October 25 marked the 20th anniversary of the video game Tomb Raider. The game was first released on the Sega Saturn, but it didn’t take off until it was released for the Nintendo 64—selling 7.5 million units worldwide. At the time, Lara Croft was considered the female Indiana Jones, and she became an iconic video game heroine. This Tech Time Warp looks at how Tomb Raider quickly grew into the empire it is today.
From humble beginnings to an empire
Who knew that this British “cyber-babe” (as BBC references her) would create so much buzz? She got her start as a video game character but was also depicted by Angelina Jolie in two live action films — Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life. To celebrate the beginning of Lara Croft, we found five interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Lara Croft.
- 40 percent of all early Tomb Raider players were female, according to the game’s parent company, Eidos. In fact, no one believed the game would be such an instant hit. Before it was launched, the game was projected to sell only 100,000 units, but instead it ended up skyrocketing to sell 7.5 million units.
- Lara Croft was named an ambassador for British scientific excellence. In 1998, after being turned down by Emma Thompson, Tony Blair appointed Lara Croft as a British ambassador.
- Lara Croft’s name was supposed to be Laura Cruz, but it was changed to convey more of a British influence. In fact, her name was picked out of a local phonebook because it was the closest to Laura Cruz.
- In 2005 Lara Croft appeared on a French postage stamp, and as of June 2016 she has been on a total of over 1,100 magazine covers (including the Financial Times). That’s more than any supermodel!
- Sony initially didn’t want to release Tomb Raider on the PlayStation, which is why the Core Designs game was launched on the Sega Saturn. When it was finally polished up and launched on the PlayStation it became an instant hit.
Lara Croft earned the title of best-selling videogame heroine, and she has brought in more than 36.88 million dollar in lifetime sales. Whether you are a Tomb Raider fan or not, it is safe to say that the franchise is far from being over. With a new movie scheduled to be released in 2018, we look forward to seeing how Lara Croft will continue to evolve.