2021 was a big year for Tomb Raider fans as the popular video game (and film) franchise celebrated a new milestone: its 25th anniversary. The Crystal Dynamics community management team did a commendable job of commemorating this special occasion with a year-long program of online events, fan spotlights, and merchandise drops but it was the fans’ own efforts that really caught my attention.
Here are 25 fun and creative ways Tomb Raider fans celebrated this beloved franchise’s 25th anniversary!
1) The #NoLaraLeftBehind Fan Art Collage
The #NoLaraLeftBehind art project was the brainchild of Susie Gander, who put out a call for submissions and invited fans to submit artwork of Lara Croft from any era of the franchise’s history for inclusion in a special Lara-themed collage.
Hi All, here is your #nolaraleftbehind, biggest fanart collage, thank you so much to everyone who sent in their amazing @tombraider art and shoutout to creative crew @AdamLindsay20 @Jho_correa @OfficialRik @el_pez_diablo @ADarkWhimsy @Jackth3Leo @keithbyrnefx pic.twitter.com/VhURckfTwA— Susie Gander (@SusieGander) December 10, 2021
The finished collage is comprised of art from over 40 different artists, making it the Tomb Raider community’s largest collaborative art project to date. And if you’d like to see high-res versions of the submitted artworks, you can find a complete gallery of them over on Susie Gander’s site.
2) Nicolas Croft’s Community Book Project
Back in January 2021, Nicolas Croft embarked on an ambitious project: to gather as many fan testimonials as he could and compile them into a book to send to the folks over at Crystal Dynamics. He asked people to share personal stories of how Tomb Raider, Lara Croft, and the fan community had impacted their lives and he received hundreds of replies over the course of several months.
Due to a leak, it’s a little earlier than expected but here we go!!— Nicolas Croft (@nicolascroft) September 27, 2021
Experience how everyone has built their own story on Tomb Raider with valuable life lesson journeys from the community itself 🧡
Download the Tomb Raider 25th Anniversary Community Book: https://t.co/TjcPyiBzAC pic.twitter.com/j946LPKhzv
A digital version of the community book can be found over here and while all of the testimonies have been made anonymous to preserve the anonymity and safety of the contributors, it’s clear that this 25-year-old franchise has inspired countless fans around the world.
3) Daryl Baxter Publishes The Making of Tomb Raider
Tech writer and gamer Daryl Baxter celebrated the franchise’s anniversary by writing and publishing a book about the development of the first two Tomb Raider games, titled The Making of Tomb Raider.
🦖🚨 'The Making of Tomb Raider', out now! 🚨🦖— Daryl Baxter (@darylbaxter) November 3, 2021
> You can order here from @penswordbooks:https://t.co/E6HZZUKOrY
> Other stores:https://t.co/orqIzsSgki
All new interviews that tell the story of the team's efforts between 1994 and 1998 on TR1 & TR2, and what could have been. pic.twitter.com/KIwKjowZWI
According to Baxter, this book was something he had wanted to write for almost 10 years and is “a detailed story told from the people who were there during the making of the first two games”. The 144-page book was published in October 2021 and you can order your copy today via Amazon or Pen & Sword Books!
4) Vic Pheasy’s #CroftStitch Collection
Freelance writer and cross stitch enthusiast Vic Pheasey celebrated the anniversary by sharing some of her delightful Tomb Raider-themed cross stitch creations with her followers on Twitter.
Just a few of my #CroftStitches I’ve had the pleasure to complete 😍— Vic Pheasey. (@The_Phease) October 25, 2021
Putting so many hours into one piece is always worth it when it comes to Ms. Croft!
I need to finish Alicia now! Happy 25th raiders!#LaraCroft #TombRaider #TR25 #BubblegumStitchesxo @BGstitchesxo pic.twitter.com/ficrhZdD8J
Every piece was meticulously crafted by hand and took many hours to complete. Vic’s current goal is to complete the Alicia Vikander cross stitch piece she began working on in 2020.
