In 1996, Core Design and Eidos Interactive launched the franchise that would prove to be one of the most important and hotly-debated of all time within the gaming industry: Tomb Raider. It commenced the Tomb Raider media franchise, of which Lara Croft has always been the headline protagonist. Since then, it’s moved across all forms of entertainment media, earned a devout following, and continues to go strongly to this day.
On the big screen, Tomb Raider recently rebooted the series in 2018, casting Alicia Vikander in the titular role. Earlier this year, during the franchise’s 25th anniversary, new director Misha Green unveiled the working title for the sequel, Tomb Raider: Obsidian, which is penned for a 2022 release. Having been the showrunner on Lovecraft Country, it seems likely that the next film will delve more into the monster and mythologies that are so prevalent in the games.
Still, since the March 16th, 2018 release of the reboot movie, which almost matched 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider at the worldwide box office with $274.65 million compared to $274.7 million, the franchise has continued to grow, with more than another movie being on the horizon for Lara Croft fans.
Continuing to grow the franchise in other media
Above all else, Tomb Raider is a video game, but cinematic romps with Angelina Jolie and Vikander have made it a somewhat consistent notable outlier of decent game-based movies when most tend to flop. It’s not just on consoles and on the big screen that Tomb Raider appeases its fans, though, with the brand and iconic lead being so popular that Tomb Raider has been able to expand across other media.
On August 5th, 2019, Triple Edge Studios unveiled a new foray into the entertainment circles of online casino gaming for the British archaeologist with Lara Croft: Temples and Tombs. It remains a mainstay among other titles on the slot games page of notable online casino sites and marks a distinct aesthetic change for the series. There were Tomb Raider slots before that drew from the original trilogy, but Temples and Tombs certainly draw inspiration from the new, more realistic form and places ‘Lara Croft’ as the headline, as opposed to ‘Tomb Raider.’ Furthermore, in a move that’s quite surprisingly a first for the franchise, Tomb Raider will be getting its own anime show. The Japanese-style series will be delivered by Legendary Television to a certain colossal streaming platform, and it’s already cast the perfect lead. To voice Lara Croft, Legendary has turned to London-born Hayley Atwell, who plays Peggy Carter in the Marvel Universe.
Lara Croft’s not done with gaming yet
As a part of the 25th-anniversary celebrations for Tomb Raider, the current IP handlers showcased the survival horror prototype created prior to the launch of the well-received 2013 reboot. Entitled ‘Tomb Raider: Ascension,’ Square Enix released three videos showcasing the concept and some early in-game footage, with it all showing, at the very least, that a much darker fantasy setting would work for the series.
A game that never came to be wasn’t all that Tomb Raider got up to in this landmark year, though. On October 28th, 2021, it was announced that Guardian of Light and Temple of Osiris would mark the franchise’s first entries on the Nintendo Switch console. Furthermore, following on from the concluding chapter in the origins trilogy of Tomb Raider games, which came out after the 2018 film was released, another game is in the works.
Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montréal crafted a superb origin trilogy for the Tomb Raider franchise, perfectly blending this new, inexperienced character with the exploration, horrors, and mythologies that make the series so iconic. After releasing their comprehensive collection for the trilogy, Tomb Raider: Definitive Survivor Trilogy, it was announced that another game will arrive that shall unify the reboot origins story with the classics.
Will Tomb Raider 2 be on HBO Max?
In 2021, Warner Bros. decided to experiment with its biggest cinematic franchises by launching them on upstart new streaming platform HBO Max alongside their theatrical release dates. Naturally, cinemas weren’t best pleased as potential customers could just sit at home and see many of the biggest releases of the year, including Judas and the Black Messiah, Godzilla vs. Kong, In the Heights, The Suicide Squad, and Dune.
Luckily, theatres and film fans will be happy to hear that Tomb Raider won’t be following in the footsteps of the major releases like Dune, now that Warner Bros. has struck a new deal. Earlier this year, it was announced that WB films will return to theatres exclusively in 2022, with a 45-day exclusivity window prior to potentially hitting streaming platforms. With Tomb Raider 2 tentatively aligned as a late 2022 release, it should be a cinematic release and not have a day one HBO Max launch.
Even on its 25th anniversary, Tomb Raider is still going strong, with even bigger years to come across several forms of media.