London Shadow of the Tomb Raider Reveal Event - My Experiences!



Recently, I was invited to and sponsored by Square Enix to attend the reveal event for the new game, "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" at The Welsh Chapel on Shaftsbury Avenue, London.

We set off at 10am from Sedbergh and arrived in London at 3:30pm, after a stop for a bathroom break and a McDonalds take-away, and got lost with our new sat-nav taking round in circles for two hours!
We drove past the London Eye a few times, around Trafalgar Square many times! I did get a good look at the new statue of Milicent Fawcett (first female historic figure to be represented among the Square statues).
We finally found the carpark at Waterloo Station and walked around until we found our hotel.
We checked in and then took a black taxi to the venue which, believe it or not, are wheelchair accessible! It was a fun experience to be able to do that in London.
On the way, we past the Palace Theatre, current home to "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child", which was just at the end of the road from the event...

We arrived at the chapel at 6pm and were escorted round the back where a ramp was laid out for me.
Then Ally at Square Enix Europe showed us around.

Breif history: 
Buit in 1888 by James Cubitt, it was once a night club that hosted big names in the music industry, then an Australian-themed bar. Since then, it has been empty for years to be rented out for locations.

Upon entering the main area, I was immediately struck by an enormous rotating Mayan pyramid covered in greenery in the centre of the room.
Looking around, the room was filled with real exotic plants and vines weaved through the spindals of the balconies. The centre dome in the roof reached high above the floor and was lit in violet. It really felt like entering a tomb.
Ally took us to see the front entrance which was like walking through a Mexican graveyard on the Day of the Dead. Alters filled with candles, flowers, decorated skulls and offerings lined the walls around gravestones, statues and crosses...




Heading back into the main area, I bumped into Liz at Square Enix Europe who looked after Laura Eliza Cosplay and I while were cosplay ambassadors at EGX 2016.
I also saw Jessie TR again for the first time in two years!
Photo courtesy of Jessie TR.
We then briefly met up with Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager at Crystal Dynamics) before she headed downstairs for a presentation and we explained why we were late.
When she came back, she asked me "Have you met Alison yet?" I replied "No..." wondering if it was the same Alison I was thinking of. "I'll be back in a minute" she said, and lo and behold, she returned with Alison Carroll (formally the official live-action Lara Croft for Tomb Raider: Underworld) and introduced me as "one of our official cosplay ambassadors" who was both "Rise and Classic Lara"! As a professional gymnast as well as an actress, Alison was the first and last of the official Laras to take on all the action who also had the physique Lara would have.
She was someone my 15-year-old self really admired and wanted to be like. To meet her 10 years on at the reveal of a new Tomb Raider game was very special!

After asking her and Meagan to sign my copy of the community year book that is "20 Years of Tomb Raider" (*cough* by Meagan Marie *cough*), Meagan escorted me to find a spot in the queue to play the demo.
The corridor on the left where the queue was directed was too narrow for my chair to turn into, so I waited with anticipation outside another arched doorway which was blocked by a black curtain. During the wait, I met some friends and the new UK cosplay ambassador, Jade Sura, came over to say hello (who was a sweetheart and looked fantastic).
After 10 to 15 minutes, the curtain lifted and I entered quickly so not to reveal anything.

