Codex Gamicus
Core Design
Type Defunct
Founded 1988
Defunct 2006
Headquarters Derby, England
Products Video games
Parent Company Eidos Interactive

Core Design was a British video game developer best known for creating the popular Tomb Raider series.


Core Design was set up in 1988 by Chris Shrigley, Andy Green, Rob Toone, Terry Lloyd, Simon Phipps, Dave Pridmore, Jeremy Heath-Smith and Greg Holmes in Derby, England

The studio was part of distribution company CentreGold when it was acquired by Eidos Interactive in 1996. Eidos subsequently sold most of CentreGold.

Core had a brief history of producing titles for the Sega consoles (Thunderhawk for Sega CD was arguably one of a handful of games that took advantage of the platform).

Tomb Raider[]

The company is widely known for the Tomb Raider series, created by Toby Gard and Paul Howard Douglas, which was released in 1996 and followed by several sequels. The success of Tomb Raider and its subsequent sequels played a huge part in keeping Eidos Interactive financially solvent.

After the release of the original Tomb Raider, which had debuted on the Sega Saturn platform ahead of the PlayStation version (they had been developed simultaneously) Sony Computer Entertainment recognised the game's huge popularity and the potential mass appeal of future Tomb Raider titles. They offered Core Design and Eidos Interactive an exclusivity agreement, to ensure that the first sequel would not be developed for either the Saturn or the N64. The full terms of this offer have never been revealed, but it is likely to have included either a lump sum cash offer, a reduction in the third-party royalty rate or a contractual cross-promotional agreement (perhaps even all three).

By making the PlayStation the only console with Tomb Raider II, Sony Computer Entertainment was able to benefit by attracting new PlayStation owners leveraging Tomb Raider as a killer application and using Lara Croft as a marketing character alongside Sony's own first party characters. Core Design also had the advantage of developing only for a single console, rather than several at once. This exclusivity agreement was further extended to cover the third game in the series. The fourth and fifth games in the franchise, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation and Tomb Raider: Chronicles respectively, were also released for the Sega Dreamcast.

Later years[]

In 2003, parent company Eidos moved development of the Tomb Raider franchise from Core Design to Crystal Dynamics, another Eidos-owned studio,[1] after the sixth instalment, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, was met with mixed reactions by reviewers and was not a large commercial success. This prompted three key members of the Core Design team and several others to leave the company and establish a game development team of their own, Circle Studio.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, a key member of the company and executive producer of the vast majority of their games, resigned from Core Design on 15 July 2003.[2]

On 11 May 2006 it was announced that Core's assets and staff were sold to independent development group Rebellion. Eidos still owns the Core brand and IP, including those of Tomb Raider.

In June 2006 screenshots were released showing development of a PSP version of an anniversary edition of the original Tomb Raider, developed by Core Design. Days later, SCI, the by-now owners of Eidos Interactive, issued a press release announcing that Crystal Dynamics would be producing the game, rather than Core Design.[3]

Remnants of the Core Design team (under the banner of Rebellion) went on to work on several titles in the years since including Shellshock 2: Blood Trails and Rogue Warrior. The Derby studio was closed by Rebellion in 2010 due to an expiring lease and the inability for the company to find a financier for the Derby studio.


Core Design had developed and published numerous games in their time, including the following titles:


  1. "Lara leaves UK". BBC News. 2003-07-31. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  2. Fox, Fennec (2003-07-15). Tomb Raider Co-Creator Steps Down. Retrieved on 2009-07-01
  3. McWhertor, Michael (2006-06-17). PSP: Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary Edition Cancelled, Announced. Retrieved on 2009-07-01

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