If, like me, you’ve ever wondered what inspired the level design and art of Core Design’s Tomb Raider games, you should check out Ash Kapriélov’s interview with level designer, artist, and scriptwriter Andy Sandham. Over the course of this two-part interview, Andy explains why he set a level in the abandoned Aldwych Tube station, talks about the team’s decision to try and kill off Lara Croft at the end of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, and sheds some light on the tools and techniques used to incorporate real-life art in the games.
I’d long suspected that the game artists and level designers relied on books and museum visits for inspiration…and it turns out I was right!
Clearly, a ton of research on ancient Egypt and its mythology went into Tomb Raider (4) Last Revelation. How did you go about researching for all the levels?
Jeremy (to his credit) actually decided we needed to set TR4 back in Egypt – to get Lara back to tombs – and generously planned a trip out there for all of us. Unfortunately, with the deadline rapidly approaching, and a number of inoculations required with specific time periods before they took effect, meant another trip to London instead! We all spent a lot of time in the British Museum, and trawling around the bookstores on the street opposite for the books with the most photographs of textures in! It was always a highly sought after prize – the book with the most textures that we could scan in. (I should point out the internet was still relatively useless with regards resources at this point)
The lack of internet resources back in the mid-1990s probably explains why there were some glaring historical and geographical errors in the first few Tomb Raider games (e.g. Maya and Aztec art in an Inca city). But you still have to admire the dedication and hard work that Andy and the rest of the team put into creating these games. After all, we’re still playing them almost two decades later… 😉
- Survivor Reborn’s Q&A with Richard Morton, Former Core Design Employee
- Platform Magazine’s Interview with Tomb Raider Composer Nathan McCree