Demo impressions (no story spoilers):
Being the first Tomb Raider game developed by Eidos Montreal in collaboration Crystal Dynamics, we have a fresh new team including new writer, Jill Murray, and new game directer, Daniel Chayer Bisson.
The thing that stood out for me immediately, other than the striking enhanced graphics, was the difference in direction for the actors. From candid dialog between characters right down to subtle, not overly dramatic grunts and groans. It made everything feel real and grounded and showed more of what the actors' could do.
There are also some new features. Lara can now grapple with her axe I.E wall run and decend/swing from a rock wall. She can also dive under water and explore more without needing a rebreather. As for combat, this game focuses more on stealth and so Lara can cover herself in mud to blend in and use the enviroment to her advantage.
I also just want to talk about Lara's character for a moment....
That young, nieve girl is gone. Replaced with someone very familiar...oh and that physique I mentioned before, Shadow of the Tomb Raider definitely delivers on that! Lara can bend her enviroment to her will, moving with ease and contantly pushing her boundaries. Now she has the body to show for it, worthy of an Olympic athlete.
Her character also mirrors the tombs in this game. Both have taken a dark decent in that Lara will be just as terrifying and unpredictable at times. In the past two games, Lara has lost many people and has had to forge herself into a weapon in order to survive. What would that do to a person? What mark would it leave? In this, we see her start to question whether or not she's a good person and I think it's very important because what makes you human is that you have flawes, nobody is perfect, not even heroes.
I honestly can't wait to discover more!










Afterc the demo, I met up with some more friends and took pictures with the cosplay ambassadors...
With Zaelya Cosplay, French Cosplay Ambassador (who did some amazing stunts!)
With Tracie Swift, longtime fan and one of the organisers of the Tomb Raider Suite launch event at Hatfield House.
With Cath Vandier, longtime member of the French community and former Community and Communications Assistant at Crystal Dynamics.
With the lovely Augustin MDN, fantastic French cosplayer and reporter for laraider.com.
With Jade Sura, UK Cosplay Ambassador and Youtuber.
With Mareike AKA Aurora CosplayDream who I first got in contact with 10 years ago on Myspace! I also bought some cosplay items from her.
Great to finally meet her as the German Cosplay Ambassador!
With the amazing multi-talented Meagan Marie, Senior Community Manager at Crystal Dynamics, author and cosplayer.
I even got to sign an autograph for Amy D!

I had a ride on the revolving pyramid...because.



At the end of the night, Ally (of Square Enix Europe) came over to talk to me, we joked and she went and picked one of the real flowers from the display and gave it to me for a souvenir...

The event ended at midnight and we got a taxi back to the hotel, put the flower in water and got in bed at 12:45am!
The next morning, it was another early start to get ready for the community lunch at 11am before the trailer embargo at 2pm.
We were last minute attendants as we had extra time from arriving at the 24 hour carpark late and so we headed to Belgo's on Covent Garden via black taxi again...

We got there and Meagan told us she just found out that their lift was broken so my Dad, being awesome, fireman-lifted me down the stairs to the end of the restaurant.
We had the place to ourselves as we were booked before opening times and after ordering, we started talking to Rob, the Audio Director for SOTTR, who had come all the way from Montreal for the event.
He was clearly passionate about the project and excited that some of the fans finally got to play it.
He gave us some incite into his role in SOTTR.
Having worked in gaming for 30 years, Rob came onboard on day 1 of pre-production when it was still being decided what kind of world would be around Lara in this game.
He told us he often travelled to Crystal Dynamics in San Francisco and that all the sound recordings ended up being done at Sony's studio not far from there.
One of the things he did there was experiment with underwater microphones to record movement of water. Although he couldn't reveal anything, he also hinted that there could be some easter eggs for the fans.
He was also enthusiastic about how he feels this is a defining game in the series...."It's cool that this is the last in the trilogy", he said, "Although, there will be more adventures, this is the end of this reboot story." So, the last we'll see of Trinity? Not the last we see of Camilla Luddington I hope.

I left London incredibly excited for the game's release and what it could mean for the future of Tomb Raider.
Special thanks to Square Enix for sponsoring our trip and accommodation!
See our video of the event featuring Zaelya Cosplay in action and the official trailer below.
I'll end with a statement I think many will agree with....
Classic Lara Croft is reborn!

