Time is right to leave Lara, says Gard

But he's sorry she slipped from his grasp.

Tomb Raider and Lara Croft co-creator Toby Gard has explained that the time was right for him to leave Crystal Dynamics, as control of the character he originally designed slipped further and further from his grasp.

Gard departed earlier this month to set up his own consultancy business, but admitted he would "definitely, absolutely" like to work once more with a big team, leading a triple-A project.

"It's always difficult doing that but you can get stuck doing the same thing over and over," Gard told GamesIndustry.biz when asked what leaving the iconic Lara Croft behind felt like.

"The only real way that I can really effect Lara Croft is to be in charge of a project. More and more as I was working at Crystal, especially on Underworld where I was just doing cinematic work, the reality is the control of the characters is in the hands of the creative directors and the publisher.

"I think it's just something you have to learn to realise that there's no one person really in charge of what goes on with a character and they have a life of their own in the hands of the team."

Although he still has the passion to work on a traditional videogame blockbuster, Gard doesn't yet see the opportunity, as his ambitions outweigh the reality of his resources.

"I guess the tough thing for me is that when I think about the types of games I like to play and the games I like to make they tend to be the rather expansive ones rather than the smaller ones," he said.

"So although I'm developing in my brain the project I'd like, I don't actually have a team at the moment to create it."

The original Tomb Raider was released in 1996 and kick-started what would become one of the most successful videogame franchises ever. Heroine Lara Croft soon shot to stardom, imprinting her tight-top and hot-pant ensemble on the minds of young men around the world. [And women - Dep Ed.]

Recently the stagnant series has struggled, however, and handed the limelight to punchy newcomers like Naughty Dog's Uncharted.

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