Ok, let's make one thing very clear right away: All cheat codes, dark wizardry, and even the tricks that the cool kids at school told us would totally get Lara Croft to take off their clothes were hoaxes, and so was the Nude Raider mod – or so we thought. In the nearly 30 years that have passed since the release of the first game, we've seen a lot of Deviantart artwork that shows us that Lara Croft really does spend a lot of time without clothes on, and we've even seen evidence that Nude Raider, a mod that replaced Lara's clothed model with one even less equipped to deal with extreme weather was actually a thing. It was such a big thing, in fact, that the people behind the game even attempted legal action to stop the images from polluting the web. One thing we didn't know, however, is that it allegedly might've been a mod secretly created by the game's own devs, after all.

One of the things we know about the classic Lara Croft model is that she had large boobs. We know that because, uh, because video game outlets of the time just couldn't stop talking about it. It's easy to misremember Eidos always oversexualizing Lara to promote the game, but aside from the aforementioned boobs, they didn't really market Lara as a sex icon while promoting the first game.

promotional art for Tomb Raider 1

Embracer, Raiding the globe

Actual promotional material from the first game

It was only after the massive success of the original Tomb Raider that the publishers had the genius idea of using sleazy exploitative means to achieve what they'd already achieved organically. Toby Gard, the creator of Lara Croft didn't like the way things were going for the character and decided to leave the series, only returning many years later for Tomb Raider: Legend. In the meantime, Tomb Raider's promotional materials began to look less like just cool variations of this:

Promotional Art for Tomb Raider 1

Embracer, Raiding the globe

And started including more and more of this:

Sexy post Tomb Raider 1 promo art

Embracer, Raiding the globe

She's not even wearing guns!

Hard to ignore the correlation, right? On top of that, Gard then gave a now-deleted interview where he claims that the first person to dream about the possibility of Lara going naked in a game was his company's very own boss – because he allegedly pressured Gard into putting it in the game.

Embracer, Raiding the globe

A render possibly modeled after Gard's boss look as he asked to include a naked Lara in the code.

This makes it very hard to believe that the infamous mod was anything other than an inside job (yeah, we've said it) meant to sell more copies of the game (or probably for the enjoyment of Gard's boss). Either way, the saddest part of it all is how the messed-up history behind the development of the Tomb Raider series is, so much more interesting than any mystery ever uncovered by Lara Herself – except perhaps for the one about her being the villain the entire time.


Top Image: Core Design, Embracer Group

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