News Update: UK Composer Buffet Reception, Shadow of the Tomb Raider



Nathan Mcree's UK Composer Buffet Reception is almost here! Chapter 3 of the promo videos has been released where Lara (Alison Carroll) energetically gets herself ready for the event, showing off her moves, and it seems she couldn't wait to get out of the door! After all, one cannot be late for one's own party. 😉
See her there on the 28th April along with Shelley Blond (original voice of Lara) and our senior community manager at Crystal Dynamics, Meagan Marie!

A new piece of audio from the upcoming "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" game was crowd unlocked yesterday with the final puzzle on the official Tomb Raider site being completed enough times.
In it, we hear Camilla Luddington's Lara speaking to a man with what sounds a Spanish accent.
Could it be the man we got a glimpse of on Lara's desk at the end of "Rise of the Tomb Raider"?...


Cosplay Corner: Sara Croft



Welcome back to the Cosplay Corner! Today, we bring you the first interview in the 2018 series with non other than Sara Croft! 
Sara is a US based cosplayer and Etsy seller, best known as the founder of tombraidercosplay.com which she first created in 2007. You could say she is responsible for bringing together a world wide communtiy and with her low cost solutions, it's known that new Laras go to her tutorials for help.
We are delighted to chat to her!
TDD: What made you decide to create tombraidercosplay.com?
SC: I created tombraidercosplay.com back in 2007 because to my knowledge, there was no other site that was a mother ship - so to speak- to all TR cosplay related material, like tutorials, reference, cosplay photos, blogs etc. I also wanted a space that I could dedicate specifically to that wonderful community, somewhere they feel they could call their hub. 
Now we have two sites, the classic laracroftcosplay.com and a modern more user heavy site that is very interactive and much more involved, the power and control over content is given to registered members. I want each and every one of them to think of it as their own website they share with all of us.
You can upload your own photos, make a profile with a pic, cover photo and bio, post blogs, also I'll launch a video posting tool very soon that allows you to embed videos into a very fluid viewing gallery.

TDD: Why do you think cosplay has become a lot more popular now?
SC: I am the eternal optimist, so the way I see it, people do it because cosplay is an expression of passion, respect and love for your favorite movie, game, TV, anime or comic character. It is a live tribute to a character, that had a massive impact on you.
It is turning your wildest dreams into reality for a brief moment. There are very few feelings in the world that equal being literally in your hero’s shoes. It is pure empowerment, so I see why that feeling would become addicting and more and more people get into the hobby.
Sara in her Tomb Raider (2013) costume.
TDD: Tell us about your Etsy shop.
SC: I sell mostly cosplay items, and replicas from Movies/TV/Games. I started with Tomb Raider, then got obsessed with Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, eventually I made bits and pieces for Fallout, Mass Effect, Resident Evil, Farscape, Sucker Punch and Ancient Egypt.
It's been on vacation mode, because of health reasons but I launched it as a way to make money and do what I love. I hosted my website for 10 years without ads in it, I don't monazite my youtube videos or any other content so I thought this would be a great way to use my skills to earn a living and help out cosplayers who need it.
One of Sara's Etsy items - "Rise of the Tomb Raider" quiver.
TDD: How do you manage to keep the costs down when you create very accurate costumes?
SC: Necessity is the mother of invention, I live by that saying when it comes to making costumes, and I've had to get very creative with alternatives to keep my costs at a minimum. For example, I needed leather to make a Daenerys Targaryen chest piece, instead of buying it, I made it out of craft foam that I treated with various sealants and paints to make it look like leather.
This is the key, you have to think outside the box, and substitute things.
Sara as Isis from "Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris".
TDD: With 310 cosplayers featured on your old site, 381 members in the DeviantART group and over 3,300 members in the Facebook group, did you ever think you’d bring together such a large community of people when you first started out?
SC: Honestly, no. 310 cosplayers sounds insane, because it's 310 galleries I made myself for these awesome people.
The Facebook group, I owe it's success to my wonderful and kind hearted Jojo Neto. She combined forces with me and made one huge Tomb Raider community!
I honestly couldn't ask for a better group of people.
Sara's recreation of an official render for "Tomb Raider: Legend".
TDD: In closing, how has Lara Croft’s character played an important role in your life?
SC: She's not only one of my role models, and someone I strive to be like, but she's also been the reason I connected with so many exceptional people, they are my "raison d'etre". I love them so incredibly much, Their support and love throughout the years has been pivotal.  I may walk away for a few months, but I come right back because I can't live without them.
I’ve been blessed with many friends that I met through the Tomb Raider Cosplay community (like Kate Sykes). I’d like to think I’ve made family members of most of them. Some of us have known each other for more than a decade. and it's a privilege and an honor to know them.
EXCLUSIVE: Never before seen photo from Sara's "Rise of the Tomb Raider" photoshoot!
Also, did you know that Sara played the role of Sam in a Tomb Raider (2013) fan film written by Kate Sykes with Annie AKA The Cosplay Mom as Lara?
You can check that out below...
Thank you so much to Sara for doing this interview and remember, you can sign up to the new site and find all the tutorials at tombraidercosplay.com.

