Lara staring at the sun
Screenshot by Destructoid

Tomb Raider Remastered development was led by a fan modder

I should have seen that coming

I’m highly skeptical of remasters and remakes. They tend to either feel underwhelming or, worse, to actually do a competent job that ends up replacing the beautiful memories we had of the original. I didn’t have either problem with the new Tomb Raider Remastered.

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Originally, I thought that was just because the game gave me the chance to pick between a respectfully improved version of the old, and a beautiful new vision for the classic, but there was more to it than just that. Now I have the full picture.

It turns out that the remaster had long-time fan Xproger at the helm, the person responsible for OpenLara, a multiplatform open-source engine of the OG games. Instead of sending this Xproger a cease-and-desist letter, Saber—the owner of Aspyr, the company behind the remaster—decided to just enlist XProger to get this thing running.

Moreover, XProger thanks Saber not just for getting hired, but also for getting the freedom to assemble a dream team to make the project in the way that they wanted.

I’m usually on the fence when it comes to giving fans the reins when it comes to helming pre-existing series. I’m always afraid that it will lead to a seemingly safe repetition instead of a bold new vision that is actually what a series needs to stay alive and relevant. Luckily, I was wrong about Sonic Mania, about Black Mesa, and I was wrong here. This was the way to go from the get-go.

Screenshot by Destructoid

In my first impressions piece, I commend the addition of a bunch of windows here and there that provide realistic sources of lighting to the inexplicably well-lit closed corridors we see in TR1. Anyone who’s not a fan of the series may read such praise as the ramblings of an old madman, but they’re just the words of an old mad fan. The lighting issue has been a running joke among Tomb Raider fans forever. I should’ve known that a true fan must have been behind such a small change that meant so much for such a considerably small amount of people all along.

One expression that I believe perfectly describes the remaster of the original three Tomb Raider games is “labor of love”. I stand by the glowing praise I gave to this endeavor, but I honestly didn’t know just how right I was when I first said that.

You can now enjoy the remastered trilogy on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and on the Nintendo Switch.


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Author
Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.