Tomb Raider games are getting free remasters on Steam

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With a new Tomb Raider film about to hit theaters, the world is ripe for some Lara Croft nostalgia. Here to fill that void we have some delightful remaster news: the first three Tomb Raider games are getting made-up really pretty, and they’ll be free for gamers who own the originals. The reason why, however, might surprise you.

Realtech VR has announced that it will release remastered versions of Tomb Raider 1, 2 and 3 on Steam. These remasters will be based on the mobile versions, will support OpenVR, will feature a new 3D engine, and will be free to all owners of these games. Got all that? Realtech has made remasters that require the DOS version of each game on steam.

Realtech is known for making demos and mobile ports, so this seems both in their wheelhouse but also very new territory for that team.

The new 3D engine was with a better looking post process for better lights and shadow, which can be turned on or off if you prefer a legacy texture pack. This also adds support for Xbox controllers and a number of DLC packs.

Check out the latest videos from the team here, with a promise that there will be a Tomb Raider 3 reveal in the coming months.

Makes a very old game look very good, right?

Here’s the latest tweet from their team, which is an account you might want to follow if this project appeals to you.

38 Comments

  1. Psychomorph says:

    Nice. I would have liked to see remastered controls.

    • kalirion says:

      Yes, the controls are the main reason that I’m not interested in even getting the classic TRs into my library. If the remaster somehow manages to modernize the controls, that’s a different story.

      • 321 says:

        there’s nothing wrong with the controls. Its the way the game was designed. The slightest alteration would break the game entirely.

        • Vandelay says:

          Correct, it wouldn’t work correctly. You would have to completely remake the game, a la Tomb Raider Anniversary.

          Having said that though, watching the video above of someone playing, slowly trying to get Lara into the right position to pick up a medkit or getting into a very precise position to perform a jump, was quite painful. I also struggled to see the difference between the graphics and what I remember playing years and years ago (not that our memories don’t have a habit of remembering graphics more fondly, but this looks more like a paint job to get it working on modern systems).

          • kalirion says:

            Exactly, this is why this game, “remastered” or not, isn’t for me.

          • Baines says:

            To be fair, a lot of earlier 3D games left you sometimes struggling to get into the right spot to pick up an item or to activate a switch. Some of the tank-control overhead 3D games feel downright unplayable today.

            But yes, pretty much all the jumping sections in Tomb Raider 1 are designed around the digital controls. They are more puzzle than agility test, as all actions are taken in fixed steps, and your task is to figure out the proper sequence to take those actions. Switching the game to a more modern smoother control system would make the jumping puzzles harder to navigate, as your actions would no longer execute in the fixed steps that the puzzles expect.

  2. Booker says:

    This remaster looks like the 1996 version looked, if you used the 3dfx Voodoo version. :)

    • joer says:

      Voodoo 5, represent!

    • fish99 says:

      Yeah I’m really not seeing much difference.

      • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

        Agreed, there just seems to be some better lighting. And I don’t have it in me to go through the gigantic slog of trial and error jumps in that game ever again.

    • kalirion says:

      You probably couldn’t play the game in Widescreen HD resolutions on the Voodoo.

  3. Det. Bullock says:

    Just on Steam? It would be nice if they were on GOG.com too, the controls might be more bearable with a controller.

    • AngoraFish says:

      For reasons the article explains…

      • April March says:

        I understand the reason, but would like to see a GOG release nonetheless.

      • Janichsan says:

        Unfortunately, that explanation explains very little, as TR classic is also available from GOG.com.

  4. woodsey says:

    The real question is how much did Microsoft pay that poor guy to pretend he wanted to use the Windows store.

    • Turkey says:

      Hey, I just want to know if I can play lara croft on my Zune. I tried Binging for an answer, but there weren’t any results.

      Guess I’ll check the GFW section of my local gamestore on monday.

  5. Baines says:

    I’m normally not a fan of mobile ports, but I still remember the last time I played Tomb Raider 1 (on a modern PC). Off of a fresh Steam install, it suffered severe graphics issues and the controls were also messed up. Fixing the graphics required finding and downloading a legacy driver, and it took some fiddling to get the controls working properly with a modern gamepad.

    If these remasters run properly out-of-the-box, then it is a positive for the games.

  6. klownk says:

    Jesus, this is horrible…

  7. fuggles says:

    That seemed to be a strikingly taboola introduction. Surely reason number 6 will shock me? Is it being remastered with a weird old trick?

    I speak for myself saying that I click on articles which seem interesting in and of themselves – I don’t need to be further allured.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      “What Lara Croft looks like now doesn’t make sense!”

