Toby Gard leaves Square Enix studio after nine months leading development on unannounced project, establishes independent consultancy firm.

Only a few months ago, news surfaced that Toby Gard had been tapped to lead development on an as-yet-announced project at Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics. The information was significant, considering that Gard created the highly acclaimed original Tomb Raider and that Eidos indicated it would giving the franchise a major makeover in the next installment.

However, Gard's stint at the head of Crystal Dynamics' next project has been short-lived. According to the developer's LinkedIn profile, Gard left the studio this month, transitioning to a new role as an independent game consultant, with an emphasis in animation, story, and cinematic design, character design, game design, and balancing.

Gard confirmed his departure from the studio, saying he is currently no longer working with Crystal Dynamics in any capacity. Gard declined to comment on whether the project he had previously been attached to was still in development. Neither Eidos nor its new parent company, Square Enix, had returned requests for comment on Gard's departure as of press time.

Gard is best known for his work as a designer on the original Tomb Raider--released in 1996--and is credited with having created the Lara Croft character. After departing Core Design in 1997 following the release of Tomb Raider, Gard formed Confounding Factor, which shipped its only title, Galleon: Islands of Mystery, in 2004. Following the release of that game, Gard rejoined Eidos to contribute to Crystal Dynamics' successful 2006 series reboot, Tomb Raider: Legend.