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ONM Remembered – #453

“Galleon has a very unique and original look with some fantastically detailed scenery.”

from Official Nintendo Magazine issue 121 (October 2002)

Toby Gard’s had a been of a kooky career, hasn’t he? He’s the man behind Lara Croft and was involved in the first Tomb Raider, then bogged off to work on Galleon for seven years, a game which nobody ever talks about. Probably because it only ever came out on the original Xbox… and maybe because there wasn’t a polygonal derriere at the centre of the screen at all times.
Looking at footage on YouTube, it genuinely looks like an expansion of the original Tomb Raider with the jaggy edges rounded off. Some definite innovations on the formula, but it’s still clearly built off the structure of the game from 1996, which suits me just fine. I still need to try out the old Tomb Raiders sometime, and knowing there’s a spiritual successor just waiting to be played if I ever dig out my Xbox is something to look forward to! (pity it wasn’t on GameCube though, i’ve never met an original-Xbox disc drive that wasn’t a temperamental piece of shit)

But what did Toby do after Galleon? The development team behind that kind of immediately dissolved and Toby went back to writing stories for Tomb Raider, which I can’t say I’ve heard anyone ever praise or discuss. Then he directed Ninja Gaiden spin-off Yaiba, which got shit from hardcore action game fans for being a lousy action game. And somewhere in there he made a webcomic that’s been left on a gory cliffhanger for… four years now?

The man’s still in the nebulous realm of game design, but it’s rather refreshing to hear of him just bouncing around and seemingly doing whatever he wants, y’know? Some ‘stars’ in the video game field almost face a pressure to live up to their past successes, and any time they resurface is like a lead-up to disappointment, like Paul Cuisset and the ill-received remake of Flashback.
Toby has his immortal legacy of being called the man who made Lara Croft, and for disapproving of Core Design’s over-sexualised treatment of the character. You could argue it’s a bit unfortunate no one ever actually talks about his actual involvement in game design anymore, but hey, it means he’s set for life! The only way he could tarnish that reputation would be if he announced he wasn’t upset at Core for over-sexualising Lara – he was disgusted they didn’t over-sexualise her enough, and introducing a new Lara with proportions so obscene it’d make your head spin. But I can’t imagine he’ll drop that bombshell on us anytime soon.

Anyway, Galleon! Looks fun.
Pity no one talks about it.
Wish I had more to say about it and less conducting bizarre what-if scenarios about Toby Gard’s heel turn.