Lara Croft is the titular character of the Tomb Raider franchise.
Debuting in 1996 under original developer Core Design, Lara Croft has attained massive popularity, and is considered by many to be among the most iconic, influential and important video game characters of all time.
Lara was created by Toby Gard.
Lara Croft is an English archaeologist, treasure hunter and tomb raider. Born to an aristocratic family, Lara is generally disinterested in upper class society, finding it stifling and boring. She takes far more interest in delving into the secrets of the past and finding what is believed to not even exist.
Lara's expeditions have led her to search for some of the most powerful and dangerous artifacts in the world as well as uncovering some of the most mysterious places in Earth's history.
Lara's exploits are legendary, even garnering a reputation, though occasionally that reputation is less than flattering.
Lara is often in race against time with those who seek the same relics she does for nefarious intentions. Lara has thwarted many groups and individuals who are incredibly well equipped or powerful, including crazed religious cults, mad scientists and even gods.
Lara will often lock up some of the more powerful relics in her manor, in order to keep them out of anyone's hands but her own and if the situation requires it, she may even destroy the artifact if need be.
Incarnations of Lara Croft
Throughout the years, Lara has existed in multiple universes ever since her debut. At present, there are eight official incarnations of Lara Croft.
- Lara Croft (Original Timeline) - Lara Croft from Core Design's first timeline of games and novels. Starting with Tomb Raider and ending with Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness.
- Lara Croft (Legend Timeline) - Lara Croft from Crystal Dynamics' first reboot starting in Tomb Raider: Legend. Also features in the Spin-off series.
- Lara Croft (Survivor Timeline) - Lara Croft from Crystal Dynamics' second reboot of games, starting with Tomb Raider, also features in the Dark Horse Comics.
- Lara Croft (Reloaded Timeline) - Lara Croft from a reloaded timeline where characters from multiple timelines appear.
- Lara Croft (Comic Timeline) - Lara Croft from the comics, Tomb Raider: The Series by Top Cow.
- Lara Croft (Journeys Timeline) - Lara Croft from Top Cow's alternate comic timeline, Tomb Raider: Journeys.
- Lara Croft (2001 Movie Timeline) - Lara Croft from the original movies.
- Lara Croft (2018 Movie Timeline) - Lara from the second movie timeline.
Though each incarnation of Lara is similar, each one does have unique attributes, there are several recurring story features and themes within the timelines.
- Lara's default attire usually consists of a tank top, shorts, socks, and combat boots. Usually with an aqua and brown color scheme.
- Lara almost always wears her hair in a ponytail or braid. Though she always styles the front differently.
- Lara's main choice of weaponry has usually been two pistols and a shotgun.
- Lara survived a plane crash. All timelines except the movies.
- Lara is stranded and must survive in the wilderness. All Timelines except the 2001 and 2003 movies.
- Lara's parents are deceased. All timelines, except the original.
- Lara works to support her expeditions. Original timeline and Survivor Timeline (Temporary).
- Lara is betrayed by a friend/colleague. All timelines except Journeys.
- Lara becomes an archaeologist because of her father. Legend, Survivor, Animated, and all Movie Timelines.
- Lara's Mentor dies. All timelines except the 2001 movies.
- Lara believes someone close to her dies, but they actually survive. All timelines except 2001 movies and animated.
When Tomb Raider was initially being developed, the game was set to star a character reminiscent of a mustachioed Indiana Jones, right down to attire. During development, the character was scrapped and a new character was created.
The original redesign lead to a South American Mercenary named, Laura Cruz, inspired by Swedish singer, Neneh Cherry and comic book heroine, Tank Girl. Core Design later decided to rename her to Lara and make her a hometown hero, and changed Lara's origin to England. Going through the phone book to find a name that sounded similar to the name they had, they found the name "Lara Croft" and renamed their character, as well as giving her an upper class upbringing.
Reception & Cultural Impact
Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider series currently have 6 official Guinness World Records, including "Best Selling Video Game Heroine."
Lara's popularity lead to her being adapted to other forms of media as well as being used in advertising for products such as Lucozade, a brand of energy drink, Seat cars, the Visa card and even a line of chocolate bars.
Lara garnered status as a sex symbol of gaming, leading to her being portrayed by various models for photo-shoots. However, this has lead to some backlash from feminist groups who took issue with Lara's sex appeal being used for marketing purposes, as well as by parental groups who objected to sexual content in video games.
In 2009 a ring road in Derby was named "Lara Croft Way" after the local council opened a vote to the public to decide the road's name. Lara Croft Way won the public vote with a landslide 89% of overall votes numbering over 27,000.
Lara had a star on the Walk of Game in San Francisco before the area was renovated.
Lara's classic attire of a tank top, shorts, and combat boots has become a recurring garb of female explorers within the genre, similar to how more classic movie heroes would wear a fedora and leather jacket, which is notably worn by the characters, David Jones in China, Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Harry Steele in The Secret of the Incas or Indiana Jones from the franchise of the same name.
- Lara's first name is often mispronounced as "Laura" by Americans.
- Lara's passport in the original timelines displays her middle name as "Amelia". This is the only timeline where her middle name is known. From the Legend Timeline onward, this was her mother's given name in the games.
- Her primary weapon in the Original and Legend series are two handguns. while in the Survivor series, she carries a bow and arrows with a quiver on her back.
- When she was young, her father called her "little monkey". Coincidentally, the survivor timeline Lara was born in 1992, and her Chinese Zodiac is a monkey.