Lara Croft 'birthplace' gets blue plaque

Virtual Tomb Raider star to receive a commemoration on a block of flats built on the site of the creator's old office.

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Cyber-babe Lara Croft has had many accolades so far--she's been on the cover of The Face, nominated as one of the top 20 most influential figures of the 20th century by TIME magazine--and now the Tomb Raider heroine will be getting her own blue plaque on a building.

A blue plaque is a permanent sign installed in the UK on buildings or public places to commemorate a link between the location and a famous person or event. Others already commemorated include Mozart, Virginia Woolf, and Jimi Hendrix. However, Lara Croft will not be the first fictional character to be engraved on a blue plaque--detective Sherlock Holmes also has one on his "221B Baker Street" address in London.

The site of the former Core Design offices in Ashbourne Road, Derby, is soon to be the site of a new block of flats developed by Radleigh Homes. The housing developers are going to be putting up a blue plaque on the wall to let visitors know that Lara was "born" there.

Radleigh Homes senior sales manager Paul Walters commented, "We were aware of the history of the building, but it was actually a local resident who wrote to the local paper and suggested it. We're really keen on the idea to mark Lara's 'birthplace.'" He added that the building's likely completion date is the middle of 2008, and as soon as work is finished the plaque will be placed on the building's exterior.

Core Design was founded in 1988 and was acquired by Eidos Interactive in 1996. The development team created the Lara Croft character for the first Tomb Raider game, released on the PlayStation and PC in 1996. A number of sequels followed, including Tomb Raider II and III. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was the last Lara title which Core Design worked on, as Eidos then handed over the development of the series to Crystal Dynamics.

The reasoning behind this, according to Eidos' product acquisition developer, Ian Livingstone, was to freshen things up. "I think a lot of the team at Core Design were exhausted and they were struggling with the [PlayStation 2] tools." In 2006, Core Design was sold to Oxford-based development studio Rebellion, which took over the material assets and management of former Core staff. Core moved from the Ashbourne Road offices in 2000.

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