Tomb Raider – one of the most famous franchises in the history of igroproma, awarded several Hollywood adaptations, the last of which is in production. Lara Croft is not just lives – it evolves, increasing the chances of its further prosperity.
However, Jeremy Heath-Smith, co-founder of the studio Core Design and Eidos former CFO, this is not important. One of the fathers (there were several) Lara Croft has long left the game development. And now the chain of events that led to this.
At the peak of popularity of Tomb Raider in the late 90 hundreds of companies every day besieged by Heath-Smith with thousands of crazy proposals – mainly in branded merchandise. And instead of doing things you love – games – constantly had to explain that, for example, the creation of tampons Tomb Raider (!) – this is not the best idea.
This bedlam – just one of many reasons why the creator of Lara Croft left the industry in which he worked for over 20 years. “I like to see what the video game, but now it’s too big business” – says Heath-Smith. “When it comes to sales of several billion dollars, I think part of the fun somewhere disappears.”
And for him it all began just a fan. The first work of Heath-Smith – Assistant Sales at Activision. The young man took a very hard trial period: the boss was afraid that the new employee – a hardcore gamer – would simply be chopped in the game, instead of promoting them in UK stores.
This period with numerous negotiations with the owners of retail outlets has taught his practical approach to a favorite hobby. Heath-Smith then moved to the company Gremlin Graphics, which developed games for systems like the Commodore 64. In the late ’80s Hit-Smith was faced with the fact that subsequently haunted him throughout his career: the excessive amount of equipment. Various consoles then it was too much, and had to make a game for many of them, in order to keep pace with the market.
This grueling race Gremlin Graphics led to the edge of a precipice, and in 1988, the young man chose to leave to establish his own studio Core Design. Heath Smith and a few defectors have got the rights to such well-known (at the time) games like Rick Dangerous and Chuck Rock: the foundation for the future financial success was laid.
Heath-Smith was personally involved in the events that could change the fate of the world igroproma. For example, Sony and Nintendo was a joint project: the Japanese company wanted to create a powerful new console on the CD. As we now know, nothing came of it, and the Giants went on to work alone.
Heath-Smith once again convinced that the Titans iron industry is more important than the games that it does not suit. Total commercialization of all beginning to embarrass the future creator of the coolest amateur archeology.
Smith recalls one interesting point: in ancient times, the birth of the original PlayStation, he asked the then boss of the game direction describe the Sony DualShock layout. He began to get confused in the testimony. “Yes, the game is in your own damn food!” – thought then Heath-Smith. Recall gamer himself.
Now such a man did not hesitate to be recorded in the category of indie developers, but Heath-Smith is not as simple as it seems. At the very moment when he saw the first ready-to-sell the PlayStation, it descended the revelation: here it is, the future.
Thereafter Core studio almost around the clock began to work on a concept that would surprise and the Japanese company bosses, and ordinary gamers. In this way, and the world famous Lara Croft was created.
At that time, the risk was, and rather decent: in the 90s the public was still unaccustomed to female characters. Now, however, success is more than clear: to date sold over 7 million copies of the original Tomb Raider.
But this achievement in the field of commerce has created a monster. Rather, the monster appetite – from Sony. The Japanese corporation has desired to Tomb Raider was created with Call of Duty speed: Japanese customers took Western artists a year on Tomb Raider 2.
“Excluding marketing and testing time directly to the development was only 8 months. About normalized working day was necessary to forget, the schedule was crazy. But and money – too “, says the father of Lara.
Sequels went like on a conveyor belt. Number and rate managed to secure – but the quality, of course, began to suffer. The golden rule of the Soviet cartoon about cutting seven caps from a modest piece of skin has not been canceled.
As a result, at the time of the release of Angel of Darkness (it is the sixth hat) with Eidos was enough: criticism literally roasted game for the abundance of bugs.
Heath-Smith appointed extreme – and fired. The creator explained the failure as well as in the ’80s: the game had to be created for too many platforms. (In fact, there were only 3: PS2, PC, Mac)
In terms of finance, one of the founders of Ms. Croft is waiting for a bright future: launch the franchise, and the first successful part earned him millions.
It is noteworthy that after the dismissal of Heath-Smith founded the Circle office, which has not released any of the famous game: Tomb Raider pressure was too big to do anything mediocre did not want to, and reach heights of old have failed.
Eventually he went to Spike Global for the position of general director. This company produces software exclusively on the B2B model.
That is, business to business: It’s serious, no climbing on the rocks in an unrealistically short shorts. Today Heath-Smith prefers to look forward and not look back with nostalgia. He is glad that “given the scepter and mantle of another.” Apparently, under the “other” refers to the creators of a new – more realistic – Lara.