Crystal Dynamics has been relatively quiet since the release of Tomb Raider: Underworld in November, with the only new information regarding the studio being of the grim, headcount reduction variety. That changed earlier this week, however, when a job listing for a Senior Art Director surfaced in the California-based developer's online database, touting the opportunity to work "on one of the most prestigious AAA franchises in the industry."
Considering Crystal Dynamics' recent history and Tomb Raider's status as one of the most recognizable brands in the industry, the listing led many to believe that the studio was staffing up for a new Lara Croft-led action adventure. Lending more credence to that speculation, the creator of the buxom brunette herself has taken the reins as lead designer at Crystal Dynamics.
As spotted by enthusiast site Tomb Raider Forums, Toby Gard's LinkedIn profile reveals that he was named as lead designer at Crystal Dynamics in January. 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. According to a brief description of his responsibilities, Gard is currently "leading a design group for an unannounced project."
Gard defiantly left Core Design in 1997 to form Confounding Factor after studio management requested a Tomb Raider sequel be turned around in less than 12 months. Confounding Factor shipped its only title, Galleon: Islands of Mystery, in 2004, after which Gard rejoined Eidos to contribute to Crystal Dynamics' successful 2006 series reboot, Tomb Raider: Legend.