Toby Gard at the E3 2005
|Born||1972 (age 45–46)|
Chelmsford, Essex, England
|Occupation||Video game designer, writer|
|Notable work||Tomb Raider series|
Toby Gard (born 1972 in Chelmsford, Essex) is an English computer game character designer and consultant, notably being part of the team that created fictional female British archaeologist Lara Croft. Lara Croft was awarded a Guinness World Record recognizing her as the "most successful human video game heroine."
1990s: from Tomb Raider to Confounding
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. 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".
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. Gard had been headhunted by other software companies including Interplay and Shiny Entertainment (which prematurely announced that it had hired Gard) but did not take up their offers of employment.
2000s: return on Tomb Raider
Galleon released nearly 7 years later on Microsoft's Xbox, in 2004, then 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 Writers Guild of America for their work on Underworld.
2010s: Otherworld, Ninja Gaiden Z and a new studio
From 2010 to 2012, he worked on a webcomic called Otherworld. From 2012 to 2014 Gard was the game director for Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z at Spark Unlimited. In 2014 Gard founded a new studio called Tangentlemen.
- "GI Icon: Lara Croft". Geek Illustrated. 29 October 2007. Archived from the original on 21 July 2008.
- Guy Cocker (2006-04-07). "Lara Croft earns Guinness World Record". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- Simon Carless (1997–1998). "Cofounding Factor Interview". GameGeek Peeks. Archived from the original on 2006-03-25.
- "Interview with Toby Gard". Gamasutra. 23 October 1998. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- Campbell, Colin (June 1997). "Two Raiders". Next Generation. No. 30. Imagine Media. p. 30.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (30 October 2016). "20 years on, the Tomb Raider story told by the people who were there". Eurogamer. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- "2009 VIDEOGAME WRITING AWARD NOMINEES ANNOUNCED". Writers Guild of America, East. 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- "Otherworld Comic". www.otherworldcomic.com. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- "Tomb Raider, Call of Duty vets form new studio". gamesindustry.biz. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
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