Tomb Raider creator departs Crystal Dynamics

Toby Gard leaves Square Enix studio after nine months leading development on unannounced project, establishes independent consultancy firm.

Only a few months ago, news surfaced that Toby Gard had been tapped to lead development on an as-yet-announced project at Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics. The information was significant, considering that Gard created the highly acclaimed original Tomb Raider and that Eidos indicated it would giving the franchise a major makeover in the next installment.

Toby Gard

However, Gard's stint at the head of Crystal Dynamics' next project has been short-lived. According to the developer's LinkedIn profile, Gard left the studio this month, transitioning to a new role as an independent game consultant, with an emphasis in animation, story, and cinematic design, character design, game design, and balancing.

Speaking to GameSpot, Gard confirmed his departure from the studio, saying he is currently no longer working with Crystal Dynamics in any capacity. Gard declined to comment on whether the project he had previously been attached to was still in development. Neither Eidos nor its new parent company, Square Enix, had returned requests for comment on Gard's departure as of press time.

Gard is best known for his work as a designer on the original Tomb Raider--released in 1996--and is credited with having created the Lara Croft character. After departing Core Design in 1997 following the release of Tomb Raider, Gard formed Confounding Factor, which shipped its only title, Galleon: Islands of Mystery, in 2004. Following the release of that game, Gard rejoined Eidos to contribute to Crystal Dynamics' successful 2006 series reboot, Tomb Raider: Legend.

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Discussion

59 comments
Rinoa_Bunansa
Rinoa_Bunansa

Well, they are still going to make Tomb Raider, but they might or might not be as good as the ones he was involved in- maybe there will be a new guy, hopefully not directly from Enix b/c then we shall hope for the worst- meaning there will be irrelevant characters, a percentage in story line, random creatures that you may summon (reference to the Final Fantasy 9, 10-2, 11, and 12- all made by Enix) and about the only thing they will keep on the new lara is her unlimited guns and british accent, yay! So in the new Tomb Raider- lara might look like a very tall 12 year old japanese girl with a british accent who has yet to hit puberty lol. Joking - we can only give our best wishes for Toby Gard and hope for the best with Tomb Raider- hey, it could mean a change for the better good in the Tomb Raider series, not saying they weren't good before.

esmahil
esmahil

I expected the fail to this company and split the most important founders after the production of the latter part a series ( underworld ) it was too short and it lack to story and unstable frame rate and camera as well , byebye Toby Gard byebye tombraider , and to say it : hope to eidos and their partners to find something new for the future .

rebfaction
rebfaction

It makes me think of the comments posted here how many of you have played a single games of the Tomb Raider series. I have all the Tomb Raider games and I love them all Tomb Raider Underworld is the best one. As for Gard I don't care less. Keep up the good Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider is the best and longest series please keep it going. The only ones complaining are the one that have no idea how to play Tomb Raider.

Javieralijandro
Javieralijandro

there bankrupt awesome! tomb raider underworld was awful, what happen to the old ps1 days?

tuznecote
tuznecote

Gard is one of the few creators I actually like. He is so humble and to add to that his history in gaming seems so bumpy. Losing Lara Croft and................stuff. >.> Yeah but I hope for nothing but the best for this guy. He really really deserves it.

Serbine
Serbine

Really sad news though I wish him the best in his new job.

TXMostWanted
TXMostWanted

I hope the make Lara more like Uncharted, ya know...where she actually seems human and interacts w/o other characters on the scene. She just seemed like stone who always knew what to do. How boring

sldsnke11
sldsnke11

lol i go to the college he used to go to :P

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

Glad I am not the only one who hated the controls of Underworld. If I cannot invert the vertical control I simply cannot play. I am an equipment operator and that is just the way it works.

ZeGito
ZeGito

He made nice Lara Croft Games Hope he make more

VirtualTofu
VirtualTofu

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bring back Lara!!!!

Blargsman
Blargsman

Neither good nor bad, I think. It will help Gard branch out of Lara's shadow and Crystal Dynamics' can possibly give the franchise some new ideas to play with.

kbblaze
kbblaze

toby gard is talented creator who deserves to do what he wants and invisions. so good luck to him.

flynow
flynow

Really hope that you can work at Konami on their next Castlevania installment. That series is great but needs a fresh PoV.

Alter_Echo
Alter_Echo

I dont really care as long as the next Tomb Raider game is actually about RAIDING some TOMBS. They need to take the series back to the isolated "far reaches" of the world feeling the older ones had and then refine that formula with all the available technology and ideas of today. The more technofied the series gets the less it feels like TR.

Gamesmasterx
Gamesmasterx

Argh! The Tomb Raider games that he was a part of were the best ones.

mutley89
mutley89

to follow on from what DarthVillainous said, I thaught the story of Underworld was ridiculous, we all saw those trailers of Lara's house exploding and I cool what clever intricate story arc has caused that?? turns out it was a random doppelganger, wow that was clever and the 'stuff' with her mum' was lacked any kind of emotional pay off we were expecting from the first game.

eggmcmuff
eggmcmuff

...When pressed on why he made such a sudden departure from Crystal Dynamics, Gard finally responded, "They were always after me lucky charms!"...

cocomacoco
cocomacoco

is ok if you go Gard, Tomb Raider Series is a disaster lately, though Legend was good, I think they need a make over, full make over, we need to see Lara doing more research, kicking more bad guys, more RPG elements, more digging sites , more fantasiy on the series, as times are getting tougher for Lara, now we have Chainsaw dude characters and sort.

dakan45
dakan45

All tomb raider games till legend where more or less the same, so i guess its ok.

