When Tomb Raider (2013) first released on the PS3, it was well-received for the most part. It was an exciting, new Lara Croft adventure, and it included new characters like Sam, Alex, and more that would make the Tomb Raider games stand out for years to come.
What this new Tomb Raider also spurred, was a passionate fandom who were invested in hearing more about the relationship between Lara and Sam. Sam is Lara’s best friend, and they’ve been together through thick and thin. Hell, the majority of the first game is Lara doing her best to save Sam – no matter what. The ending even had a rainbow appearing above the two of them, which was far from subtle.
Even so, Sam did not appear in future games despite the wishes of fans asking for her to make another appearance. However, she did appear in other mediums, with the Tomb Raider: Inferno novel being a story that does explore Lara and Sam’s relationship with one another.
Their relationship doesn’t go beyond a friendly hug in Inferno, but according to writer Jackson Lanzing, Inferno was going to explicitly confirm that Lara and Sam had romantic feelings for one another.
In a response to well-known comic writer Gail Simone, Lanzing said “Gail, we tried so hard to make [Lara and Sam] canon. We had an entire issue in TR: INFERNO dedicated to Lara going through a toxic drug trip and finally, fully understanding her feelings for Sam. By the time it went to publishing, their culminating kiss had become a friendly hug.”
Phillip Sevy, comic book artist, also confirmed that the original ending was a kiss. He stated, “I still have the original pencils/inks for that page before I had to redraw it.”
There has been no real reason given to why it was changed to a hug, but as we all know, there are still people and organizations out there that are too afraid, or close-minded, to even consider a same-sex character or romance as too much of a risk. While this may not the case, it’s still something to bear in mind.