Developed by Core Design and first released in 1996, Tomb Raider is a highly successful video game franchise that follows the adventures of protagonist Lara Croft, an archaeologist who travels the world in search of ancient treasures. Generally, games in the Tomb Raider franchise are played from a third-person perspective. Players are encouraged to explore areas in order to solve puzzles and collect artifacts. Throughout the series, Lara is equipped with several weapons that can be used to fend off enemies, including her signature dual pistols. The original Tomb Raider was one of the most successful games of 1996. In addition to winning a CODiE award for Best Adventure/Role-Playing Software Game, the game received high scores from many game reviewers and remains one of the highest rated Playstation games on the review aggregate site Metacritic. Tomb Raider was originally praised for its use of a female lead in an action-oriented video game. However, Lara Croft was also the target of controversy as attention turned more toward her measurements than her adventuring. Toby Gard, the game designer who is credited for the creation of Lara Croft, has stated his intent with Lara was to create a stylized heroine who was intelligent and "in control". In the years since Tomb Raider's initial release, the franchise has undergone a number of revisions. In 2003, Core Design's parent company, Edios, transferred development of the Tomb Raider franchise to Crystal Dynamics in hopes that Crystal would breathe new life into the franchise. In 2013, after developing several successful additions to the Tomb Raider Franchise, Crystal Dynamics released a complete reboot simply titled Tomb Raider. The game's developers have declared this new Tomb Raider an origin story that shows how a young, fresh-out-of-academy Lara is transformed into a strong, sharp-shooting survivalist. Most notably, the reboot features a more practical looking Lara than previous titles. Though Crystal retained many of Lara's signature features-such as the shape of her face and her pony tail-the character's body shape was changed to reflect more realistic proportions. In addition to a series of successful video games, the franchise has launched comic books, several novels, a ten-part animated series starring award-winning actress Minnie Driver, and two major motion pictures starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. Tomb Raider has become one of the most recognizable video games ever made, with protagonist Lara Croft reaching iconic status. In 2006, the Tomb Raider heroine was awarded a Guinness World Record for "most successful human video game heroine". As of 2012, the Tomb Raider video game series has collectively sold more than 35 million units.
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