Everyone knows Sonic and Mario, but it was a huge deal when Tomb Raider hit the market and gamers got their first experience with Lara Croft. Not only was it a big deal that a female was the star of an action title, but Lara Croft’s popularity would only increase. At this point, there are over twenty games in the Tomb Raider series and three feature films that have brought Lara Croft to life.
Audiences know that Lara Croft is the face of Tomb Raider, but there are still many facts about this explorer that are shrouded in mystery. Every Tomb Raider game offers a slightly different perspective on the character and she’s had a fascinating evolution over the past two decades. Accordingly, Here Are 20 Weird Facts About Lara Croft’s Anatomy.
20 Lara Croft's Original Design Is Based On A Designer's Sister
There are a few varying stories on just where Lara gets her inspiration from, but apparently her original likeness is owed to Frances, the sister of the game’s lead designer, Toby Gard. However, there's also a little bit of Neneh Cherry, a Swedish musician, and Tank Girl thrown in there, too. There are even rumors that the reason that Gard left Core Design in 1997 was because of the increasing "sexing up" of Lara. In the more recent reboots of the franchise, Megan Farquhar is used for the performance capture animations.
19 For Some Reason, Her Measurements Exist
This is how much people care about Lara Croft: the measurements of the character have actually been divulged, and they’re reportedly, 34D-24-35. This information absolutely does not need to exist, but for whatever reason it's gone on the record. Some things are better left a mystery. We don't need to know Mario's weight or Sonic's medical history.
18 She Was Originally A Man
Well not exactly, but before Tomb Raider decided to go with Lara Croft, the game’s protagonist was originally a male named Fletcher Christian and it would have leaned even harder into the Indiana Jones parallels. The character went through four or five more revisions and thankfully they decided to change this because Tomb Raider’s female protagonist is precisely what makes it stand out so much. In fact, it was the inspiring “Girl Power” message of the Spice Girls that ultimately pushed Gard to make this change.
17 No Clothes Raider Fever Was Very Real
Gamers obsessed over the shapely Lara Croft so much that when rumors of a clothesless code for the title came out, there was quite the frenzy. Rumors were printed in gaming magazines about an alleged code to play as an au natural version of Lara, but it was all just an elaborate tease. However, a website went even further and later created a patch to actually achieve this. Eidos Interactive even had to eventually shut the site down.
16 Her Face Is Incredibly Famous
Lara Croft is undoubtedly the most famous video game heroine, and she’s been on the cover of TIME Magazine, Newsweek, and the Financial Times. She actually holds the Guinness World Record for being the video game character that’s appeared on the most magazine covers. On top of that, she’s appeared on postage stamps in France, apparently received countless marriage proposals through the mail, and even released an album called Lara Croft: Female Icon, where Rhona Mitra actually provides the vocals. That’s more than Mario and Sonic can boast.
15 Lara's Massive Bust Was Initially A Mistake
A lot of work goes into character design, but it’s always a bonus when an innocent mistake can lead to a major breakthrough. The game's lead designer, Toby Gard, accidentally set the scale on the character model's chest size up by 150%, rather than just 50%. He fully intended to change it back, but the other designers liked the shift so much they convinced him to keep it.
14 She Was Originally Less English
The character's original name was Laura Cruz and she would have had more of the presence of an Amazonian warrior. Eidos Interactive were ultimately told that they had to make the game friendlier for a UK audience, so the design was changed from the original South American model and her name went to the much more English, Lara Croft.
13 She Was Briefly Animated And Turned Into A Cartoon
There was actually a ten-part animated series titled, ReVisioned: Tomb Raider, that came out in 2007 on the forgotten GameTap. In spite of having some clout behind it, like Minnie Driver voicing Lara, it wasn't met with very kind reviews. But it at least saw Lara Croft transition to the animated world and take on a new look.
12 "Virtual Lara" Is An Uncanny Valley Nightmare
By the time of Tomb Raider III's release, motion-capture technology had come about and animation processes had evolved enough that Lara could be conceived in ways that weren't possible when the first two games were released. Accordingly, an ad for the third game sees a highly articulated version of "Virtual Lara" that turned out to be a disaster and gave many people nightmares. Never again.
