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Reggie
24-07-07, 16:20
Fans meet with Keir Edmonds
(Hints at the future of Tomb Raider)

Source: http://www.croftcodex.net/eidos_meeting_report.html


Sunday 8th July 2007, I had the pleasure of having a lovely lunch with a pleasant chap called Keir Edmonds. One of the intriguing things about Mr Edmonds is that he works as a Community Manager for Eidos Interactive.
Joining us were five devoted Finnish Tomb Raider fans who have been regular members of a Finnish TR forum & fan group called Atlantis (http://www.tratlantis.com) I only joined recently after being invited to do so. The reason behind the invitation was that they wanted to support the open letter.

A photo of the six of us waiting for our lunch plates is posted at the bottom of this page below my signature. Keir Edmonds is the first one on the right side. I (Heidi Ahlmen) am the third one from the left.
Edmonds contacted me via email little over a week before our Sunday lunch to discuss the open letter.

He told me that even though they did not quite agree with the way Katie Fleming was singled out in the letter, they wanted to know more and more importantly, he wished to know what Eidos could do to help in the matter. At one point in our lengthy and constructive dialogue I mentioned that I was attending an Atlantis TR convention and he said he was actually going to be visiting Finland soon and that he would love to visit the convention as well. Convention is actually perhaps a wee bit big a word for the whole thing – the Finnish TR scene isn’t big (small country and so forth) so we’re not a big bunch of people. Nevertheless, Atlantis members are very devoted and most of them have been fans for a long time.

I told Edmonds that unfortunately the convention would end before he would be here but suggested that I could easily gather most of the same group for a meet-and-greet. He liked the idea and agreed to meet all of us.
What followed was a thoroughly enjoyable day filled with good food, walks around downtown Helsinki, a few pints at a British-style pub and heavy discussions on the past, present and future of the TR franchise and Lara Croft’s online fan base’s inner workings.

The open letter had come to Eidos as a surprise. They hadn’t anticipated such a widespread dissatisfaction towards Katie Fleming’s appearance in the documentary and the Anniversary credits, Edmonds explained that he had not yet been able to look into the fan fiction scene, as his job is quite a new one within the company and when people were being selected for the Anniversary credits they did not have much information on how and by whom the TR fan fiction genre was given birth and who the big players were. Eidos also had little control over the documentary and its purpose had not been to portray the “cream of the crop” – only to show some examples of avid fans. Edmonds was very keen to learn more about the big players in the fan fiction field (Ostercy and Sarah Crisman, among many others).


Tomb Raider as a franchise is of utmost importance to Eidos Interactive. Sales do reflect fans’ likes and dislikes but in Edmonds’ words, “I leave numbers to the PR and sales departments.” The purpose of his job is to keep fans happy. He interacts on a regular basis with fans that run the biggest Tomb Raider websites and told us that forums and fan websites are an important medium of measuring fan reactions to every new feature in the games. Feedback from fans is passed onto Crystal Dynamics as well as the Eidos employees who are responsible for the well-being of the franchise.

I described to him how long I have been participating in different fan fiction authors’ online communities (a decade), and how several of the ways in which Katie Fleming is interacting with fan colleagues would be much frowned-upon in these communities. Edmonds understood this and was very sympathetic. He made no demands towards the open letter of Codex – his attitude towards the letter thing was concern in the form of wanting to know what could be done to lessen our worries.



He also seemed to appreciate the way in which I tried to keep this whole discussion civil and respectful towards Katie even though I have no control over other people’s online conduct. I told Edmonds that many people who had a rather negative view of Katie Fleming had wanted to support the letter by limiting their more radical views to non-publicly available forums in order to keep the discussion from degenerating into a flame war. Keir has been in touch with Katie Fleming before and in his words he might bring the matter of community participation up with her.

Edmonds was also kind to shed some light on future Tomb Raider games, but as per his request I cannot repeat many of the things he revealed. I’ll just say that interesting times are ahead, and that at least in the ears of six long-term TR fans what he told us sounded really good.