    • wraithgr says:

      Indeed. I jumped in the article fully intending to comment “mmm clickbait!” At the end of it. However, RPS is less prone to this than other websites which makes me fear that this “style” of writing is just seeping into regular journalism in general.

  8. mascarpwn says:

    Those are some tough spiders.

    • RobinOttens says:

      Or Lara is just having trouble hitting them. Have you ever tried killing spiders with two pistols while doing backflips? I can tell you it’s pretty hard.

      I’m not a fan of the overdone ambient occlusion that gives Lara this weird glow. But it’s nice to see these games get some attention. They’re still pretty good games, despite the weird controls by today’s standards.

  9. DrMcCoy says:

    Unrelated to the remasters, but there’s also a FLOSS reimplementation of the games in progress: link to opentomb.github.io

  10. Carra says:

    Meh, my boxed copy of TR2 doesn’t count :(

  11. gabrielonuris says:

    They could have made at least Lara Croft’s long braidings in the first title, considering it was not present due to technical limitations at the time (you know, that’s the kind of “remastered” feature you expect from an old title).

    Also, mobile port. I have at least 998 red sirens spinning and screaming right now inside my head.

    • uniCurse says:

      My skepticism level is over 9000… and all them red lights flashing too.

    • fish99 says:

      Personally I wouldn’t call something a remaster while it apparently uses the same textures and models.

  12. Quasimofo says:

    You know, there’s a word for projects that add on to a game and require the base game to operate…they’re called mods.

    Why does this article present this as something other than what it is?

    • Optimaximal says:

      You know, there’s a word for projects that add on to a game and require the base game to operate…they’re called mods.

      No, this isn’t an add-on. It’s a new, updated engine, as explained in the article, that avoids many different issues by requiring you to provide the original game files. It’s even being given away, free of charge, to the owners of the original games.

      See also CorsixTH – link to corsixth.com

      • bonuswavepilot says:

        Yeah, it’s not just an add-on, but for other games a release that just updates the rendering engine while using the original files would absolutely be called a mod. (Or at least this seems to be the case for stuff like Stalker or old Fallout titles and so forth.)

        Maybe having the official blessing of the original company is sufficient for it not to count as a ‘mod’, but in that case, why not also distribute the original files?

        I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find one of those tangled intellectual property messes about who owns rights is involved.

  13. NuclearSword says:

    I guess if people are unaware of the TRLE (Tomb Raider Level Editor) community, these are…. neat? But if you care about the original games and for some reason aren’t aware of that scene (and the vast amounts of updates those people have made to the classic engine), than do yourself a favor and check out http://www.trle.net

    Not only has the engine already seen these improvements and the original games “remastered” like this, but people have been making tons and tons of mods and fangames (many of which are standalone executables) for years. If you have a hankerin’ for classic Tomb Raider and it’s wonderfully deliberate, grid-based movement (albeit, (i>a little smoother thanks to the updates those TRLE modders have made to the tech), you should check those out.

    Really, I’m happy to see Square be so loose with one of their fanciest IP’s. To let this “Realtech VR” handle this project on Steam bodes well for things like the Tomb Raider 2 Anniversary project (also, I guess, seeing things like the Square Enix Collective let indie studio Sushee handle Fear Effect). I actually feel like Square will just….. leave Tomb Raider 2 Anniversary alone? Or, even better, release it via the Collective label if it gets completed someday? It would be nice if Street Fighter x Mega Man wasn’t the only example of a publisher doing that…

  14. Avi says:

    I’m pretty sure that’s the nostalgia working it’s magic but this is one of the few games that made me feel alone in a hostile and magical world(with DS1).
    I remember the ambient sounds of the levels only accompanied with Lara’s panting. I can hear the sounds of the sunken ship from TRII in my head as a 15 year old thinking, if I was trapped in an a sunken ship, that probably what it would sound like.

    • Megatron says:

      While many outlets/lads mags focused on the character of Lara Croft as the main selling point for these games, it has to be said the various moods created by the level, sound and music designers was utterly superlative. The sense of isolation, mystery and magic, present from the very first moment of the very first level, just wrapped you in another world. You only have to listen to the amazing soundtracks to get taken back there.

      As games they were brilliant. As experiences they were absolutely unmatched at the time and by few since.

  15. Zaxwerks says:

    “Dagger of Xian”, now THAT’S a PROPER remake.

  16. Henke says:

    I’m curious to see how they’ll implement VR. If they just turn the regular camera into a VR camera and call it a day it’ll be quite painful, seeing how much the regular camera flips and spins all over the place.