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The unlikely link between Terry Pratchett and Lara Croft

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David Cornish
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What do you associate with Lara Croft?

Shorts? Pistols? A flagrant disregard for cultural heritage?

All valid answers - but not the one we got from Rhianna Pratchett, writer of Croft's newest adventure Rise of the Tomb Raider and daughter of late, great fantasy author, Terry Pratchett. For Pratchett, there's a far more poignant memory associated with the infamous tomb plunderer.

"I strongly associate Tomb Raider with my father," she tells ShortList.com. "He played more of the games than I did, and I used to watch him play them."

Little did she know that watching her father control Croft's leaps from rock to rock would be the start of a long relationship with CORE Design's character.

"My first games industry event was accompanying him to the launch of Tomb Raider III at the Natural History Museum. I made my first industry contact that night, which would set me on the path to eventually working on Tomb Raider [2013's reboot, for which she was also a writer] and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

"I remember playing (and loving) the first game. My father had told me all about the T-Rex bit before I got to it, which somewhat ruined the surprise. I think he was just very excited about it. It was still a phenomenal moment though."

When Crystal Dynamics set about 'reinvigorating' the Tomb Raider franchise, they sought out Pratchett to work on the game's script. Having previously penned an assortment of gaming stories, including female-led hits Heavenly Sword and Mirror's Edge, she was the perfect talent to guide Lara Croft through her gritty, formative adventures.

There followed a series of comics with Dark Horse publishing, adding further colour to young Croft's life, and a writing process that would draw Pratchett into the Tomb Raider franchise for five years.

"I understand Lara a lot more," she says. "There's definitely a little bit of Lara in me and me in Lara. It's been a hell of a ride for both of us!"

So what can we expect from the new game? Has Lara gained any more steel from her debut outing?

"Lara is definitely tougher this time around and there's also more of a darkness about her. She's seen and done things she didn't think possible and this is a journey she's chosen, rather than one that's been thrust upon her.

"She's a woman on a mission and she's prepared to fight fire with fire to achieve her goals. This Lara certainly embodies old Lara's drive and proactive nature, though her motivations for exploration are a little bit more altruistic, rather than being in it for the sport."

An old Lara with new tricks? Sign us up.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is out now on Xbox One and Xbox 360 

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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