We’re lucky sods here at bit-tech. Not only do we get to play with the latest and best hardware on your behalf (though judging by Richard’s current expression that’s something that causes more grief than gladness), but we also get to occasionally get out of the office and go on press trips too!
On our latest excursion we popped along to Luton ‘Croft Manor’ Hoo, a manor estate outside of London where Eidos was showing off the latest build of Tomb Raider: Underworld.
Developed by Crystal Dynamics, Underworld is a straight-up sequel to Tomb Raider: Legend and sees Lara trying to find a way into the realm of Avalon in order to rescue her mother, who got trapped there when Lara was a child.
At the event we got a chance to go hands-on with the latest playable build of the game, as well as trying our hands at some Lara-esque activities.
Unfortunately, with time being so rushed, we didn’t get a chance to interview the new Lara Croft as portrayed by Alison Carroll. Thankfully though, life is full of second chances so we were sure to follow-up with Lara after the event and see what she thought of stepping into those old, brown hotpants – something which sounds a lot grosser than it should.
bit-tech:Hi Alison! Can you start by telling us exactly how you got offered the chance to model as Lara Croft? Did you actively pursue the role?
Alison Carroll: I was put up for the role by my agent as I was the only gymnast on the books so I went along to the audition with hundreds of other hopeful girls. There was a circus acrobat, a kick boxer, a martial arts expert, dancers and stunt performers and we were all there in our home made Lara outfits.
I did my audition and then got a call back for the next round. This time I got to try on the actual Lara costume, do some of my back flips and hand stands in front of some of the Eidos Tomb Raider people, and I got the role!
bt:How do you feel about replacing Karima Adebibe and stepping into the same boots as Rhona Mitra and the other Laras? AC: All the other models have been absolutely amazing and I feel very privileged to be following in their footsteps. Karima, Rhona and all the other models have all done great work.
bt:Did Karima or Eidos offer you any advice on how to play Lara or respond to the fans?
AC: As an actress I researched the role to enable me to bring Lara to life, but the best part of the job is meeting the fans and they’ve all been very supportive and have made my job very enjoyable.
bt:Do you think you bring anything new to Lara's character? We know you've got some experience as a gymnast from the demonstration you did back at the Luton Hoo Tomb Raider event. You were very impressive.
AC: Oh, thank you! I was actually chosen for the role because of my gymnastic background, which means I’m able to bring the physical side of Lara to life, something which hasn’t really ever been done before.
bt:Apart from your acrobatic skills, do you have any other skills that think make you a good fit for Lara? We saw you try your hand at knife throwing before and you were certainly much better than we were – have you been practicing any other skills?
AC: Well, I also enjoy going rock climbing, scuba diving and high diving, all of which Lara does in the new game. I'm also a gymnast and can do a lot of the moves that Lara does, so I think Lara and I share quite a few skills.