15 March 2018

[Note: So... this article. This was actually the last piece that I wrote before I closed the website down. I never published it though. I don't quite remember if it was the same day or the day after, but I remember feeling quite passionate about getting it out there at the time. Rereading it, I don't know if I feel quite the same way as I did then, but I agree with the general intention. I think two years away from the site has impacted that. At the time, I remember struggling a lot with maintaining the site and with a lot of the comments that was targeted at me or friends or people I admired. At some point during those seven years, the website stopped being a hobby I did for fun, and started being something that I felt tethered to. I think the general message of the article still remains; that fandom should be open and inviting, and that we as a community should forever try our best to remain inclusive and welcoming as possible. Our views may differ but what unites us is our shared passion.]

A few months ago, Guns and Grapple celebrated its seventh anniversary online. It's not the longest running Tomb Raider fansite, not even close, but it's been around for a while! It got me thinking about how the community atmosphere has changed since I joined, and to what extent owning a site has impacted how I experience my interest in the series.

Before Guns and Grapple, I didn't have that much presence in the Tomb Raider community. The fandom was already extensive with dozens of fansites and forums, many proudly associating themselves with the companies involved in development, either through competition sponsors or messages of recognition. There were no official fansites, at least not under that name, but there was something similar. Cosplay was already a huge element of our online presence, but the newly launched Tomb Raider Cosplay gave many a new safe haven to visit. Around that time there was one large topic of interest which, to a lesser extent, exists today; the choice between Core Design or Crystal Dynamics for the title of best developer. The community was split into those who joined the fandom before Legend and those who had joined after. I started around this time, testing the waters on a quieter Tomb Raider fan forum, seeing if the community for the series that I loved and grew up with would be as welcoming as I imagined.
The Tomb Raider Community is talented and ambitious, it's extensive and supportive with an almost tangible electric excitement in the air whenever there's something new. But we're also proud; the series has a long history and for those who were there at the beginning or notable milestones, it's like a badge. We talk fondly of the classic titles and how they captured our imagination and we hold the classic Lara to almost godlike status. We're proud of our heritage and protective over the series we adore, while at the same time being already accepted in the group

The Tomb Raider Community represents the best of online communities, but at times, it can be uninviting.

I know that those reading this article probably won't be the ones that enforce it, but I'm also sure that you could possibly identify with the issue in some way through your treks across the fandom. The majority of fans are passionate but the minority, the ones who believes in rules and specific behaviour, are sometimes the loudest.

It feels as though we're so focused on old beliefs of what it means to be part of the Tomb Raider community, that we harm as we preserve it.

Surely a Tomb Raider fan, is a fan of Tomb Raider? It was at the start! Its definition feels distorted now, it's not good enough to just like the series anymore. It feels as though you had to have played the classic Core Design titles and you must have done that before 2006, before Crystal Dynamics began developing the series. You would have also needed to strongly argue the idea that the classic Lara is the best Lara. In regards to the latest game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, it feels as though you're not a true Croft fan if you own an XBOX One or XBOX 360 because you're apparently supporting timed console exclusives. I've seen people post negative comments on spotlighted cosplay features because the cosplayer had the audacity to create an outfit from the Reboot... Since when did we decide that just enjoying a series you're a fan of makes you less of a fan?
As a fansite owner, seeing these kind of arguments on a daily basis is a huge hit to motivation and getting tangled in them results in a mixture of frustration and anxiety. I don't want to argue about Lara's hairstyles or whether Core Design is better than Crystal. In truth, I honestly don't care about those topics. Whether Lara wears her hair in a ponytail or a braid is superficial decision which doesn't change the game for me. The only people it should matter to are, understandably, cosplayers because their hobby focuses on recreating every detail of Lara's look. As for developer preference, liking Crystal Dynamics does not decrease my love and respect that I have for Core Design. It doesn't have to be an either or question. And why should it?

