Lara Croft is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the Square Enix (previously Eidos Interactive) video game series Tomb Raider. She is presented as a beautiful, intelligent, and athletic English archaeologist-adventuress who ventures into ancient, hazardous tombs and ruins around the world. Created by a team at UK developer Core Design that included Toby Gard, the character first appeared in the 1996 video game Tomb Raider.
She has also appeared in video game sequels, printed adaptations, a series of animated short films, feature films (portrayed by Angelina Jolie), and merchandise related to the series. Official promotion of the character includes a brand of apparel and accessories, action figures, and model portrayals. Croft has also been licensed for third-party promotion, including television and print advertisements, music-related appearances, and as a spokes-model.
Critics consider Lara Croft a significant game character in popular culture. She holds six Guinness World Records, has a strong fan following, and is among the first video game characters to be successfully adapted to film. Lara Croft is also considered a sex symbol, one of the earliest in the industry to achieve widespread attention. The character’s influence in the industry has been a point of contention among critics; viewpoints range from a positive agent of change in video games to a negative role model for young girls.