11 She's Helped Out In Final Fantasy
In 2009, Square Enix bought Eidos, which means that the Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy franchises were now owned by the same company. Crossovers have been few and far between, but Lara is a playable character in Final Fsantasy Brave Exvius (in a sly way to help promote Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris) and Lightning can wear a Lara Croft outfit in Lightning Returns, too.
10 She's Still Alive Because Of Magic...Maybe
The Tomb Raider series was left in an interesting place post-The Last Revelation. The title ends with Lara trapped underneath a temple and the next game in the series, Tomb Raider: Chronicles takes a retrospective approach where Lara's friends all reminisce about her past adventures, which certainly makes it seems like she's passed. In The Angel of Darkness, she's back, but with no explanation. However, hidden away in the game's data there's a cut scene that shows that a shaman named Putai uses magic to revive Lara, but this was ultimately scrapped.
9 She Could Have Ended Up In A Same-Sex Relationship
During the production of the series' reboot, Rhianna Pratchett, the title's head writer admitted that she really wanted to put Lara in a lesbian relationship in this new series, but ultimately backed out because she was worried that the developers may not be on board. The game still features character Samanta Nishimura, Lara's friend, as the de facto person in need of saving, so it's possible that Lara was initially meant to be with her.
8 Her Body Is Also Black Widow's Body... Kind Of
The actress that was used to bring Lara Croft to life via motion-capture for the first time in Tomb Raider Underworld was Heidi Moneymaker, who has an impressive career as a stunt woman, with one of her biggest roles being Scarlett Johansson's stunt double for Black Widow in the Marvel films. So if you noticed any strange similarities between them at certain points, that's why. You may have been looking at the same person.
7 She's Acted In Some Music Videos And Is Quite The Philanthropist
Very strangely, Lara Croft actually has a decent resume as an actor. A crude version of the character appears in the music video, "Manner sind Schweine," for the German punk band, Die Arzte, where she wages war with the group. On top of that, she’s also appeared in many commercials, outside of those for the Tomb Raider series, and has strangely become a spokes model for certain UK products and gained a second life in this context. She’s somehow even the Skin Cancer Awareness Foundation’s spokesperson for Minden, Nevada.
6 She Does Public Appearances
Due to Lara’s popularity, real models would actually portray her for publicity events, with actress Rhona Mitra filling this role for a while. This fell into a murky area when some of these models began abusing the position of being the “real” Lara and the publisher didn’t approve. It was new territory for a mascot and a unique situation to figure out how to negotiate around.
5 She's Fought Demons In Comics
Lara appeared through a brief run of comics via Top Cow Productions. Interestingly, she didn’t just have her own adventures, but she also crossed over with other series, like Witchblade, which put Lara up against fresh threats, like demons and encounters with the natural. It’s not only a nice change of pace for the character, but also fun to see her get depicted and brought to life through a new medium.
4 She Sometimes Lets Her Braids Down
This might sound crazy, but back during the days of the original games, fans were hungry for any new art of Lara Croft. A tribute album, "A Tribute to Lara Croft," was actually released with songs from acclaimed artists like Depeche Mode, Aphex Twin, and Gary Numan, but the album also came with an exclusive image where Lara is in her classic outfit, but with her hair down. It was a rare sight and something that still doesn't happen that often.
3 It Took Four Months To Give Alicia Vikander Lara Croft's Body
Alicia Vikander, the actress to don the iconic role justice in the latest Tomb Raider film reboot, didn't come from an athletic background, but after four arduous months of intensive training, she had gained over ten pounds of muscle and properly embodied Lara's active physique. Let’s just hope that if a sequel happens it’s not as difficult to re-attain that tomb raiding body.
2 Her Model Rendering Has Come A Long Way
The original Lara Croft character model only had a rendered polygon count of 540. What’s so funny is that for the ‘90s, this looked decent and even revolutionary in some ways. Slowly and gradually, the detail in Lara’s character model has advanced and it’s crazy to think that her model is now at an upwards of 50,000 polygons.
1 She's Worthy Of Wielding Both Excalibur And Mjolnir
Some of the later entries in the Tomb Raider series go to some highly outlandish places, but Tomb Raider Underworld has Lara Croft wield the legendary Mjolnir! That takes skill! Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend goes even further and has Lara obtain King Arthur's Excalibur. Clearly she's meant to be a legendary, important hero.
These are the juiciest details that we could find about Lara Croft’s anatomy, but what’s your favorite unknown fact about the strong video game heroine? Sound off in the comments below!