On a daily basis there's threads and comments about the console wars. The argument that if you were a TR fan you would get an XBOX One is just as stupid as the argument that if you were a TR fan you would you would buy a Playstation out of protest for the Microsoft decision. Plus console wars are just... not a very interesting topic. Your choice in console is down to personal preference. I'm really fortunate to have a new generation console, I'm involved in, and have fansites for, multiple gaming communities where my favourite developers create games for the XBOX One. So for me, that console was the one I wanted, but that choice doesn't define me. I don't see myself as an XBOX fan and, honestly, online communities are just better when more people have a chance to join in on an adventure and engage with other fans about their experiences.

The console topic received a lot of attention these past few years due to the aforementioned Microsoft deal where ROTTR was available on XBOX three months before the PC version, and one year before Playstation. Personally, I disagree with the decision and thought the announcement should have been handled more delicately; even if it worked out okay for the companies involved, it was a massive blow for the community. However the reasons why fansites don't feature constant coverage of the debate is that there is none. It was devastating to the community, no one is denying that, no fansite is trying to pretend otherwise, but that's... just it. It's an undeveloping story. The idea that some sites or individuals or groups or pages, are perceived as more genuine because they bring it up on a far more regular basis is insane. Especially, if they discuss the revealed XBOX sales as hard hitting evidence, as I've seen on numerous sites and forums. I have a great amount of respect for those discussing it and I think it is important to recognise those numbers especially as its going to and is already paving the way for the franchise's future... but I don't think it's the hard hitting evidence it's being perceived to be. This isn't breaking news, it's clarification; when the deal was announced we knew what kind of effect it would have on sales.

As a new fan starting out around this time, it must be so weird. They've joined at the precise moment the community is fragmented and where tensions are running high. Placed upon that, we have so many convoluted rules that makes sense to us (in a weird distorted way) but which no new fan of the series would be expected to understand. Someone who played "Rise of the Tomb Raider" months ago on the XBOX One probably doesn't know that mentioning exactly that, was a touchy subject in the community, or that being genuinely excited for the series feels like a taboo subject in some places. It also feels as though there's unreasonable judgement for those who joined recently, compared to those fans who played the classics.
Our attitude towards Survival Instinct is representative of that. Since it's announcement, there's been numerous threads in protest of the feature. These re-ermerged with "Rise of the Tomb Raider". Some fans believe that it strips away the adventure and exploration of the game, that true fans of the series would never use it. "This feature should be out of the title", "it destroys challenge", "it ruins the experience", "it almost breaks the game." To put it bluntly: if you are complaining about the Survival Instinct feature, there's a pretty huge chance that the feature was not designed for you in mind. The feature can be turned off via the option menu, with individual settings for "Survival Instinct Glows" and "Survival Instinct Beacons". From that point you can progress without temptation of the button.

However Survival Instinct is designed for gamers who need a hint every now and then, for those who don't know much about the new additions to the game, or even for gamers who haven't had that much experience with a "Tomb Raider" title before. A little hand holding with the game's grittier parts means that some people could win and enjoy that game and be one of us. The nerve! It feels like we don't like that, because us fans who have been brought up on the classic games proved their admittance apparently with the Labours of Hercules. The part we don't want to admit is that we proved our admittance with the Labours of Hercules with help of cheat codes and Stella's Tomb Raider Walkthroughs.

I like Survival Instinct! I want more fans in this community and I know I'm not alone with that thought. I want more fan art and silly comics. I want to hear news of a new fan film or fansite. I like the excitement people have when they realise that the game they just played holds a special meaning for them. More than anything, I want for this community to continue to flourish and be more accepting of new players.

I've spoken a lot about the negativity within the community, so before the end, I want to talk about those sites and individuals which continue to try to make this community a better place.

The Archaeology of Tomb Raider, LaraHCroft, The Cosplay Mom, Codename Croft, Jessie Croft, Jenn Croft, NathPlays, Jack of Tomb Raider Forums, Marco of Allgames: Tomb Raider and Maxime of Tombeau Croft, and many many more. Thank you to all those who make the community better every day. In addition to that I want to mention Meagan, Robin and Katie who juggles the challenges of community management. 

