The creative director bears the all-important responsibility of giving direction and vision to a project. For the last pillar release, Tomb Raider Underworld, Eric Lindstrom was it — but Mr. Lindstrom is no longer working with Team Lara.
By Tomb Raider Biz’s count, we’ve three creative directors left at Crystal Dynamics. One of them, Daniel Neuburger, was creative head for downloadable side-series title Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. There are two others.
Either both of them are heading creative duties for Tomb Raider 9, or just one of them is, or, god forbid, both of them are plus Neuburger. Now we’ve our daily-sleuthing prop glasses on, let’s see if we also have the answer.
First there’s long-time Crystal Dynamics mainstay Noah Hughes. Hughes has been working with the Redwood-based team since 1994, where he first worked as video editor for PC/Saturn title The Horde. After a short leave from Crystal Dynamics (he briefly worked with Electronic Arts on three titles), he returned in time for development of FPS title Project: Snowblind and later on Tomb Raider Legend, for which he worked as director of design. He continued work as director of design for series special release Tomb Raider Anniversary and later on Tomb Raider Underworld.
After taking on responsibility as design director for Team Lara’s last three major releases, Hughes is now one of three studio creative directors. Could Hughes be the creative head behind the alleged direction Tomb Raider 9 is taking? — But then still we’ve Timothy Longo, yet another creative director at Crystal Dynamics.
Unlike Hughes, Longo has only been recently involved with Team Lara, starting work at Redwood HQ with the Wii version of Tomb Raider Anniversary, for which he was creative director. In 2007, Longo talked creative process at the IGDA forum in San Francisco.
For years since 1996, Longo was involved in the development of various Star Wars computer and video game titles with posts ranging from QA tester to level designer. Prior to working on Tomb Raider, he provided creative vision for LucasArts 2005 title Star Wars: Republic Commando as game director. His transfer to Crystal Dynamics to work on Tomb Raider Anniversary would end the Star Wars dev streak.
Now, whether the “leaked” images, details and features of the next Tomb Raider are all part of the creative vision either of these two guys created for the team remains to be seen. Was the survival-horror, open-world concept just one of many candidates for creative direction for Tomb Raider 9? Are current game dev duties at Redwood HQ derived from this vision?
We’ll unfortunately have to wait come official unveil of Tomb Raider 9 for the creative director to confirm the series reboot. For now, stick with us for more of the usual web-raiding, info-scouring and deets-sleuthing.