19 December 2010

Back in 1995, Toby Gard designed Tomb Raider, almost 15 years later she has become an icon. Not only has she survived so long in the gaming industry, she is often referred to as the face of video game heroines, the character has won six World Records recently and she's also been portrayed by Angelina Jolie in two Hollywood movies. Toby Gard talks exclusively to us about his experience while working on the Tomb Raider titles, who he wants in the role for the movie and what he is doing now after he has left Crystal Dynamics.  

This interview took place on 19th December 2010.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Tomb Raider, Toby created this fantastic piece of artwork which perfectly captures the atmosphere of Tomb Raider (2013).

For Tomb Raider Underworld, you worked as the Cinematics Director, was it hard describing your visions of what needed to be in the cut scenes to actors?

Tomb Raider Underworld cutscenes were done in a weird way. We recoded the lines first with the voice actors, then the animators would block out the scenes with the audio in Maya. We then took those simple 3d scenes to the motion capture studio and plot out marks on the floor corresponding to the layout of the room and marks for the actors to hit. Finally after rehearsals the actors would mime to the audio to get the body motion.Next, the data would come back to the studio and the animators would edit for timing, pose and animate all facial expressions by hand. Bottom line is that for Underworld, the animators had much more to do with the final performance than the actors did.

How are the myths chosen for the games?

People just suggest them. The criteria used to pick was never hard and fast, but generally we avoided any religion that people still believe in, and focus on myths that people probably have heard of, and ones that feature a cool item. Then the deeper the myth, the more ideas you can plunder.

What is your favourite Tomb Raider game you have worked on?

The first one, or Legend.

Why did you first want to make a game like Tomb Raider

I wanted to make an interactive movie. I loved Ultima Underworld, and when I saw Virtual fighter, my mind exploded with the idea of what the two crossed together could be.

Did you prefer having Lara's movements created by hand or using motion capture.
By hand is the only way to go, but mocap is great reference and sometimes a handy starting point.

Who do you think should play Lara in the next Tomb Raider Film?
I always wanted Salma Hayek to play her, but she's getting on a bit now.

Recently Crystal Dynamics began teasing the latest Tomb Raider [Editor Note: The title mentioned here would later be released in 2013]. The game appears to be a retelling of Lara's origin story, with a survival element element. Of course there's not a lot that's been announced about the title, but are you're first impressions of the upcoming game?
 It's going to be sweet.

What projects are you doing right now, or in the future?
I am making an iPad game, but mainly I am concentrating on my Otherworld Comic over at www.tobygard.com it's going to 'Epic' as Mr. Lindstrom used to say.

Thank you to Toby for the interview!


  1. Interesting :)
    Is there more to come?

  2. Thanks :D
    There's not a second part. But hopefully there will be more interviews :)