14 March 2018

[Note: This article was written a couple of weeks after the Mountain Pass update was released, and was created to explore how accessible the game had become with the changes to its micro-transactions. Unfortunately I don't know if the changes have been made to the game in that regard as updates halted during Summer 2016.]

In my previous Lara Croft: Relic Run article, I wrote about the Mountain Pass update which came with a new location, a new gun and a new campaign mode. I really enjoyed the new update; I like a lot of the changes they made to the gameplay and the style. I think they're solid. But I also feel that the update was masking a major unrelated change for the game, and that's the dependency of gems.
Prior to the update, gems were only needed for those top tier upgrades and you could get by pretty okay just by spending the coins that Lara collected on her runs. Ankhs were five gems and something you would use more sparingly, or you could unlock outfits with specific properties. But the game never forced you to collect the gems because the game never demanded that you spend them. It does now.

The Value of Gems

In my previous post, I mentioned that the marketing company for the game (Betty Brown) transferred gems to my account, and some other fansite owners aswell, to ensure we could check out the new update by unlocking the levels. The gems I spent went into researching the new system so I could talk about them, but... I didn't spend too lavishly. Just an ankh every so often, a new upgrade when I've needed it, and a save game though those trickier levels. (I'm glaring at you so hard, aforementioned snowmobile-minefield level. You may be automatically generated, but you're the work of the devil.)

In the five days since its release I had gone through 4,200 gems.

For comparison, if you were to purchase 4,200 gems, you could buy the Vault of Gems (4,200) pack via the in-game store. That's going to cost you £18.99. That's more than any Tomb Raider or Lara Croft game on Steam. That doesn't even get you too far in the game. In addition to that, make the wrong upgrade choices and it's going to cost you more.

No Guaranteed Victory

At first, I didn't realise I had spent so many gems until I had saved my clue progress after difficult run. At the time I believed that it would be a permanent solution, only to find the total erased after the following run. The price you pay isn't for a safety net, it's for a gamble. The only benefit of that system would be to reset the number of ankhs to pay for for the next run. But that's not the only risk you make in the game.
Making the wrong upgrade choice is so easy, and it feels like the game punishes those who do. In level 109, Lara faces the dreaded ice spiders for the first time. Your target is to kill at least one of them. Sounds easy, right? As Lara mainly relies on her twin pistols for her adventures, I upgraded those completely and took them out for a trek across Tibet's mountain tops. While I noticed a slight change when fighting the yetis, the bullets had absolutely no effect on the ice spiders. I switched to my second weapon, the Minigun, which I had upgraded a few times. On its best attempt, the spider was only wounded, losing only almost 60% of its life. To beat the level you have to kill at least one. In the end, I had to fully upgrade the Mini SMGs which only managed to kill a single creature. Upgrading the weapons does not come cheap, you could quite easily spend a thousand gems on just one, and if you pick the wrong weapons to upgrade, you simply can't beat the level unless you upgrade another.

Adrift From Its Origins

During the press event in the Spring, Square Enix spoke fondly of returning to Lara's first adventures in their new mobile game. You could tell there was genuine excitement and passion behind the demo speech. One of the most memorable comments made was “You can’t have a Tomb Raider game without a T Rex”, a nice nod back to the early titles that the team wanted to recapture in the title. Everything that was mentioned during the day focused on creating a game that fans would enjoy and would be driven by the community's feedback.

Months later, the game now feels adrift from those goals. To mask such an extensive change, which now demands for grinding or hefty micro transactions from the player, in an update celebrating ten million downloads, sounds like a bitter treatment to the game that it was before and of the community it's targeting.
If you've read my review of the update, this may sound like a weird article to write now. I was very positive towards the new location and the challenges, but I feel these are two separate issues. At no point were the changes to the value of the gems talked about as a feature of the update, and for good reason, that change would have been unwelcome.

Relic Run was a fun game which explored Lara's world in a new way we hadn't seen before. It captured inspiration from those classic titles which many fans grew up with. While the game can be enjoyable, it's not all that approachable anymore. I believe it can be that again, but the changes to soft currency needs to happen first.

