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Tomb Raider: "Nobody wants to play ugly Lara" but "sex bombs detract from the experience"

Crystal Dynamics explains how it updated Lara's 'assets'

There's a lot of Tomb Raider in the air today. Well, there is if you follow games journalists on Twitter. Here's a bit more to think about.

Speaking to OXM at E3, global brand manager Karl Stewart has described exactly how Crystal Dynamics went about transforming gaming's most infamous sex icon into a powerful female character who just happens to be sexy.

"Brian Horton our art director has been very conscious to make sure that we look at the formula that was there for Tomb Raider in the past and we keep certain traits that keep it iconic," Stewart began.

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"When you look at the face, he was very much about the 'm' at the top of her lips, something about the nose and the eyes. But when it comes to the body, when we looked at previous Tomb Raiders that to us was all about attributes, how big could her attributes be, and that was what was going to help sell it."

"And that's really not what who we are. We wanted to keep that she's young, she's energetic, she's physical, you can see she's very fit, but in the sense of it feels more real. To have a sex bomb on the screen detracts from the experience we're trying to put her in, because you're like: 'aw yeah, look at her boobs, my focus is not on what's happening it's on her'.

"That was a very important factor in the design of the character was, how do we make it feel real. It's more about Lara inside, about who she is as a person, than how she looks. And of course she has to look beautiful, you can't not build a game - nobody wants to play ugly Lara," he added with a laugh. "She still has to be very beautiful, it's just a fine line between how you keep her sexy and real without getting into sexist.

"We believe we've found that happy medium with the character. The quality of the textures and the facial animation, we can deliver a very beautiful girl on screen without it having to mean 'assets'."

Crystal Dynamics suggested to us last year that the classic, campier Lara last seen in Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light could return alongside the reboot. Brace for tasteless joke which I'll probably remove after this is published: there's more than one way to reskin a cat.

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