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Old 24-07-07, 16:20   #1
Reggie
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Default Fans Meet with Keir Edmonds

Quote:
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
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Last edited by Reggie; 24-07-07 at 16:44.
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Old 24-07-07, 16:29   #2
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That's exactly what I was hoping for.
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Old 24-07-07, 16:38   #3
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Dangit, she knows things! 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! GOSH DARNIT!
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Old 24-07-07, 16:46   #4
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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.
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Old 24-07-07, 16:49   #5
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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.
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Old 24-07-07, 16:54   #6
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Quote:
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 ?
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Old 24-07-07, 16:54   #7
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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.
If you want to inquire further, I suggest you send an email to Heidi: webmaster@croftcodex.net
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Last edited by Reggie; 24-07-07 at 16:56.
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Old 24-07-07, 17:05   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reggie View Post
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...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurimas View Post
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!

Last edited by Pietras; 24-07-07 at 17:06.
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Old 24-07-07, 17:08   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pietras View Post
Wow! Just like it was with AoD!
For you... And for me jst like Legend adn Anniversary...
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Old 24-07-07, 17:11   #10
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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.
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Last edited by Reggie; 24-07-07 at 18:18. Reason: Elaboration.
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