Gem / Coin Tips for Mountain Pass Update

   - Level 65 can be used to collect coins. The level features no enemies, and it awards 900 coins for a relatively challenge-free run.
    - The best weapon to upgrade seems to be the rifle.
   - I'm not sure how effective the Bomber Pilot outfit is. I upgraded it fully, but I have much longer runs compared to other people on my linked Facebook account.
    - Boss Fights award you with gems.
    - The Endless runs are good for collecting gems and coins.
    - Three gems are rewarded for each spider killed.
    - Each Oni (Mountain Pass' Boss Fight) defeated in a single run, the number of gems rewarded increases.

11 March 2016

Last year, I spoke to three wonderful cosplayers about their adventure on the London Underground to promote "Lara Croft GO". The group were selected by Crystal Dynamics and Betty Brown PR to travel across the city as Lara on launch day, awarding commuters with iPad Minis. Instructions on how to win a tablet was included in copies of the Metro.

One of the cosplayers was Laura, also known by Laura Eliza in the cosplay community, whose first venture into the hobby began with Tomb Raider 2013. With a following of hundreds, Laura's adventures on Facebook details her journey through each incredible cosplay, photoshoot and promotional event. While Lara Croft Go's launch provided an opportunity for her to represent the Tomb Raider on an official level, Laura has actually portrayed the heroine on launch days in the past in game stores.

You can read the full London Underground article, HERE and check out the full interview with Laura below:

Tell us a little about yourself!

I'm Laura, I have a law degree and I'm a qualified teacher in the post-compulsory sector. I've been taking some time out over the summer to relax and work on some costumes! My hobbies include cosplay/crafting, gaming, singing, drawing and painting Warhammer figures. I've been playing video games for as long as I can remember! I've got an etsy store where I sell some of the items I make: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LauraElizaCosplay

When did you get into "Tomb Raider" and cosplay?

I watched the first few Tomb Raider games being played when they were released. I was only three when the first game came out, so the first one I played myself was Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation, on my SEGA Dreamcast in 1999. The first time I 'dressed up' as Lara was when I was fifteen; school leaver's day was fancy dress and I got the 'Tomb Raider Anniversary' fancy dress costume for a low price on eBay. A few years later for a bit of fun I wore that costume at a local beach and put the pictures on Facebook, where Sara LaRochelle of laracroftcosplay.com found me. I made the Doppelgänger outfit from Tomb Raider Underworld that Halloween and then Sara really helped me get into cosplay properly; my first full cosplay was Lara Croft from the 2013 rebooted Tomb Raider.

Photo from the Official Tomb Raider Blog.

How did you become involved in the Lara Croft GO event?

Lynn Daniel from 'Brown Betty' contacted me, Lisa and Helen via e-mail, after Rachel forwarded our details, asking if we'd be interested in the PR stunt for Square Enix.

Was this the first you’ve cosplayed as part of a promotional event?

Yes and I'd love to do it again.

[Editor Note: Laura actually promoted Rise of the Tomb Raider and, I believe, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition at Super Games World in the past, but this was her first role as an official Lara Croft cosplayer for Crystal Dynamics.]

How did you prepare for the day ahead?

As I travelled from the North East and the journey was eight and a half hours, I stayed with some relatives, so I went down a couple of days early. I had to get a train in to the offices at 5.42am, so I made sure I got plenty of rest the night before and had a coffee when I got there!

What was your impression of the event, how did the day go?

I had a fantastic time and we were all really well looked after. It felt very special. We enjoyed each other's company and loved chatting to people on the tube and in the stations.

Photo from the Official Tomb Raider Blog.

How many people came up to you during the event?

A lot! We had 3 iPads each as prizes for the lucky commuters who whispered the pass-phrase to us. We all travelled on the same train from Farringdon to King's Cross, in four different carriages, the intention being for us to all split off and go to various tube stations. As I stepped off the train I had my first winner; rounding the corner the second and as I got pictures with him, the third and final winner approached, so the prize giving was over rather rapidly for me! People were still running up to me to say 'Lara Croft GO' and I had to tell them that I had no more prizes but most people just seemed happy enough to 'meet Lara Croft', it was a great feeling.

