Do you remember those Tomb Raider 1, 2, and 3 remasters we said might come to Steam? Well, they ain’t happening. This is what we should expect when developers overstep their boundaries.
RealtechVR wanted desperately to give the classic games an HD makeover. The developers even showed off their work in trailers (that have since been removed from YouTube). The trailers impressed viewers, and while the studio was apparently doing everything right in regards to making an HD remaster of an old game, they forgot one crucial step: nobody asked the copyright holders for permission.
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…Ensuring fans receive high quality gaming experiences is at the heart of our mission as a company, which requires all projects to go through proper channels.
Refering to its work on the mobile ports of Tomb Raider 1 and 2, Realtech VR stated it was already working for the Square Enix, which makes its aspirations somewhat understandable. However, some commentors have pointed out that the studio’s announcements were essentially public pitches, and Square Enix didn’t react in a positive manner. This raises the question of whether Realtech VR’s HD remaster project could have been greenlit if it had gone about this situation differently (i.e., approach Square Enix for permission and not make a public announcement), but that ship has already sailed. Square Enix said no, and Realtech VR, in response, has stated, “we are refocusing on new projects involving Augmented Reality on iOS and VR on PC. We are not committed on third party license anymore.”
Judging by Realtech VR’s latest tweet, it is safe to assume the studio has cut ties with Square Enix, so it can pursue its own unique IPs. An understandable course of action, given Square Enix’s reaction. Although, fans have started an online petition to make Square Enix change its mind. Whether or not the petition will have its intended effect is anyone’s guess, but the fans have spoken: they want the original Tomb Raider games in HD. Only time will tell if the company rethinks its decision and asks Realtech VR to come back to develop the games fans want.