Toby Gard

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Toby Gard at the E3 2005

Toby Gard (born 1972 in Chelmsford, Essex) is an English computer game character designer and consultant, notably being part of the team that created female British archaeologist Lara Croft.[1] Lara Croft was awarded a Guinness World Record recognizing her as the "most successful human video game heroine."[2]

History[edit]

Originally employed at Core Design, he was part of the team who designed the original Tomb Raider video game in 1995 along with the character Lara Croft. His work on the game included building and animating most of the game's characters (including Lara), animating the in-game cutscenes, storyboarding the FMVs, and managing the level designers. Core gave Gard creative control over the game, although it was clear they wanted to market Lara's sex appeal, even asking Gard to implement a nude code into the game which he refused to do.[3] His vision for Lara was "a female character who was a heroine, you know, cool, collected, in control, that sort of thing" and that "it was never the intention to create some kind of 'Page 3' girl to star in Tomb Raider".[4]

Gard left Core Design in 1997. With Tomb Raider already an established hit, Core was no longer giving Gard the creative freedom he originally had. In the end he was given the choice of making a Tomb Raider port for the Nintendo 64, or working on Core's vision for Tomb Raider II. Neither option appealed to him, so he left the company.[3]

In late 1997, he formed the company Confounding Factor along with co-developer Paul Douglas, who had worked with Gard on Tomb Raider. Galleon was announced soon after, and released nearly 7 years later on Microsoft's Xbox in 2004.

After Galleon, Gard was hired by Eidos (publisher and copyright holder of the Tomb Raider series) to work with Crystal Dynamics on a reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise, beginning with Tomb Raider: Legend. While initially hired as a creative consultant, his work became "hands on" during the production and eventually included Lara's visual redesign, overseeing character design and creation, co-writing the story, designing and implementing parts of the character movement system, and directing the cinematics.

The next game in the series, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, was a re-imagining of the original Tomb Raider. It was co-developed by Crystal Dynamics and Buzz Monkey Software. Gard's role on Anniversary was limited to "story consultant", while also adding his voice to the audio commentary included in the game.

For Tomb Raider: Underworld, Gard's work included co-writing the story, directing the cinematics, voice direction, motion capture direction (along with camera setup and managing the animators and lighters), and directing the European TV advert for the game. Gard and Eric Lindstrom received a nomination for "Best Writing in a Video Game" by the WGA for their work on Underworld.[5]

In January 2009, Toby Gard revealed that he was leading a design group on an unannounced project. Soon after, however, he left the design group and is now working as a computer game consultant at Focal Point Games LLC.

He currently makes a webcomic called Otherworld.[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]