Sorry, Tomb Raider fans. It looks as though those Steam remasters of the original trilogy have been hit with the ol’ cease and desist.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Realtech VR were working on new versions of the original three adventures for the Steam platform. As PC Gamer reports, all three titles are already available for download on the service, but only emulated versions of the original DOS releases. This is hardly ideal, from a performance or control standpoint.
Now, quite what was meant by ‘remaster,’ we don’t know. Different developers have different thoughts on that, ranging from ground-up remakes to texture-tweaking. Still, at the very least, there would have been some quality of life improvements at a technical level. Fans were surely pumped by the idea of Lara’s triangular appendages in 1080p 60fps, but alas, it was not to be.
Today, DSOG reports that the company have stopped working on the trilogy. Footage of the works in progress has been removed from YouTube, and Realtech VR issued the following Tweet on the matter:
After this episode, we are refocusing on new projects involving Augmented Reality on iOS and VR on PC. We are not more committed on third party license anymore.— realtech VR (@realtech_VR) March 21, 2018
So, there it is. Refocusing on new projects is quite the euphemism, but we get the idea. The rabid winged lawyer-monkeys have been unleashed behind the scenes. According to Crystal Dynamics, Realtech did not have permission to start work on these remasters, nor any access to the license. In an official statement, they explained, “while we always welcome passion and excitement for the Tomb Raider franchise, the remasters in question were initiated and advertised without seeking approval. As such, they were never officially sanctioned.”
They sign off with the classic thanking-fans-for-their-love-of-the-franchise spiel, but the fact remains: this is super unfortunate. If you were following the project’s progress, you’ll have seen how well it was shaping up. It can be tough to really transform a classic game without altering the feel of it, but it looked as though Realtech VR were handling that balance quite well. Now we’ll never really know.
It’s a shame. The Tomb Raider franchise has really been on fire as of late, with some top notch rebooted titles in recent years and a movie currently doing the rounds in theaters. New fans hopping on board would have appreciated a modernised journey back to the series roots. Such a shame that it had to go the way of the equally-promising Shadow Moses project.