No big plans were formed during our meeting, but altogether the whole day left me with a very positive feeling of Eidos’ attitude towards the fan base of its games. Tomb Raider has been around for a long time and keeping fans happy mean that the people who have bought the older games will continue to buy the new ones as well. TR fans are devoted and smart, and such fans are an effective peer-to-peer way of gaining new enthusiastic buyers. In this respect good sales and keeping veteran fans happy are not mutually exclusive goals.

After the meeting we have continued our discussion via email and I am glad to announce that Edmonds will be donating a prize on behalf of Eidos for the third Village of Tokakeriby fan fiction writing competition! More details on the competition can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/ostercy/VOT3.html .
Keir Edmonds is very enthusiastic towards future dialogue between Eidos and fans of Lara – including fan fiction writers. For this I am very glad and hope that the readers of this article – fans of quality Tomb Raider fan fiction – are, too.

Author: Heidi Ahlmen


Its obviously great news that there are apparantly plans which sound this good to 6 long term fans and it certainly increases my confidence that TR8 may yet be a decent game but I'm also keen to speculate what it is that will make the next TR such a hardcore fan friendly game. Hmm...

Also, another thing I'm happy about is that Eidos are open to explore the community and build on relations that have previously been somewhat strained in the past.

Respect goes to Keir who's been working hard at building these bridges.
And I guess that's it from me.

Speculate, debate or simply comment on the report. You know the drill :D

myrmaad
24-07-07, 16:29
That's exactly what I was hoping for.

just*raidin*tomb
24-07-07, 16:38
Dangit, she knows things!:jmp: i wish i knew things! this article does make me feel better in the fact that they are listening to the long time fans.:) its so hard to read this and not get excited. This made me tons happy!:D GOSH DARNIT!:vlol:

Eddie Haskell
24-07-07, 16:46
There is no real consensus about anything regarding Lara and the game in regards to changes, pro or con. One fan's garbage is another's gourmet meal. Some old fans despise the new controls and others like them. Some old fans like the changes in Lara's bio and others loathe them. So to meet with a few "fans" is pretty much window dressing, and even if they listened and implemented what these 6 fans said it could theoretically only placate these few.

No matter what direction they go, many will not like it. So as a business and with Lara as a continuing franchise they have to do what they think will be "successful" for the majority of the market. Unless they have some principles they wish to stand on and care not for the cash-cow that Lara is.

Aurimas
24-07-07, 16:49
They always say that next game will be awersome, they always say that it will be intresting and we always hopping this, but the truth quite often is different, they are saying this probably because we bought that game.

walk_man
24-07-07, 16:54
Edmonds was also kind to shed some light on future Tomb Raider games, but as per his request I cannot repeat many of the things he revealed. I’ll just say that interesting times are ahead, and that at least in the ears of six long-term TR fans what he told us sounded really good.


What does this mean ? She knows something we don't ?

Reggie
24-07-07, 16:54
I can't really vouch for how honest Eidos is being here but if they are taking us and those 6 people who were invited for a ride it will come round to bite them in the butts.

However, I have a feeling they aren't that stupid to screw around with people like that. And if they are? well you'll be right after all and we'll see a repeat of the Legend backlash.

Hopefully that won't happen.

Edit: Don't shoot the messenger or ask him lots of questions, the messenger doesn't know. :p
If you want to inquire further, I suggest you send an email to Heidi: webmaster@croftcodex.net

Pietras
24-07-07, 17:05
Also, another thing I'm happy about is that Eidos are open to explore the community and build on relations that have previously been somewhat strained in the past.

Like other publishers/developers, Eidos slowly learns that they're nothing without the fans. Game industry is not like any others. The producer-consumer line is much slimmer than in movie/music industry. Fans creates mods, new levels (How many LE leves are there? Thousands!) and basically thanks to them some games survive the trail of time. Some of these mods are complete games. Some are being even officially released (like Counter-Strike). They're very well organizated (forums, clans etc.) and have support from proffesional game magazines and websites. You can only win If you're in good relationships with fans. Good that Eidos seems to understand it. Of course some part of Eidos talking is purely a PR-move, but they certinatley cares about the fans. Sadly, there're companies like LucasArts that will never learn...


They always say that next game will be awersome, they always say that it will be intresting and we always hopping this, but the truth quite often is different, they are saying this probably because we bought that game.

Wow! Just like it was with AoD!

