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The Making of Tomb Raider (Hardback)

Social History Photographic Books Colour Books White Owl Gaming

By Daryl Baxter
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 144
Illustrations: 80 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399002059
Published: 29th October 2021



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Back in 1994 at the game company ‘CORE Design’ in Derby, Lara Croft was born. Through eighteen months of pure hard work from the team, Tomb Raider was released in 1996 and became the success that we see today; taking part in the mid-nineties celebrations of Brit-Pop and Girl Power.

This is the story of the team who were involved in creating the first two games, then leaving the series to a new team in 1998.

Lara Croft brought class, comedy, and a James Bondian role to the game, dreamt up by Toby Gard and helped to become a pitch with Paul Douglas. The game was a gamble, but because everyone at the company believed in it, it led to huge success for everyone, except for Toby and Paul.

‘The Making of Tomb Raider’ goes into detail of how Lara and the games were born, alongside why Toby Gard and Paul Douglas left before the sequel was released.

Throughout eleven chapters of countless interviews, this book will tell you who was responsible for creating the first two games; from its levels, its music, the many voices of Lara Croft, and much more. The team also reveals all about the star of the second game; Winston the Butler, and how he came to be by Joss Charmet.

Over twenty people were interviewed for this story; from the pitch for what would be Tomb Raider, alongside the challenges along the way, up until the release of Tomb Raider 2 in 1997…

‘At times the book is almost like a transcribed version of a filmed documentary where the original team was just sitting down at a table sharing stories, with Daryl popping in from time to time to narrate some context and keep the timeline moving forward.’

Read the full review by Mark Smith here.

Game Chronicles

I love anything Tomb Raider, so when I spotted this, I just had to read it. This was a great look at what it’s like to design and build a game back in the 90s. I loved the in-depth look at how one of my favourite characters was born. The trials and tribulations. The disagreements and failures. The pictures included really did bring back memories. If you were scared of the T-Rex attack and enjoyed locking the butler in the freezer, then this book is definitely for you. Or if your just into game development then pick this up.

NetGalley, Kimberley Chapman

The Making of Tomb Raider is an unmissable and essential read.

Read the full review here

Alternative Magazine Online

Boasting a hardback, 139 A4 pages and 11 chapters, the book focuses on the depths of the first two games in the franchise. Specifically the games that were developed by CORE design. Daryl has taken the time to interview the members responsible for the development of Tomb Raider 1 and 2, and the people involved of those who are alive today. The book recounts interview transcripts that were conducted by himself during the COVID-19 pandemic. What you read within this book, you may have heard of in other forms, but not in the depth where you can literally read this from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

From the offset, the book invites you to get to know Daryl – Why is he writing this book? What got him into writing? Why does he care 25 years on? This book is a documentary, paying tribute to the games that have shaped his childhood. Within 10 pages of this book, I feel as if I can hear his voice and the excitement in the written word for what he is about to share.

Read the full review here

Finger Guns

Video review featured on Raidercast

YouTube, Raidercast

I inhaled this. I'm a huge fan of the early Tomb Raider games and have read and listened to a huge amount of what's been written about their production, story and reception. Despite that, Daryl Baxter's oral history of the making of the first two games finds a niche for itself as a gossipy retelling, rich on technical detail that's sure to delight even the most familiar fan. Disagreements are picked over, differing takes given, and a surprising number of perceived failures admitted to. A great little account of how games were made, back in the day.

NetGalley, Michael Mills

An absolute must for long-time Tomb Raider fans. A real geek-fest of programming challenges from the early days when 3D graphics were in their infancy.
However, I believe this will appeal to older fans and people who spent hours trying to program their Zx Spectrum or PC. For the modern aspiring game programmer, this book will make you grateful for the tools you have - these guys had to jimmy-rig photos from library books to get textures!
It makes me wish I'd been part of it - a simpler time, a kind of positive wild west for gamers. Ps. There was a kid in my primary school that programmed one of the well-known speccy games - something to do with Tarzan!

NetGalley, Joshua Cartwright

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you trembled with terror as the T-Rex thundered towards you, prayed you would reach the end of a level with only a sliver of health or tried to lock the elderly butler in the freezer, then this rigorous unofficial history of the birth of Tomb Raider and its sequel is the book for you.
I vividly remember loading up Tomb Raider for the first time and being dumbstruck by its atmosphere and realism. It cost around £40 which was a fortune back in 1997, but I still have it and play it. This was something nobody had seen before; it required an entirely new sklllset from the player. The freedom of movement, though limited by today’s standards, was mind blowing. Once it clicked, I lost hours of my life inside its world.
Released in the time of the Spice Girls, Tony Blair and Britpop, Tomb Raider quickly became a global phenomenon. Author Daryl Baxter has interviewed every member of the creative team behind the games (including Lara’s voice artists) and vigorously verified every fact so this is the definitive, true story. The book is richly illustrated with iconic images from the games and rare, original drawings of schematic outlines for the levels. There is plenty of detail on the technology used to code the game and also a chapter on the music and its composer.
Very much a nostalgia-fest for anyone who loves the game, the book reminds the reader of a simpler time when video games were made by talented amateurs rather than money-driven committees. It is a book written by a fan for fans, and is a joy to read.

NetGalley, Wyn Lewis

About Daryl Baxter

Daryl Baxter is a writer and podcaster from Lincoln, where his work has featured in sites such as WIRED, TechRadar, SUPERJUMP, Den of Geek and many more. Alongside Sonic and Metal Gear, Tomb Raider was a series he grew up with, wanting to create a writing career borne out of games.

He’s interviewed people in the industry such as David Hayter; the voice of Solid Snake, Ed McMillen who co-created Super Meat Boy, and plenty more throughout his career so far.

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