The new Lara Croft is designed to be practical, not sexy

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So many great games are coming out next year, but the near the top of that list has to the plucky artifact discoverer herself, Lara Croft, as her next title looks set to reboot and reinvigorate the Tomb Raider franchise.

Some interesting design choices have been made so far, from the implementation of quick-time events to the representation of Lara as a younger, more fragile person who grows into her infamous role as the story progresses.

Of course, not everybody is happy that Ms. Croft has been redesigned from being a top-heavy adventurer into a more petite explorer, but there’s a reason for that, as Crystal Dynamics Art Director, Brian Horton, explains.

One of the complaints about the new look Lara centers around her choice of clothing, as Lara has ditched her familiar tight shorts and revealing tank tops for something that would be easier to move in, which Horton says fits her age and appearance.

“The idea behind the grey was something that the team debated for a while”, Horton explained on the Eidos forums. “As a fan of the classics we wanted to nod to the original outfit in some way, and our first concept was of a light blue tank. We lived with that for a while and decided that a more neutral colour was more fitting the personality profile we are building for her in this origin story”.

“We wanted to allow Lara to look understated. She’s not interested in standing out because she hasn’t yet achieved the confidence in herself. The grey also had an interesting side effect; depending on the lighting it changes colour. For instance, in the Den her top reads as blue, which I really liked.

“We use colour in the lighting throughout the game to express emotions so Lara’s outfit seems to change based on these colour shifts. ”

Read  Lara Croft and the Shadow of the Tomb Raider unboxing

Of course, some fans can handle a change of clothing. What they can’t seem to handle however, is a change in physicality, as Lara has more realistic proportions now, as opposed to her more “flattering” image from past games, something Horton describes as hitting “the right balance of attractiveness and practicality”.

“We didn’t want her to have a uniform, so designing clothes that could be purchased in a store seemed like the correct choice”, Horton explained. “Layered tanks, khakis and boots felt right for her, and if you look at the original Lara it’s very close to that vision”.

“The shorts were never a part of the equation for us, nor being an icon of fashion. It just didn’t feel right in context to her character or as a crew member on this expedition. If you feel this detracts from her sex appeal I understand, but that was not our main goal.

“Our goal was to create the most believable, grounded version of Lara we could, younger and more emotionally rich”.

Last Updated: November 23, 2011

Darryn Bonthuys

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