Tomb Raider Suite London Composer Buffet - Trailer 2!


Official still of Alison Carroll as Lara Croft with Winston.
Chapter 2 of Nathan Mcree's promotional videos for the Tomb Raider Suite launch event in London - "Locating the Artefact" - was released today.
It once again stars former official model Alison Carroll as Lara Croft and the pixel-perfect Winston and it reveals the beautiful interiors of Croft Manor AKA Hatfield House, where the event will be taking place on 28th April. Alison will also be appearing as Lara.
Watch the new trailer here...

Alison Carroll back as Lara for London Tomb Raider Suite Launch Event!



After just over eight years, Alison Carroll - the last official model - reprises her role as Lara as part of the launch celebrations of Nathan McCree's Tomb Raider Suite album.
At the launch event at Hatfieild House (Croft Manor in the original Tomb Raider movies) in London on 28th April, attendees can meet Alison as Lara as they visit her Manor for a lavish buffet.
VIP tickets are now SOLD OUT but you can still get standard tickets here.
Tickets are also still available for the San Francisco event at the Legion of Honour on 14th July where Jill de Jong (official model in 2002) will be present.

Watch the London event's promo video "Coming Home" below...

Exclusive interview with Duncan Airlie James (Terry - Lara's Fight Trainer in Tomb Raider 2018)



In celebration of the new Tomb Raider movie launching today, we have something special to share with you.
After being introduced by a mutual friend, we had the pleasure of interviewing Duncan Airlie James - Scottish actor and martial artist who portrays Lara's fight trainer Terry in the movie.
Special shout-out to Nicolette McKeown for making this possible!
So, without further adieu...

TDD: How did you first hear about the project?
DAJ: The first I heard about the project was when my agent Peter sent me through info for the self tape audition that they were conducting. I did that, and like every other audition, it was submitted and I just "leave it behind". Whatever it happens to be. If it then "comes in" later, so to speak, then that's a bonus.
When I found out I had got the part, after I had done the second audition, with the lovely Suzie Figgis, the scenes I was doing for the film were when Lara C. is training in martial arts. My background in that I think helped with me being right for the role.

TDD: Where were your scenes filmed?
DAJ: Almost the entire film was shot in South Africa, but my scenes were in London!!
A fantastic few days.
Screenshot from some behind the scenes footage of Alicia Vikander (Lara Croft) and Duncan Airlie James (Terry) on set. CONTAINS SPOILERS. 

TDD: Can you tell us more about your martial arts background?
DAJ: Okay sure. Briefly, I was a multi World Thai and Kickboxing champion, and fought in K-1 in Japan, when K-1 was huge!!! I am possibly THE most well known globally Scottish kickboxer and fighter, although it is a few years ago now! Lol. My fight highlights are on my website!
I was also a pioneer of MMA in Scotland way back although I didn't really fight/compete in that.

