PNG images: Lara Croft
Lara Croft is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the Square Enix (previously Eidos Interactive) video game franchise Tomb Raider. She is presented as a highly intelligent, athletic, and beautiful English archaeologist-adventurer who ventures into ancient, hazardous tombs and ruins around the world. Created by a team at UK developer Core Design that included Toby Gard, the character first appeared in the 1996 video game Tomb Raider. She has also appeared in video game sequels, printed adaptations, a series of animated short films, feature films (portrayed by Angelina Jolie, later by Alicia Vikander), and merchandise related to the series. Official promotion of the character includes a brand of apparel and accessories, action figures, and model portrayals. Croft has also been licensed for third-party promotion, including television and print advertisements, music-related appearances, and as a spokesmodel. As of June 2016, Lara Croft has been featured on over 1,100 magazine covers surpassing any supermodel.
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Core Design handled initial development of the character and the series. Inspired by Neneh Cherry and comic book character Tank Girl, Gard designed Lara Croft to counter stereotypical female characters. The company modified the character for subsequent titles, which included graphical improvements and gameplay additions. American developer Crystal Dynamics took over the series after the 2003 sequel Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was received poorly. The new developer rebooted the character along with the video game series. The company altered her physical proportions, and gave her additional ways of interacting with game environments. Croft has been voiced by six actresses in the video game series: Shelley Blond (1996), Judith Gibbins (1997–98), Jonell Elliott (1999–2003), Keeley Hawes (2006–14), Camilla Luddington (2013–present) and Abigail Stahlschmidt (2015).
Critics consider Lara Croft a significant game character in popular culture. She holds six Guinness World Records, has a strong fan following, and is among the first video game characters to be successfully adapted to film. Lara Croft is also considered a sex symbol, one of the earliest in the industry to achieve widespread attention. The character's influence in the industry has been a point of contention among critics; viewpoints range from a positive agent of change in video games to a negative role model for young girls.
Lara Croft is depicted as an athletic and fast woman with brown eyes and reddish-brown hair, frequently kept in a plait or ponytail. The character's classic costume is a turquoise tank top, light brown shorts, calf-high boots, and tall white socks. Accessories include fingerless gloves, a backpack, a utility belt with holsters on either side, and two pistols. The video game sequels introduced new outfits designed for different environments, such as underwater and cold weather. In the later games, Croft wears a crop top, camouflage pants and black or light brown shirts. When exploring, she often carries two pistols, but has used other weaponry throughout the series. She is fluent in several languages.
Lara's backstory has changed dramatically over the course of the series. During the first era, game manuals describe the character as the Wimbledon, London-born daughter of Lord Henshingly Croft (Lord Richard Croft in Legend and its sequels). She was raised as an aristocrat and betrothed to the fictitious Earl of Farringdon. Lara attended the Scottish boarding school Gordonstoun and a Swiss finishing school. At the age of twenty-one, she survived a plane crash, which left her stranded in the Himalayas for two weeks; the experience spurred her to shun her former life and seek other adventures around the world. Croft published books and other written works based on her exploits as a mercenary, big-game hunter, and master thief.