As you were interacting with the public, did you feel safe throughout the event?

Despite being a Northerner quite unfamiliar with London and being in such a huge and busy city, I had no safety concerns whatsoever during the event. We each had an escort to travel around the tubes with us and they carried the iPads in backpacks.

What kind of steps did the team make to ensure that everything went smoothly?

The Brown Betty team were very friendly and welcoming, they made sure we had everything we needed and that we all felt comfortable. They got each of us hot drinks and a copy of the 'Metro' newspaper with the Lara Croft GO feature while we were getting our makeup done in the morning. I've never had my makeup done professionally before so that was lovely!

What cosplays are you working on now or planning?

I'm currently working on Lara Croft from the upcoming 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' and my next planned cosplay is Xiuying Hong from Shenmue II.

A huge thank you to Laura for taking time to do this interview!
You can follow her adventures on her Facebook page, Laura Eliza Cosplay.

9 March 2016

Last year, I spoke to three wonderful cosplayers about their adventure on the London Underground to promote "Lara Croft GO". The group were selected by Crystal Dynamics and Betty Brown PR to travel across the city as Lara on launch day, awarding commuters with iPad Minis. Instructions on how to win a tablet were included in copies of the Metro.

One of the cosplayers was Helen, also known as Lady Scion in the cosplaying community. She has beautiful recreations of Lara Croft's outfits from Tomb Raider (2013), Angel of Darkness and the classic titles which are not only stunning but have been carefully constructed with clear passion and dedication. Helen's hobbies also explore other sides of the Tomb Raider series. In her free time, she is also a blogger and runs a site dedicated to Tomb Raider, cosplay and games called Tangled Wires. The site highly recommended and a pleasure to read!

You can read the full London Underground article, HERE and check out the full interview with Helen below:

1. Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m Helen and I am a cosplayer and Tomb Raider fan from the North West of England. I am a researcher and has worked in the video game industry as a social media assistant. I also have an Etsy store that I sell mostly Tomb Raider cosplay items, but to be honest if something works well on one of my cosplays I’ll offer it for sale to help out people who maybe can’t make it or doesn’t have the time. All the money from my store now goes back into costume supplies, however when I started in back in 2013, it was so helpful to get a little extra money in after university.

Photo by Darren Rowley Photography 

2. When did you get into Tomb Raider and cosplay?

For Tomb Raider, I broke my leg in 1997 when I was 8 years old. As I was off school for over a month, my neighbour offered to give me his Sega Saturn, as he was getting a Playstation, and said I could take any game I wanted. He passed the box over and I had a rummage and at the bottom was a box with a woman on it! She had brown hair like me so I instantly wanted it. I loaded the game and fell in love exploring this lady’s house for hours on end and the the eerie quietness of Vilcabamba. Then I came across the T Rex and didn’t sleep that night! From there Lara has been part of my life.

For cosplay, I found it hard to get a job after my masters degree in 2012 and took the decision to take some time out to be a carer for my mum. I found out about MCM London and didn’t realise we had conventions in the UK, I thought they were just American things like SDCC. I bought tickets for myself and my boyfriend as Christmas presents and I decided to make the reboot Lara costume as I had found myself coming back into gaming after a few years out. I really loved the costume and related to the reboot character of a Lara, just out of university and battling with the world. Making the costume gave me some escapism and something to accomplish during this time and helped me so much to keep positive. I wore it to MCM May 2013 and decided this is what I wanted to do as a hobby. It combined skills I learnt during my A-Levels, when I decided to take an academic route rather than studying costume design, with my love of gaming. I haven’t looked back yet!

