Have you heard of the North Pond Hermit? It's a wonderful story: strange and wistful. For 27 years a man named Chrisopher Knight lived in the wilderness of Maine, sleeping in a camp beautifully hidden amongst boulders and sneaking out, every few weeks, to steal supplies from the surrounding homes. People suspected he was there. It must have been a little bit like being haunted by a lonely ghost. Houses were broken into, candy, books, the odd Game Boy was lifted. Some people would leave supplies out for him, in a bag hooked over the handle of the back door.
Back in 2010, after a stint working on the early version of Eidos Montreal's Thief reboot, Rhianna Pratchett set to work writing a very different Lara Croft. The brief from developer Crystal Dynamics was clear: this new Tomb Raider would be a reboot for the long-running series, a game that would drag Lara Croft kicking and screaming into the modern era. For Pratchett, that meant helping craft a personality for a younger Lara, an origin story in which the world's most famous video game action hero could find herself.
In July 2010, Lara Croft Way opened in Derby. The name for part of a new ring road was chosen from a shortlist by public vote, with a whopping 89 per cent opting for the character devised by local studio Core Design. As the likes of the BBC reported at the grand opening, a councillor said Derby was "proud of its place in a vibrant creative industry" and that Lara Croft Way was "a fantastic way to celebrate that".
This week marks the 20th anniversary of PlayStation in the UK. Over the next few days, we're reminiscing about our favourite games for Sony's first console.
"My own education was pretty average."
We've had our say on 2013's best video games. And so have you. Now, it's the turn of the developers, the makers of the virtual experiences we so love. Read on for the games of 2013 according to the creators of the likes of Super Meat Boy, Assassin's Creed 4, XCOM, Oculus Rift and more, complete with Twitter bios.
There's an odd little anniversary that's just passed with zero fanfare. It doesn't help that the dates are a little fuzzy, but it's a moment that's worth registering: at some point last year, Crystal Dynamics surpassed original creators Core in the amount of time it had spent working on the Tomb Raider franchise. Its eight years in charge that began as it took over Anniversary in 2005 eclipse the seven years that the UK studio spent crafting Lara's world.
Confused as to why Crystal Dynamic's Tomb Raider reboot has felt the need to include a multiplayer mode? Don't worry - you're not alone. "Yeah, that first reaction," reflects Eidos Montreal's Daniel Bisson as he thinks back to the wall of bemusement that met the announcement. "You know, I did the same thing - why do a multiplayer Tomb Raider?"
With their reboot of Tomb Raider, developer Crystal Dynamics and publisher Square Enix are going for the jugular. And I don't just mean in the savage scenes where Lara must defend herself from rabid wolves by ripping their throats open with an arrow.
"Personally, I could do with less of it," says Rhianna Pratchett. "I'm not sure what the thinking behind having quite so much is."
The offices of Square Enix must be an interesting place right now, as the publisher once again finds itself accused of a battery of charges related to sexualised violence and the defilement of digital women.
We've been told a number of times now that the new Tomb Raider game will deconstruct the iconic Lara Croft character by letting us live through her earliest experiences as an unlikely, reluctant adventurer. It's a great idea, and a welcome departure from solid but increasingly metronomic and processional fare like Tomb Raider Underworld.
But if this is how Lara Croft began her life as an adventurer, it's really a wonder that she ever ended up doing it for fun. Over two consecutive E3s now, we've seen Lara shipwrecked, shivering, knocked unconscious, imprisoned, impaled on nails, burned, punched, slapped, felt up, abandoned, and thrown to the floor more times than a professional wrestler. Not to mention that she's now had to watch several of her friends die and been forced to hunt and butcher Bambi-like woodland creatures just to make it through the next day.
The latest E3 demo picks up more or less directly after the last one, as Lara stands on a coastal bluff overlooking the cove where her ship Endurance - named after Ernest Shackleton's 1912 expedition, of course, which also didn't go well - is wrecked along with several others. She spies a lifeboat washed up on the shores far below and sets off to locate the other survivors, making a few small jumps, clambering along narrow ledges and tiptoeing over a precarious tree trunk that spans a crevasse as she advances.
After six years of conjuring elaborate puzzles, death traps and dungeons, and four years of drowning, maiming and fracturing every bone in the body of one of video game's enduring icons, Crystal Dynamics is, at long last, about to make its very first Tomb Raider game.
Tomb Raider is back on track. Following 2003's berated and broken Angel of Darkness, which saw Eidos relieve Core Design of its duties and ship Ms. Croft over to Crystal Dynamics, the series has made a solid return to form. Tomb Raider Legend was a promising if cautious reinvention, while Anniversary was a glorious update of the original game. This week sees the release of Underworld, the ninth game in the series.
In part 1 of our interview, published yesterday, Ian Livingstone discussed Eidos' future plans and his thoughts on the next-gen console battle. Here, he reveals more about his work with the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival, plans for a third Tomb Raider movie and a 10th anniversary game, and why the evolution of E3 is good news for publishers.