Toby Gard returns to Tomb Raider franchise

Original designer of Lara Croft comes back to the series after seven years.

Lara Croft creator Toby Gard has joined US development studio Crystal Dynamics to work as a senior designer on the next Tomb Raider title - marking his return to the series after leaving Core Design following the launch of the original game.

The move follows reports that Gard's own studio, Confounding Factor, was set to disband after the release of Galleon - its long-delayed Xbox adventure title, which came out in Europe and North America this summer after almost seven years in development.

Crystal Dynamics, perhaps best known for its work on the Soul Reaver titles, was handed the Tomb Raider franchise after it was removed from originators Core Design following the critically panned - and hugely delayed - launch of Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness last summer.

"Toby will complement the existing talented team creating the next Tomb Raider title," a spokesperson for publisher and franchise owner Eidos said last night. "As the creator of the Lara Croft character, he brings a unique perspective to the development process."

Gard isn't the only well-known designer bringing a new perspective to the next iteration of Tomb Raider; according to persistent rumours within the industry, Deus Ex creator Warren Spector has also been drafted in to provide input on the evolution of Lara's adventures.

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