Classic Tomb Raider remasters are officially a reality. After years of rumors, speculation, and wishful thinking from longtime fans, remasters of early games in the groundbreaking franchise were officially announced during the Nintendo Direct livestream on September 14, 2023.
Remastered versions of Tomb Raider (1996), Tomb Raider II (1997), and Tomb Raider III (1998), will land on the Nintendo Switch, Steam, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 4 and 5 on protagonist Lara Croft’s birthday, February 14, 2024. Dubbed the Tomb Raider I-II-III Remastered collection, the updated 1990s titles by Core Design will faithfully recreate each game with updated graphics.
The official trailer teases remastered versions of iconic levels, including Tomb Raider’s “Lost Valley,” “Tomb of Qualopec,” and “Obelisk of Khamoon;” Tomb Raider II’s “The Great Wall,” “Tibetan Foothills,” and “Floating Islands;” and Tomb Raider III’s “Jungle,” “Temple Ruins,” and “Nevada Desert.”
Fans will be able to toggle the graphics settings from the updated, remastered versions to the blockier, original polygons.
The Gold expansion packs in ‘Tomb Raider’
The Tomb Raider I-II-III Remastered collection will also include each game’s official expansion pack, previously only available to PC users, as well as “secret levels.” These lesser-known editions, which were essentially early versions of DLC, often expanded upon the plot of their parent game.
Tomb Raider Gold: Unfinished Business follows Lara as she returns to Egypt and Atlantis after the events of the original Tomb Raider.
Tomb Raider II Gold: The Golden Mask is a standalone adventure that takes place after the events of Tomb Raider II. The game finds Lara exploring the frozen caverns and lost cities of Alaska in search of the mythical Mask of Tornarsuk.
Meanwhile, Tomb Raider: The Lost Artifact picks up where Tomb Raider III leaves off and finds Lara on a quest for a fifth meteorite artifact called the Hand of Rathmore.
Classic Tomb Raider remasters: unifying the timelines
The announcement comes as current Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics continues their quest to unify the events of the three disparate timelines in the Tomb Raider series. The upcoming Tomb Raider anime on Netflix will be the first project in the franchise made with the goal of unification in mind.
Produced by Tasha Huo for Legendary Entertainment, the series is set to take place between the events of 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider and 1996’s Tomb Raider. The series will star MCU actress Hayley Atwell as Lara Croft, Earl Baylon as Jonah Maiava, Allen Maldonado as Zip, and Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa as a mystery character called Eshu. A sneak preview of the series is set to debut on September 27.
The planned Tomb Raider unification will continue with the next mainline game in the series. Built in Unreal Engine 5, the game will likely debut the unified version of Lara Croft, who has seen her look, personality, and motivations shift drastically in her nearly three-decade history. Crystal Dynamics game director Will Kerslake teased the studio’s future plans for Lara in 2021.
“Our origin trilogy back in 2013 told the story of Lara Croft’s early days where she was forged into a survivor, became a hero, and ultimately, the Tomb Raider,” he said in a video released during the franchise’s 25th-anniversary celebrations. “While the classic games featured a seasoned and confident adventurer, traveling the world, unlocking its secrets, often standing alone against cataclysmic forces.”
“We envision the future of Tomb Raider unfolding after these established adventures,” Kerslake continued, “telling stories that build upon the breadth of both Core Design and Crystal Dynamics’ games and working to unify these timelines.”
An untitled live-action Tomb Raider streaming series penned by Emmy winner and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny star Phoebe Waller-Bridge and a feature film are also part of the unification plans.
Tomb Raider remasters fan reactions
Longtime Tomb Raider fans were quick to express their excitement about the upcoming remastered collection on social media.
Are you excited to play the classic Tomb Raider remasters? Which levels and locations do you most want to see recreated? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on the Agents of Fandom socials to join the conversation!