5) Emy Dawn’s Pixel Art Cross Stitch Project
On the subject of cross stitch, another cross stitch enthusiast used her talents to create an incredible composition based on the pixel art sprites that had been made by the Tomb Raider community management team.
Finished! I spent 40 days cross stitching some of the official Tomb Raider @tombraider pixel art, along with the logo and Lara's signature. Measuring 14 x 16 inches, it consists of 23,824 stitches🎉🙌 #CroftStitch #CrossStitch #TombRaider #LaraCroft #TR25 #Lara pic.twitter.com/1DSo3yEp27— Emy Dawn (@emydawn) October 18, 2021
Emy Dawn’s cross stitch project took 40 days to complete, measures 14 x 16 inches, and consists of almost 24,000 stitches!
6) Simon Bucher’s #TRHistory Series
If, like me, you enjoy learning about the locations, myths, and artefacts featured in the Tomb Raider games, you should check out Simon Bucher’s #TRHistory threads on Twitter.
For the first post in my #TRHistory series about selected objects and themes in the @tombraider games I want to highlight of one of the most recognizable symbols from TR2 (just in time for its month in the #TombRaider25 celebration) - the logo of the Fiamma Nera! 1/8 pic.twitter.com/nanVHBFJw4— Simon (@SWBucher) March 24, 2021
Simon is no stranger to the community. His insightful YouTube series “History and Geography in Tomb Raider” has received much acclaim from the Tomb Raider fan community and is a much-watch for any history enthusiast.
7) ScionJay96’s Virtual Photography Sessions
Virtual photography – that is, in-game photography using built-in photo modes or third-party software – is a craft like any other and one of the community’s most renowned virtual photographers is @ScionJay96, who specialises in close-ups and portraits such as the one shown below. You can see more of his work over on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
One of my favorite things about Shadow Lara is how much she’s grown since 2013. Look at this warrior🏹#LaraCroft #TombRaider #TR25 #VirtualPhotography #PS5 pic.twitter.com/d6qJA6I0z6— jay📸 (@scionjay96) December 2, 2021
ScionJay is by no means the only virtual photographer out there. Some other talented virtual photographers to follow include @Laraliciously, @HashtaTR, @AthenaRaider, and @Eagle_of_Storm, and you can find many more incredible shots by running a hashtag search on Twitter!
8) Jason Chester’s 3D Blender Models
I’ve featured Jason Chester’s 3D Blender models on this site before and his work never ceases to impress me. In 2021, he decided to put his object modelling and texturing skills to the test and created his own interpretations of artefacts from the Core Design games, including these meteor artefacts from Tomb Raider III.
Moving onto the TR3 meteor artefacts! Glad you guys are enjoying my interpretations so far! 😃— Jason Chester (@jches16) October 4, 2021
Eye of Isis#tombraider #laracroft #blender #3dart @tombraider pic.twitter.com/B73QQ4xmBc
Among his creations are reimagined versions of the Atlantean Scion from the 1996 game, the titular Dagger of Xian, and the Talion. You can find more of his work over on his Twitter account and ArtStation page.
9) RossKroft96’s LEGO Tomb Raider Game Trailer
LEGO aficionado and Tomb Raider fan RossKroft96 decided to celebrate the franchise’s anniversary a few months early by releasing one of his greatest creations to date: a fan-made trailer for the LEGO Tomb Raider game we would all love to own and play.
Ross has created some incredible LEGO-themed creations in the past, including this fun dance party which sees Lara and Kurtis Trent grooving to some tunes from Angel of Darkness and this recreation of Croft Manor he made in LEGO Worlds, which took him over 80 hours to complete.
10) Stellalune Shares a Blast From the Past
If you’re a long-time fan, there’s a very good chance you’ve had to rely on Stella’s immensely helpful walkthroughs at some point. And to celebrate Tomb Raider’s 25th birthday, Stella shared some screenshots of her site’s home page designs from the late 90s onwards.