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

no doubt he was frustrated at the lack of control he would have wanted over the games, it happened before and no doubt again. i had hoped that him coming back would get TR back on track. Not sure what to expect now. Oh well Uncharted 2 will keep me going.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

It might be a good thing, just like it might be a good thing that new/fresh minds tackle old Ips (eg. Team Ninja vs. Itagaki)

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

This could be a blessing in disguise: a signal that the old guard of Tomb Raider is gone and at last, maybe, just maybe there is going to be some new blood to take the franchise into the future. Eidos has done a lousy job of publishing these games. Controls, camera issues, glitches. I expect a lot more from Square Enix!

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

He'll be missed, but if the others follow his past examples with Lara, she shouldn't be going down the crapper anytime soon.

HumanoMexicano
HumanoMexicano

TR games were never special or challenging however Lara became very "familiar" with me, so I would just get the games for the nostalgia of the old days of PS1...with this guy leaving it may mean goodlye Lara (aka Laura :(

mayankahuja
mayankahuja

I surely they release another tomb raider game with another Prince of persia......

squarejp
squarejp

After playing Assassin's Creed and Prince of Persia, I have felt that Tomb Raider is buggy but still fun for solving the puzzles. I really hope that the next Tomb Raider installment can be as exciting as Assassin's Creed and Prince of Persia in terms of storyline and platforming puzzles.

WTFitsPauL
WTFitsPauL

@sensei_hEnRY its already bad & it got a whole lot worst :( @DarthVillainous Well Said.

DarthVillainous
DarthVillainous

Legend was hands-down the best of the last three Tomb Raiders. It had a great story, varied combat (both against creatures and humans), an interesting supporting cast, and banter during the game. Anniversary wasn't as good because it lacked story (what with the only cutscenes/dialogue being at the beginning/end of levels), and combat was basically limited to creature combat; there weren't really any enemies who shot back at you. It gets boring when the only tactic every enemy uses is to charge at you. As for Underworld, it also suffered story problems. While the gameplay was good for the most part (apart from some relatively minor issues that have plagued Tomb Raider games for years), you have to wonder what they were thinking regarding the story. With the way Legend ended, I expected Lara to be trying to get to Avalon and find out what happened to her mom. And what did we get? Vikings (which are cool enough on their own, but didn't fit here), Natla (one of the lamest, most one-dimensional villains ever), the sudden inexplicable absence of Excalibur (?), and a doomsday machine under the ocean (lame!). Quite frankly, I expected half the game to take place in Avalon; instead we got Vikings and more Earth. Not at all the direction they seemed to be going at the end of Legend, and a big disappointment.

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

so this is the guy behind those boobs *salute* farewell

Leria
Leria

Tomb Raider wasn't that bad.... the last 3 releases were pretty good in my opinion: Legend was good, Anniversary was good, so was Underworld. There were a few 'quibbles' with them, but easy overlooked.

sensei_hEnRY
sensei_hEnRY

let's hope Tomb Raider won't be bad after Gard leave

lhscouchmonster
lhscouchmonster

he probably is for sale to the highest bidder and looking to be attached to some other game

pakhair
pakhair

I know many people hate the Tomb Raider series but I'm not one of those, The latest installment Underworld was great game but Had flaws. I'm waiting for next version of the series & As long as It's in development I don't care.......

maaly81
maaly81

gotta move on and do whats best for him

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

The first Tomb Raider was great, and I still have that game for my Saturn. I actually liked Tomb Raider Underworld at first, but it's beginning to lose its luster.

Ivory-Dynamite
Ivory-Dynamite

Yes the original tomb raider was an amazing game when it came out.Lara Croft a great character.

Iffy350
Iffy350

@dannyatkinson: I agree 100%! However I perfected anniversary to legend since it had mostly animal enemies and no mercs.

kyacat
kyacat

Toby Guard you will be miss and thanks to you and gamers have gotten attached to Lara Croft especially Tomb Raider fans and Hope you the best in life and hope you continue making games.

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

I liked Legend and Anniversary but the controls on Underworld are terrible.

lamprey263
lamprey263

I hope there's some future for the series. I thought they did really well in the last few years with Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld, and I am looking forward to the next sequel. I read that, with the last series of layoffs, the company is refocusing all the studio's efforts entirely toward the next Tomb Raider game. If this is true then I'm excited they're giving this series more attention. Sure the series has felt less popular with time, but it's nowhere near unnoticed, I think the last game underperformed somewhat because they released it along side like a dozen other hot titles like Gears 2, Resistance 2, Fable 2, Motorstorm 2, Left 4 Dead, Little Big Planet, Far Cry 2, Endwar, Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, Call of Duty: World at War, and Fallout 3. If they had released it maybe a little later maybe it would have performed a lot better. I think the reviews that were less favorable that pointed out that the game was buggy really hurt as well. Sure it had its bugs, nowhere as bad as say Alone in the Dark, but it was still lots of fun regardless. I think this was mostly attributed to the facelift they gave the series with Underworld. In previous games the level design was rather limited because of the platforming elements, in this last game they opened the world up more to look a little more natural in some respects, so the level designs didn't look like everything was designed just for platforming, and I think they didn't work out all the kinks when they did so.

brian_13un
brian_13un

I thought he leave just to make Legacy of Kain the Dark Prophecy ^_^ (just kidding)

pai-may
pai-may

I'm neither saddened or surprised really. What does surprise me is how geeky and young the guy looks. He must have been 12 when he created "dreamed up" Lara Croft.

gunswordfist
gunswordfist

NuKkU Posted Sep 15, 2009 2:55 pm PT This dude was the Tomb Raider Creator man he must have been a big perv at the time he made Lara lol but hey he made one of the biggest characters in gaming so yea we owe it too him Hehe Nukku is crazy as ever.