Lara hit in The Face:|
Interview with Toby Gard
Here's the interview with Toby Gard, the designer who gave life to Lara:
[The Face] Has Lara changed much (physically, character-wise) from your original idea of her?
[Toby Gard] Well, she went through a period of wearing slightly more military-looking clothes, but she looked too Nazi-like. For a while she looked a bit like Neneh Cherry; baggy trousers and crop tops, but before long she found her hot pants and leotard and away we went!
[TF] Is she based on anyone you know?
[TG] No, it's not often you meet gun-toting psychopaths down the pub.
[TF] So what's with the unfeasibly large knockers then?
[TG] Slip of the mouse. I wanted to expand them fifty percent and then - whoops, one-hundred and fifty percent. Darn.
[TF] Did they get bigger when marketing became became involved?
[TG] Not really; they were just focused on more. The marketing men just saw them as the easy route to take with their campaign. I reckon they must have thought, "How are we going to market this? Hey, look at her enormous oojahs! I have a cunning plan." Clever lads.
[TF] Did your girlfriend mind you spending so much time with another woman?
[TG] If you want a girlfriend, avoid working in computer games like the plague. If you work seven days a week, fifteen hours a day for almost two years, with barely enough time for a pint, you have no time whatsoever for relationships. Plus computer-games makers are regarded as being about as hip as abbattoir workers.
[TF] What do you think of a 'real' Lara being used in promotion - will you be buying her single?
[TG] I think it's really wierd when you've drawn a character and then you meet someone who's actually paid to dress up the same and pretend to be her. Very strange. As far as I'm aware the single is no longer going to happen. If it does, though, yes, I'll buy it. I like a laugh.
[TF] Is Lara a feminist icon or a sexist fantasy?
[TG] Neither and a bit of both. Lara was designed to be a tough, self-reliant, intelligent woman. She confounds all the sexist cliches apart from the fact that she's got an unbelievable figure. Strong, independent women are the perfect fantasy girls - the untouchable is always the most desirable.
[TF] Would she work if she wasn't a posh bird?
[TG] I can't somehow imagine her in a council house wearing whote stilettos and sporting a fake-blonde perm. She was made to be as quintessentially British as possible. It's generally held that unless you have an American hero you won't be able to sell a game in America. I though that by deliberately reversing as many rules as possible, ie female (but strong, not tarty), a British not American lead character, and American not British villains, we'd make something that was unusual and fresh.
[TF] Which is more important: the character or the game?
[TG] The game is always the most important thing: the way it plays, the interface, and the content. A good character is useful to bring the thing to life.
[TF] Are you still in love with Lara or are you sick of the sight of her?
[TG] Neither. It's good to see the character around still, quite satisfying in fact. I don't think it would be quite normal for you to love something you made up though, a bit too Bride of Frankenstein for my liking.
Interview published in the June 1997 issue of The Face.
©1997, Conde Nast Publishing.
Interview and pictures taken from The Scion Sanctuary
maintained by Tim 'Raider'.
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