Happy 25th anniversary to the game that means the world to me! Tomb Raider and I have been through some changes over the years, but it will always be my number one. Thanks for sharing this journey with me, friends. Here's to another 25! #TombRaider #TR25 pic.twitter.com/EiFyebLW1b— Stellalune (@stellalune) October 26, 2021
Stella’s site was the very first Tomb Raider fan site I came across back in the early 2000s and despite the rise of YouTube and the video walkthrough, her site continues to be a lifeline for so many Tomb Raider fans, myself included. Which site design do you have the fondest memories of?
11) Raymond Croft Pays Homage to Lara Croft
Cosplayer and Tomb Raider ambassador Raymond Croft celebrated this milestone event by sharing a photo of his incredible Classic Lara cosplay and fan art he drew many years ago.
25 years ago we were introduced to ancient environments, puzzles like no other, traps, Tombs, and an iconic heroine that tied it all together. It goes without saying that Tomb Raider and Lara Croft has been such a integral part of my life and journey. Happy 25th Tomb Raider 🏔 🦖 pic.twitter.com/12CizrbzGI— ✨ Raymond Croft ✨ (@rayXcroft) October 25, 2021
Did you know that he helped bring a Trinity soldier to life for Shadow of the Tomb Raider? You can find more of Raymond’s cosplay photos over on Instagram.
12) Katie Fleming Thanks the Fan Community
Katie Fleming, another fan from the early days of Tomb Raider, shared an old photo of her once massive collection and thanked the community and franchise for helping her launch her career in the game industry.
🥰💪 Happy 25th Anniversary to Tomb Raider today! Here's an ancient photo with my once massive collection. So many memories, and such a massive part of my life. Grateful for this incredible community. It really is second to none. (con't)#tr25 #tombraider #laracroft pic.twitter.com/HIz33OiwRV— Katie Fleming (@Katie_Fleming) October 25, 2021
Older fans may remember Katie’s old website, which had an impressive 17-year run before closing down for good in 2017.
13) CroftCrazy31’s 25 Years of Lara Croft Documentary
Looking for a concise documentary on the Tomb Raider franchise and its intrepid heroine? Then look no further than CroftCrazy31’s expertly researched and edited documentary, 25 Years of Lara Croft.
Narrated by Sam Cole and featuring music and footage from the games and spin-off media, the documentary explores Lara’s origins, the different iterations of this beloved character, her jump to the big screen, and the impact this best-selling video game series has had on the gaming industry and fans’ lives.
14) A Pilgrimage to Hatfield House
Two fans chose to celebrate the anniversary with a pilgrimage to Hatfield House, the Hertfordshire country house that was used for the exterior shots of Croft Manor in the two Angelina Jolie films.
25 years ago today, Lara Croft was introduced to the world! @OfficialRik and I continued our little pilgrimage to Hatfield House, which sadly was closed to the public today, but the old palace looked surprisingly similar to the classic Lara’s Home! #TR25 pic.twitter.com/i3DNiwRYHL— GeckoKid 🏳️🌈 (@GeckoKid_WOW) October 25, 2021
While the house was closed to the public that day, GeckoKid and OfficialRik managed to pose for a few photos and noted that the Old Palace looked remarkably similar to Lara’s mansion in the early Core Design games. A humble abode indeed.
15) Carving Pumpkins and Cooking Up a Feast
Tomb Raider fan @CharmedChainsaw decided to take advantage of the anniversary’s proximity to Halloween and carved a Lara-themed pumpkin to celebrate the occasion.
