I know what you’re thinking… okay, so I probably have no idea what you’re thinking, and I’m also probably better off for it. Just work with me here.
As I was saying, I know what you’re thinking: “I’ll bet if I shell out $110 for that limited-edition Tomb Raider art book set, it will have some sort of production art featuring Lara Croft in the nude! After all, they’re only making 2,000 copies, and for that kind of money, she had better show some skin! And besides, who could create a girl like Lara and not draw that?” You cheeky devil, you.
Okay, that is perhaps more of a 1997 mentality, I will grant you that much (though I never understood why– I never found her PlayStation character model to be terribly attractive). In any case, the truth of the matter is that Lara’s creator, Toby Gard, has not drawn Ms. Croft with… er, “all her treasures on display” (yes, it did feel quite weird to type that), but not for a lack of trying.
TotalVideoGames reports that Gard revealed on his website that the people at Crystal Dynamics had asked him to portray Lara nude during the development of Tomb Raider: Legend/Anniversary. This is ironic, as Eidos and Core Design went to great lengths to prevent that very thing from happening in the 90’s, even clamping down on “Nude Raider” sites for fear of confusion by fans who might “inadvertently” stumble upon the pics.
“I was asked to do Lara nude,” Gard recalls. “This was as close as I would allow myself to go” he added, referring to the picture at right, which you can see at full-size here.
Interestingly enough, Gard left Crystal Dynamics late last year following a promotion to Lead Designer. At the time, he gave no real reason for the departure; perhaps the company was tossing around the idea of another Playboy feature, and he simply could not bear the thought of it?