Aurimas
24-07-07, 17:08
Wow! Just like it was with AoD!
For you... And for me jst like Legend adn Anniversary...

Reggie
24-07-07, 17:11
If anyone wants to debate about AOD, Legend and Anniversary I suggest those people go those respective forums. This isn't aimed towards anyone in particular since I don't believe people should be categorised here. We're all passionate TR fans. That's all that matters.
So again, if you feel the need to vent, please go elsewhere.
Thank you.

And good insight btw Pietras, I think the games industry DO work differently. Does Eidos understand that properly? Only time will really tell. I think if you just try and keep an objective perspective then you won't be storing up disappointment for yourself. And I agree with Eddie in some ways, this is a company and they'll do what matters most to them. Again, only time will tell what that entails.

Alex Fly
24-07-07, 17:17
Thanks for sharing this, Reggie. :)

MUN33B
24-07-07, 18:25
Thanks :tmb:

Looks interesting. TR8 seems to be sounding very good, but we need a pic or 2!!! :D

ThomasCroft
24-07-07, 19:00
Thanks for showing us.

Just because the fans are "long-term" doesn't mean they have the same interests as us: for example, they might like the new "thrill ride" that TR has become as opposed to the retro exploration factor.

Ward Dragon
24-07-07, 22:35
Thanks for posting this :) Too bad it doesn't say more about what future TR games will entail, though (more or less exploration than TRA, for example).

Reggie
26-07-07, 17:56
No problem everyone.
Just passing on what I read ;)

Thanks for showing us.

Just because the fans are "long-term" doesn't mean they have the same interests as us: for example, they might like the new "thrill ride" that TR has become as opposed to the retro exploration factor.

That's also very possible. We'll never know until we play TR8 whether or not we as individuals like it.

RAID
26-07-07, 18:14
They always say, "The next game will have new exciting stuff", but trust is not a quality I share anymore. Usually, new stuff means "going further away from the roots" ala Legend (which was promised to go back to the roots, I might add).

And I certainly can't trust the views of these 6 long term fans. We don't know anything about them. For all we know, they could be the "put up with anything" type.

Reggie
26-07-07, 18:20
Agreed (see my post above) but I have to say...you've changed a lot Raid. I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing but I wonder what caused you to lose that trust you once had in the series? (correct me if I'm wrong in assuming that).

FomarThain
26-07-07, 18:38
eh, maybe an obvious question but.. who is Katie Fleming?

thevman
26-07-07, 18:40
Don't care about fan fic, it's just people's own spins on things, let alone anything to do with "official". Don't know who the woman is they are all bashing or what she does in the world of fan fics or web communities either. Not a whole lot about what to look forward to in that meeting, nothing was actually revealed. Basically, it doesn't mean a thing to me. Gimme inside info, some tasty tidbits of what's in store for us, not a bunch of kiss kiss suck ups. ;) I'll leave conventions for the freaks out there, that's fandom gone way over the line for me. :p

Legends
26-07-07, 19:36
Thanks for posting this. I'm gonna drink my coffee and read through it now.

Angel_14
26-07-07, 19:46
eh, maybe an obvious question but.. who is Katie Fleming?

A famous TR fan fiction writer. She appeared in TRA's credits

FomarThain
26-07-07, 21:08
A famous TR fan fiction writer. She appeared in TRA's credits

Ah I see thanks.

And the fuss was that she was mentioned at all? Is that it?

MMAN
26-07-07, 21:12
So, what's the deal about Katie Fleming?

RAID
26-07-07, 21:15
Agreed (see my post above) but I have to say...you've changed a lot Raid. I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing but I wonder what caused you to lose that trust you once had in the series? (correct me if I'm wrong in assuming that).
Yes Reggie. You are very much correct. I was happy with Legend, because after AOD, I guess somehow, controls were enough remedy. But Anniversary was a punch in the stomach for me and felt like a huge betrayal. I was all about giving Crystal Dynamics a chance, since Legend was their first and focused more on the hard design.

Anniversary was that chance, and I thought that they would focus on the soft design (levels), boy was I wrong. Now, I am distrustful, and won't believe a word they say. It's just propaganda to hype the fans up.

If with TR8, I'm gonna get punched again, I won't be caught off guard.