25 years of an icon, happy 25th anniversary to Lara Croft and Tomb Raider and happy Halloween! #TR25 #LaraCroft #TombRaider25thAnniversary #Halloween #Pumpkin pic.twitter.com/xBsjSHkULi— Shiki (@CharmedChainsaw) October 25, 2021
And a few days later, he prepared his first recipe from the official Tomb Raider Cookbook, the Peruvian stir-fry dish lomo saltado. If you’d like to try your hand at some recipes inspired by Lara’s adventures, check out my Taste Raider features or treat yourself to a copy of the cookbook!
16) Hedi Publishes Post-Underworld Fan Fiction
Tombeau Croft webmaster Hedi celebrated the occasion by publishing some new fan fiction. His story, titled Tomb Raider: The Dark Hours, explores what happened to the Doppelganger after the events of Underworld.
The Prologue + Chapter 1 of my novel/fanfic for the #TR25 celebration! The story is my own vision of what happens to the Doppelganger after the events of TRU's DLCs. I hope you'll enjoy reading it ❤️ Feel free to send me your feedback and your thoughts!https://t.co/drvi6M6sNI— Hedteur/Hedi (@Hedteur) October 25, 2021
At the time of writing, the prologue and first two chapters of Dark Hours were available to read here and Hedi will release new chapters as and when they’re ready. Follow him on Twitter to find out when new chapters are available.
17) A Tribute from a Tomb Raider Pfangirl
Cosplayer and writer Noelle “Pfangirl” Adams is always finding ways to incorporate Lara’s ethos into her daily life and #LiveMoreLara. On the franchise’s 25th anniversary, she took the time to post some of her cosplay photos and paid tribute to the video game series that changed her life.
As we're celebrating #TombRaider25 this week...— Noelle Adams (@pfangirl) October 28, 2021
Some of you have heard my story already, but here is a video game (and by extension a franchise) that changed my life. No exaggeration.
Thank you to everyone who has shaped Lara's journey, and shared in the adventure with me. pic.twitter.com/wDmhjBpFD4
You can learn more about Noelle’s accomplishments and thoughts on Tomb Raider by following her on Twitter or reading my July 2020 interview with her.
18) A Week of Tomb Raider Goodness
Gaming news site TheGamer devoted an entire week to Tomb Raider interviews, listicles, and opinion pieces. Among these were Benjamin Wincote’s ranked list of every Croft Manor from the games and Jade King’s piece on why the Tomb Raider franchise needs to bring back dinosaurs.
Tomb Raider Week has been a busy one for TheGamer, with lots of interviews and critical pieces all based on one of gaming's biggest icons. https://t.co/7g7fyuuUJf— TheGamer (@thegamerwebsite) November 26, 2021
And feel free to check out Stacey Henley’s article on how Tomb Raider had inspired fans to follow in Lara Croft’s footsteps. I was one of the Tomb Raider fans she interviewed for her piece and I got to talk about how Tomb Raider Chronicles had inspired me to visit Trajan’s Market in Rome.
19) Turning Lara into a Work of Art
Artist Bekim Berisha celebrated this joyous occasion by revealing their Classic Lara-themed oil painting, a piece they had been working on for some time.
Happy Tomb Raider 25th anniversary!— Bekim Berisha (@bekimxberisha) October 25, 2021
Lara Croft - oil on canvas#TR25 #LaraCroft #TombRaider pic.twitter.com/JJ4dlupB6V
Berisha has worked on a number of Tomb Raider-themed oil paintings, such as this homage to Shadow of the Tomb Raider. You can find more examples of their eye-catching artwork over on their Instagram account.
20) In Tune with Dean Kopri
Musician and composer Dean Kopri celebrated the 25th anniversary by sharing his remake of Nathan McCree’s main theme from Tomb Raider (1996).
https://t.co/cYW1qYrWBf Happy 25th anniversary to this wonderful theme which, for me, started it all!!! As @BlondShelley once said "Let's go adventuring"! 🥰 Check out the reimagined version I did 😄 pic.twitter.com/sUpZVQllBx— Dean Kopri🤘🎹 (@KopriDean) October 25, 2021
Dean has composed and recorded dozens of cover versions and reimaginings of tracks from the Core Design games (you can find a playlist of them here). You can support his work by following him on Twitter, subscribing to his YouTube channel, or buying him a coffee.
