Eric Lindstrom, ex-Creative Director at Crystal Dynamics, has spilled all on the development of Tomb Raider Underworld, after he was one of 30 employees made redundant from the developer following disappointing sales.
In a post on the Tomb Raider Forums, Lindstrom defended his game upon claims disappointing sales were down to a lack of game polish - and also responded to Eidos hints of a 'female-friendly' makeover for Lara.
"I don't know where [the female-friendly makeover] came from," he posted. "I feel that even though Lara has attributes that appeal to males, the games doesn't pander to a male audience. Look at all the other games out there with female heroes, and look at their bustlines and what they are (barely) wearing. My Lead Designer Harley (a woman) agrees that Tomb Raider is not a gender specific game, and research shows that it appeals to female gamers very well.
"One could say that we were rushed in making these Tomb Raider games," he added, "but you can also say that we tried to do too much in the time we were given. Who's right? Well, it does come down to expectations. If the publisher expects something of certain size and quality in a certain time frame, it can lead to rushing that is unavoidable, but if we were better at our jobs could we have done it? Maybe.
"The real world is a murky place, and I try to avoid accusations I don't 100% believe in or can prove."
On the forum Lindstrom continued to answer questions from the community, which included confirming that Underworld's 360-exclusive content is content cut from the main game.
"It is absolutely true that part of the DLC came from elements cut from Underworld, and it is absolutely false that this was done because the DLC was looking thin," he said.
As for the disappointing sales, which missed expectations in the US by some $20m, Lindstrom said it doesn't stop him from being proud of his game.
"Even where I think the story didn't express itself as well as I wanted, I am proud of that in both Legend and Underworld. Help on Demand was another, as small as it was...and you'd be surprised, but this feature more than all the others was what interested publications like Newsweek.
"If I knew the sales figures Eidos wanted, such that the layoff wouldn't have happened, I couldn't say, but I don't really know their hole card. Clearly it was higher than 1.5 million!"