Jack Croft
27-07-07, 07:36
Brilliant News! Old Fans like new TR Yay! :)

CardinalXimenez
09-08-07, 06:24
Knowing Heidi Ahlmen, the founder and webmistress of Croft Codex, I feel I should step in and clear up a few things: I canīt speak for the other fans at the meeting, but Heidi is anything but happy about the new direction of the series, she hasnīt told me what was revealed to her during the meeting, but knowing how passionate she is about the classic games (and classic Lara), and how she feels about the new bio, Iīm feeling a bit of hope for the future of the series when sheīs so excited about what she heard.

Reggie
09-08-07, 08:54
Thanks for that CX :tmb:
To be honest, this article has been my one and only hope since I was let down by Anniversary.

Also, how come this thread has been moved to the fan works section? :confused:

tlr online
09-08-07, 11:13
I'm going to refrain from any further comment on this subject. But I will duplicate an email I sent to Heidi on what I feel has been disgraceful behaviour from a group of individuals who should know better. I think Keir would like some final comments, and then I will close this thread.

ATT: Heidi Ahlmen

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

REF: www.croftcodex.net

Extremely concerned over comments posted on Croft Codex (www.croftcodex.net) concerning Katie Fleming, including inaccurate claims made against Tomb Raider Forums (www.tombraiderforums.com) which we are now investigating.

We are exercising both our rights and our Terms And Conditions by taking the position of not supporting or endorsing any campaign of this nature on our properties. Furthermore, we are saddened that a group of talented individuals are engaging in what appears to be a derogative campaign against Katie Fleming and the integrity of her work.

Accordingly, we intend to protect our community - specifically Tomb Raider Forums - from being misused as a platform for communicating your complaint against Eidos and Katie Fleming.

We do recognise there are many talented individuals - including (but not exclusively) Katie Fleming - who all contribute immensely to our community. Therefore I wish you a speedy resolution for the benefit of the community at large.

Please do let me know the outcome.

Keir_Eidos
09-08-07, 11:24
It was great to meet Heidi and the other Finnish TR fans. They were all really friendly and we had a lovely afternoon.

I'd like to underline the main reasons for my trip:

The first was to show that Eidos does care about all parts of the TR community - that's why I actually took a day out of my personal holiday to travel to Helsinki.

The second reason was (importantly) to explain that the unfortunate behaviour which had been directed towards Katie is not acceptable from an Eidos' point of view. Katie is a lovely girl and has a great site and collection of fan fic, and there is no place for disrespectful behaviour in the community. It wasn't her choice to be selected for the documentary. She did a great job in the documentary representing how passionate Tomb Raider fans can be.


Respect goes to Keir who's been working hard at building these bridges.
And I guess that's it from me.
:D

Thanks! It was my pleasure to meet these guys, and I hope it has shown that Eidos really does value every part of the community :)


What does this mean ? She knows something we don't ?

I was careful not to reveal anything (otherwise I'd get the sack :D ) but I did underline that I'm confident that from what I have seen and heard Crystal are going to deliver an absolutely awesome game in TR8, which will live up to the expectations of hardcore fans. I'm not just saying that, I'm really pleased to say that it's true (because among other things it makes my job a lot easier).

I can't really vouch for how honest Eidos is being here but if they are taking us and those 6 people who were invited for a ride it will come round to bite them in the butts.

However, I have a feeling they aren't that stupid to screw around with people like that. And if they are? well you'll be right after all and we'll see a repeat of the Legend backlash.

Hopefully that won't happen.



Please see above.


Thanks :tmb:

Looks interesting. TR8 seems to be sounding very good, but we need a pic or 2!!! :D

We won't be talking about the game just yet, but watch this space, all good things come to those who wait! :)

They always say, "The next game will have new exciting stuff", but trust is not a quality I share anymore. Usually, new stuff means "going further away from the roots" ala Legend (which was promised to go back to the roots, I might add).

And I certainly can't trust the views of these 6 long term fans. We don't know anything about them. For all we know, they could be the "put up with anything" type.

There are a lot of assertions in your post, some of which I think are unfair. I understand if you're sceptical, but please reserve your judgement until you have seen and heard more about what is in store :)