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Fan Spotlight: Raymond Croft

Jun 7, 2024

Raymond Croft, a longtime Tomb Raider fan and one of the community's cosplay legends, has seen Lara Croft as a source of inspiration since an early age. Ray has been involved in many fan and official projects, which we will explore in depth today in this spotlight. 

Q: How did your Tomb Raider journey begin? 

My Tomb Raider journey began when I was just six years old. My first Tomb Raider game was Tomb Raider 2 and I would play it all the time. I was good at completing the first level (The Great Wall) and would tell all my friends at school that I beat the game when I had only completed the first level. It is a challenging level though, so completing it at six years old is something I still smile about till this day. I didn’t know much about Lara Croft or the Tomb Raider brand then, but I was so captivated by Lara and her love for adventure. I had this strong character in front of me that could quite literally do anything and would stop at nothing to reach her goals. I had to know more about her. 

Q: What got you into cosplay professionally? 

I remember being a kid and drawing myself as Lara with a green top, shorts, and boots. She was a symbol of power to me and drawing myself in her clothes as a kid is like boys who were drawing themselves as Superman. I still have the drawings I drew of myself wearing Lara’s iconic classic outfit.  


As I got older and my love for Lara grew, I was introduced to the world of cosplay by several of my closest friends. I was nervous to cosplay as Lara because I look nothing like her, but I was inspired by many other men in the community that would cosplay as Lara. I thought I would give it a shot. Once I started cosplaying as Lara I couldn’t stop. It felt empowering to create some of her most iconic outfits. My love for cosplay continued to grow as I would create various outfits, create a plethora of props, and find the most incredible shoot locations. 

Q: What are some of your favourite cosplay shots and can you share the story behind them? 


Some of my favourite shots would have to be my Shadow of the Tomb Raider cosplay. That cosplay has so many intricate parts, and it was the cosplay I wore to help promote Shadow of The Tomb Raider at E3 and San Diego Comic Con.  

I also did a photoshoot where I worked with a 20-foot reticulated python. Being able to work with such a beautiful animal while wearing a Lara Croft cosplay is a highlight of everything I’ve done.  


I also really enjoyed cosplaying as my vision for Unified Lara. It was fun to get creative and combine aspects of all 3 generations of Lara. I love my unified Lara cosplay because all generations of Lara mean so much to me and it was endearing to be able to bring them all with me. 


Q: You're also a Tomb Raider collector with arguably the most incredible Tomb Raider-themed bathroom around. Why is Lara Croft such an important figure in your life? 


Lara created a safe space for me when I didn’t have one. There would be times where I would be alone, upset, disconnected, and all I had was my PlayStation, Lara Croft, and Tomb Raider. The world of Tomb Raider was a place where I could go that would ease so much pain that I was experiencing. To this day, I still play Tomb Raider during times of sadness. I had the games, the movies, and the comics to keep me company. It seemed like there was always a version of Lara that could keep me company. Lara Croft is a reminder of what I have been through and what I’ve done to overcome many obstacles, she is a symbol of peace for me. Having her around my home brings me great comfort and tranquility. 

Q: You wrote, directed, produced, and starred in a short fan-made trailer called Tomb Raider: Wrath of Seth. What sparked the idea behind its creation? 


Wow I could go on and on about Wrath of Seth. It was such a huge project. I’m so happy so many people still enjoy it. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation is one of my favourite Tomb Raider games. Mainly because Lara must face and fix the consequences of her actions. In every Tomb Raider game Lara always saves the world, but I was curious to what a Tomb Raider story might look like if she hadn’t. That is how Wrath of Seth found its footing, with the question “What if Lara lived in a world she couldn’t save?” 

Q: The trailer uses some quite complicated VFX shots. What was the process behind creating those shots? 

I was working closely with a VFX artist, Tariq Mehmood, and felt confident he could deliver exactly what I needed. It was a challenge because all communication was done through text and voice memos. We lived in separate parts of the world and his working hours were my sleeping hours. I would describe how I would want the VFX shots to look in detail and he worked incredibly hard until we both felt satisfied with how the VFX looked. It was a lot of work, but I feel we were able to pull it off in the final product. 

Q: You performed stunts, including hanging upside down, for the Shadow of the Tomb Raider key art alongside Jenn Croft. Can you share your experience from that shoot? 


The Shadow shoot is one of my most favourite shoots that I have worked on. It was fun to be a different character than Lara this go round. When I cosplay as Lara there is a certain level of confidence I must exude. Acting as a Trinity soldier that is being hunted by Lara Croft however, I had to exude fear. It was a fun switch up and being able to do stunt work for the shoot made it more interesting. It was also incredible to see all the behind-the-scenes art that we were mimicking to get the most life like representation. 


Q: You represented Lara Croft at the Shadow of the Tomb Raider booth with Jenn Croft at E3 in 2018. What were your favourite moments from the event? 

My favourite moments from these events will always be meeting and hanging out with Tomb Raider fans like me. We all share such similar stories, and it truly does feel like a family that understands you. I have met some of the most amazing people through these events and they are some of my best friends till this day. The kid in me that felt so alone would be so happy to know that he would eventually find so many people just like him. Being able to have friends within this community makes everything so much more exciting and I can’t wait to experience what’s to come with everyone. 


Q: Is there a message you want to convey to the Tomb Raider community? 

Something I have realized about the Tomb Raider community is that Lara means many different things to many different people and all of them are valid. I feel like we all, myself included, try and pinpoint who Lara is based off what she means to us without realizing she may mean something completely different to someone else. I have preferences as anyone else does, but knowing that so many people have their own Lara to look up to is truly beautiful. Like myself, Lara accompanied many of us along our journey and helped to strengthen us in times where we needed someone to see us. While some of us may disagree on who Lara is, it is without a doubt that Lara means a lot to many people, and her ability to be a shining light within someone’s darkness is all the reason why she is one of the best characters of all time. 


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