TDD: What was Alicia Vikander like to work with?
DAJ: Alicia was a complete and total "wee gem", as we say in Scotland. Haha. I mean, immediately I had a great "vibe" of her being a total, serious, dedicated professional, who really wanted to do a great job!I mean in terms of being the best "fighter" she could be. It was an absolute and genuine delight working with her, and she truly looks the "real deal" in my humble opinion!
I'm old enough to be her dad for God's sake, and I learned a lot from just watching her consider her role, and how she was approaching things.
Lara (Alicia Vikander) spars with her MMA training partner in this official movie still. Copyright: Warner Bros. 
DAJ: A good few times, Alicia banged her shins against her training partner, and you could hear it!
I mean, the kind of thing I would do when I was bloody fighting!!! Lol. But, she pushed through the pain and kept focusing on wanting to/needing to get it right. A fantastic work approach and ethic. Of course, Roar [Uthaug], the director had a great say in how these scenes were done.

TDD: Lastly, how does it feel to be a part of such a huge franchise?
DAJ: Well it has been awesome! I mean, I am just a small role, but....to work with someone of Alicia's level, and indeed ALL the cast and crew were truly excellent and a joy to work with, it was a great experience for me.
To be part of such a mammoth global "franchise" or story or whatever, is a great honour and I hope it does massively well at the box office.
EXCLUSIVE: Duncan Airle James (Terry) with Alicia Vikander (Lara Croft) on set of Tomb Raider 2018. NOT TO BE SHARED ANYWHERE ELSE.
EXCLUSIVE: Duncan Airle James (Terry) with Alicia Vikander (Lara Croft) on set of Tomb Raider 2018. NOT TO BE SHARED ANYWHERE ELSE.
Special thanks to Duncan for giving us this interview! Find more info on his website.

Tomb Raider Movie European Premiere and Fan Screenings!


European premiere in London. From left to right: Dame Kristen Scott Thomas, Alicia Vikander, Roar Uthaug (Director) and Jamie Winstone.
Source: Warner Bros UK.
Last night, 6th March 2018, saw the European premiere of the Tomb Raider movie reboot. The leading lady, some of her co-stars and director hit the red carpet in their finest!
Alicia Vikander was accompanied by her husband Michael Fassbender and she wore an elegant oriental style dress with, to our delight, a classic Lara hairstyle!
Alicia Vikander on the red carpet. Source: Warner Bros. UK.
Signing autographs for fans. Source: Warner Bros. UK.
Source: Warner Bros. UK.
Dame Kristen Scott Thomas on the red carpet. Source: Warner Bros. UK.
Watch the official video below...

Recently though, on 2nd March, Lara Croft cosplayers were invited to pose and watch the film with their fellow fans at a private screening in Berlin. The leading lady also paid them a visit...
Alicia Vikander meeting fellow Laras at Berlin Fan Screening. Source: Warner Bros. Germany.

Alicia Vikander posing with Lara Croft cosplayers at Berlin Fan Screening. Source: Warner Bros. Germany.

Signing Ani Croft's replica diary from the film. Source: Warner Bros. Germany.

It doesn't end there! Across the pond, while the stars were dazzling on the London premiere red carpet, fans were invited to their own special screening in Boston...
Annie AKA The Cosplay Mom (Official US Lara Croft Cosplay Ambassdor) at Boston Fan Screening.
Photo courtesy of Mason Sylvia.
Mason Sylvia and Annie AKA The Cosplay Mom (Official US Lara Croft Cosplay Ambassdor) at Boston Fan Screening.
Photo courtesy of Mason Sylvia.
From left to right: Mason Sylvia, Sara Croft (admin of tombraidercosplay.com) and Annie AKA The Cosplay Mom (Official US Lara Croft Cosplay Ambassdor) at Boston Fan Screening.
Photo courtesy of Mason Sylvia.