21) AniiCroft Celebrates Her Fandom
One of my favourite cosplayers, AniiCroft, donned her Classic Lara outfit and posed for a photo with two of her Lara figurines, her Premier Collection boxset, and some colourful paper streamers.
Happy 25th anniversary, @tombraider!! 🎉🎉❤️ #TR25 pic.twitter.com/zu3XaU9esN— Anibelle (@AniiCroft) October 28, 2021
AniiCroft is the admin for the official fan site Tomb Raider Web and is the official Tomb Raider localisation ambassador. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.
22) Tomb Render
MicheleCROFT from Raiding the Globe celebrated the 25th anniversary by creating an incredible render which honours the three main eras of Tomb Raider.
Happy 25th anniversary, Tomb Raider! 🥳🥂— Michele (@micheleCR0FT) October 25, 2021
I made a render for the occasion. I hope you like it!
✨HQ version at cgsociety:https://t.co/9RSJwEQdwm@tombraider #TombRaider #TR25 #fanart pic.twitter.com/uivT1el9yb
You can find a high-quality version of the render over on CGSociety. And if you haven’t done so already, feel free to check out Raiding the Globe, one of my favourite fan sites and home to the Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation HD project.
23) Honouring a Pop Culture Icon
Former Eidos Interactive producer and associate brand manager Mike Schmitt reflected on his time working for the Tomb Raider brand in the 1990s and 2000s.
25 years ago today I remember the excitement at #EidosInteractive in San Francisco as we released the first @tombraider game! I feel extremely honored to have worked on the franchise for over 10 years & seeing it become a true piece of pop culture! #CoreDesign #TR25 pic.twitter.com/obRYbeOU1N— Mike Schmitt (@doormatmike) October 25, 2021
Mike shared a photo of some of the Lara Croft figures he owns and a rare printed copy of version 1.3 of the Tomb Raider game design document, which dates back to March 1995 and can be read in its entirety over here.
24) Behind the Scenes With Rhianna Pratchett
Writer Rhianna Pratchett (Tomb Raider 2013, Rise of the Tomb Raider) celebrated the anniversary by sharing a thread of photos she had taken during her time with Crystal Dynamics.
For #TombRaider25 here are some behind the scenes pics. Firstly, my excitement at (briefly) getting my own office @CrystalDynamics. pic.twitter.com/C4cr2PSdnU— Rhianna Pratchett 🇺🇦🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@rhipratchett) October 29, 2021
These behind the scenes images include a close-up of the nameplate on her office door, a photo of the welcome package she put together for fellow writer Gail Simone, and a photo of the Writers Guild of America award she received for her work on Rise.
25) National Colouring Book Day, Tomb Raider Style
The fan community celebrated National Colouring Book Day (August 2nd) by downloading the Tomb Raider themed colouring pages that artist Virginia Berrocal had created for the official site. Here was my own attempt at using Procreate to colour in this Tomb Raider (1996) themed colouring page, albeit a few months late!
Tried my hand at some digital painting on Procreate. This piece is based off of one of the free colouring pages created by Virginia Berrocal for the official @tombraider site. 😀— Tomb Raider Horizons 🏹🏺🌍 (@TRHorizons) December 10, 2021
You can find all the #TR25 colouring pages over here: https://t.co/fiqW9Q8lvi pic.twitter.com/BF4C84MbWT
If you’re looking for a low-stress activity to keep you entertained in these pandemic times, why not download (or print) some colouring pages and channel your inner artist? You can find the complete collection of colouring pages over on the official Tomb Raider site.
Did you do anything special to celebrate Tomb Raider‘s milestone anniversary? Feel free to share links to your creations in the comments section below!
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