moneymaker - facebook.com

Dana Reed - v10stunts.com

Chrissy Weathersby Ball - chrissyweathersbyball.com

Camilla Luddington - Photo courtesy of Crystal Dynamics

Audio icon by Tonev




REFERENCES:

(1) Lara's original biography lists her birth year as 1968. The same date appears on her tombstone in the Chronicles trailer video. Apparently the developers didn't foresee how long the series would endure. Later biographies didn't mention the year, enabling our heroine to remain forever young. With the reboot of the series in 2013, Lara's age was reset at 21. So presumably she was born around 1992.

(2) The biography created by the developers at Core Design described Lara's early education and upbringing. It was later expanded to incorporate additional backstory in TR: The Last Revelation.

(3) When Crystal Dynamics took over development for TR: Legend, Lara's history was revised. (See below for links to Lara's original and revised bios.)

(4) According to WikiRaider's well-researched timeline, Lara's adventure in Ireland took place after her trip to Cambodia with Von Croy. The Official Tomb Raider Files, written by Core Design's Susie Hamilton, and the Tomb Raider Chronicles video trailer (referenced below in #5) both list the Irish story first.

(5) The official preview video trailer for Chronicles (available on YouTube) gives the 1968 birth date for Lara. It also dates the flashback episodes in that game as follows: VCI - 1995, Rome - 1989, Russia - 1984, Ireland - 1979. It seems unlikely that Lara single-handedly infiltrated a Russian military base at age 16, but this is what the developers would have us believe. The Official TR Files book places the Russian adventure between Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider 2, which seems more reasonable.

(6) It is unclear whether Lara's adventure in Rome in Chronicles occurred before or after the events in the original Tomb Raider. In Rome, when Lara is supposedly 21 (see note 5), she seems to be acquainted with Larson and Pierre, who also appeared in Tomb Raider, and she apparently kills both men in both games. The Official Tomb Raider Files is no help here. On its world map page, the note on Rome says: "Here she meets her old enemies Larson and Pierre..." but the book's timeline page refers to Rome as "Lara's first solo adventure" and lists it before the events in Tomb Raider. So perhaps she met them before the events in either game.

(7) In TOMB RAIDER, released in 2013, instead of a plane crash Lara survives a shipwreck and must fight for survival on a remote island.

(8) The events marked with a ? are from the Core Design timeline and are ordered according to The Official Tomb Raider Files. In some cases this sequence differs from the WikiRaider timeline. Lara's exact age at the time of these events is unknown.

(9) The events marked with a '??' are from the Crystal Dynamics timeline. Again, Lara's exact age for each event is unknown.

(10) According to The Official Tomb Raider Files, the VCI HQ adventure in Chronicles occurred after Tomb Raider 2 & 3, yet Lara has the Iris artifact in her trophy room in Tomb Raider 2. Contradictions abound!

(11) The Chronicles trailer video gives 1999 as the year Lara disappeared at the end of The Last Revelation, the same year the game was released in real time.




SOURCES & OTHER LINKS:

Hamilton, Susie. The Official Tomb Raider Files. London: Carlton Books, Ltd., 2001.

Personal correspondence with Brian Chew of the Tomb Raiders Traveler's Guide and the late Kerrie Reay, of MacRaider, who encouraged me years ago to finish this page. I'm sorry she couldn't be here to see it. I miss you, K.!

WikiRaider.com (great source for all things Tomb Raider)

Wikipedia: Tomb Raider and Wikipedia: Lara Croft

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_Raider#Canon (overview of contradictory bios)
http://www.wikiraider.com/index.php/Lara_Croft (original and Legend bios)
http://trinity.westhost.com/tomb/lara.html (slightly augmented original bio)
http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/lara/old_bio.html (original bio)
http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/lara/info.html (Legend bio)
Tomb Raider 2013 bio will be added when it becomes available