3. How did you become involved in the Lara Croft Go event?

I attended the Tomb Raider meet up at Gamescom and Meagan came up to me to offer the role. I was took by surprise but of course I said yes. I grew up with the Tomb Raider models and wishing I could be like one of those. I know if hadn’t had done it, I would have had a very upset little me inside and I couldn’t let her down! I checked with work, and thankfully they were okay to let me do it, so I went ahead.

Photo from the Official Tomb Raider Blog.

4. Is this the first you’ve cosplayed as part of a promotional event?

Yes it is, it was a fantastic experience and I really love how companies are getting involved with cosplayers now. Cosplay has such a visual impact at events and on the street that can draw in consumers and at the end of the day, a cosplayer is simply a fan. Companies are making it easier too with outfit and prop guides such as the one one from Rise of the Tomb Raider and Guerrilla Game’s Horizon: Zero Dawn; having official measurements and colours is a dream! It means so much to have your work recognised by the creators and to be part of something.

5. How did you to prepare for the day ahead?

So that we all matched, we were provided with shorts and vest tops that matched the Lara Croft GO aesthetics. Myself, Laura, Rachel and Lisa just needed to provide a backpack, boots, holster and gloves. I made myself a backpack a couple of days before I travelled down to London with the help of Laura (Laura Eliza Cosplay) in the skill of modified bags as a lot of unfortunate things happened that week which meant I couldn’t spend as much time as I would have liked on the bag making it from scratch. I do sometimes get panic attacks and made sure my trip down was nice and calm as possible, just in case! Luckily all was okay! I stayed with some relatives for the weekend and that was it really apart from the night before I was sat finishing edges on my bag while using a Korean sheet face mask!

6. What was your impression of the event, how did the day go?

I think it was a fantastic event that really worked for what the game represented. Lara Croft GO harks back to the classic aesthetics and is all about experiencing Tomb Raider on the go. So by having a Lara on the tube travelling around London, it is a visual representation. All the iPads were snapped up pretty quickly, so it is nice to know that the advertisement in the Metro had an impact and that people were actively on the look out. Also we avoided a potential tube strike which was pure luck!

7. How many people came up to you during the event?

I think I had around 7 people approach me within 25 minutes, obviously only the first three won the iPads. Some of the people had a real nostalgia trip and were just as happy to get a picture with Lara Croft! Many of the passengers looked on and knew who I was cosplaying as even if they didn’t approach me to whisper the password ‘Lara Croft GO’.

8. As you were interacting with the public, did you feel safe throughout the event?

I had a minder with me at all times, as did all the other Laras. I knew if I felt panicky or uncomfortable then we could stop for a bit; but I felt very safe throughout and it was just like travelling to a convention in all honesty. I was made aware of all the safety procedures before I agreed to the event so I knew everything would be in hand and I wasn’t going to be left alone.

9. What kind of steps did the team make to ensure that everything went smoothly?

While we were getting ready in the morning we were briefed about what we were expected to do and who our minders were. There was also emails before the event checking that we were all okay costume wise and what would happen if the tube strike went ahead, so that we wouldn’t travel to London and find that plans had changed. Our minders also made sure we were okay while we were travelling around and kept an eye out just in case anyone decided to be a little creepy or was harassed. Thankfully, plan A worked out perfectly and we all had a great time and lots of laughs.

10. What cosplays are you working on now or planning?

At the moment I have just finished Lost Valley Lara, which is Anniversary Lara after a dinosaur attack! The next on my list is Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn and I am redoing my GLaDOS for competition next year. I’ll finally get around to doing a Rise cosplay next summer.

A huge thank you to Helen for the interview! 

You can follow her upcoming cosplay adventures on Twitter and Facebook.

7 March 2016

Last year, I spoke to three wonderful cosplayers about their adventure on the London Underground to promote "Lara Croft GO". The group were selected by Crystal Dynamics and Betty Brown PR to travel across the city as Lara on launch day, awarding commuters with iPad Minis. Instructions on how to win a tablet was included in copies of the Metro.

One of the cosplayers was Rachel, also known as Athora in the cosplaying community. Her detailed costumes and intriguing photoshoots has understandably captured a lot of attention over the years. She has received recognition from official TR social media channels and fansites, and was featured cosplayer on both Lara Croft Cosplay and the Tomb Raider Blog. In addition to that she was also the Official Cosplay Ambassador for the UK, promoting Rise of the Tomb Raider at EGX 2015 (formerly Eurogamer Expo). When she's not Lara Croft, she also portrays Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" and Wonder Woman.

You can read the full article, HERE and check out the full interview with Rachel below:

Tell us a little about yourself!

Hello! My name is Rachel! I'm 22 and live in Kent, UK. I currently work with race horses, which is
one of my passions! Among gaming, cosplay and of course, "Tomb Raider"! ;)

Photo by Darren Rowley Photography.

When did you get into "Tomb Raider" and cosplay?

I first got into cosplaying as Lara Croft when I made my very first costume. In 2008, some friends and I decided to attend MCM Expo which is held in London twice a year. "Tomb Raider Underworld" had just been released so it seemed apt for me to make a Lara Croft costume. :) I actually cosplayed as Anniversary Lara as I felt it was easier for me to make at the time.

How did you become involved in the Lara Croft GO event?

I was approached by the Senior Community Manager at Crystal Dynamics, Meagan Marie, to become involved with helping to promote the game and the Tomb Raider Cosplay community as their official UK representative at Eurogamer Expo (which was held in Birmingham in September). As their Official Lara Croft cosplayer I was also offered to help promote "Lara Croft GO" for an agency.

Was this the first you’ve cosplayed as part of a promotional event?


[Editor Note: The Lara Croft GO event took place a month before EGX where Rachel acted as the Official UK Cosplay Ambassador and promoted "Rise of the Tomb Raider". This was her first time promoting Lara Croft at an official event, but she also was a spotlighted cosplayer at gaming conventions before then!]

Photo from Athora Cosplay's Facebook page.

How did you prepare for the day ahead?

I first made my costume extra durable so there was less chance of anything breaking if I happened to accidentally brush past somebody on the cramped tubes! Luckily my costume held up. ;) I also ensured my costume was safe so nothing could snag on anyone; that's one thing I often try to be weary of, even at conventions.

I spoke to other Official Lara Croft Cosplayers and asked for their advice, never be afraid to ask for advice! especially from those who have been doing it for many years! :) The best advice I received was "Smile like you're a Disney Princess".

What was your impression of the event, how did the day go?

I was first apprehensive as I didn't know how we would be received by the public, as you're travelling through the tube stations during peak times you could bump into a variety of people, both nice and not so nice! But once we were down in the tubes and adrenaline kicked in I was really enjoying myself. I think it rubbed off on other people too as many looked up and smiled, I was even called beautiful! I think the day went superbly, the lucky winners were ecstatic with their prizes and I'm so glad I helped to make people's day. One guy even said it was his last day at work, on top of winning an iPad! The smile on peoples faces as they walked away with their prizes was so satisfying, it made me feel great!

How many people came up to you during the event?

I would say all in all about six people? Not a great deal of people, especially not as many as I thought there would be! But not many people had a copy of the Metro newspaper on them, which told them the password on how to get an iPad. ;)

Photo from Athora Cosplay's Facebook page.

As you were interacting with the public, did you feel safe throughout the event?

I felt comfortable interacting with the public, I had an escort with me who kept hold of the iPads, plus a journalist and a photographer from the Metro Newspaper.

What kind of steps did the team make to ensure that everything went smoothly?

We all departed from the same station and went off on separate tube lines during the event, there were four of us dressed as Lara, each with our own escort. We were then instructed to meet back at the office once we'd handed out all of our iPads. The team had our travel cards ready for the day before we left and they ensured we were all comfortable and happy that we knew what we were doing so the day ran smoothly.

What cosplays are you working on now or planning?

I'm planning on reworking my "Rise of the Tomb Raider" costume, I'm also thinking of doing a classic Lara costume in the near future too! :)

A huge thank you to Rachel for taking time to do this interview!
You can follow her adventures on her Facebook page, Athora Cosplay.