Popular video game franchise Tomb Raider received an in-game content warning for “offensive depictions” and “racial” prejudices for a recent remastered release, but it was not censored.
Tomb Raider I-III Remastered, released on February 14, 2024, was a re-release of classic Lara Croft video games that have historically had massive sales. In fact, 2013, 2015, and 2018 iterations of the game were more successful than their predecessors, with the franchise having sold a total of over 75 million units throughout its life span.
The games even spawned movies starring Angelina Jolie in the early 2000s, with another version released in 2018.
While production house Crystal Dynamics chose not to censor or delete any portions for the remastered version, the art did come accompanied by an in-game warning about its content from the ancient times of 1996-1998.
“The games in this collection contain offensive depictions of people and cultures rooted in racial and ethnic prejudices. These stereotypes are deeply harmful, inexcusable, and do not align with our values at Crystal Dynamics,” a prompt in the game read.
“Rather than removing this content, we have chosen to present it here in its original form, unaltered, in the hopes that we may acknowledge its harmful impact and learn from it,” the warning concluded.
Although the developers did not provide details as to which specific portions of any of the three games were deemed offensive, fans and outlets such as Bounding into Comics have pointed to some educated guesses.
One such guess was an enemy called a “tribesman” from the third game. The characters purported to be from Polynesia and “shoot poison darts from blowguns” and killed and ate explorers on multiple occasions.
Another pixelated tribesman is depicted with a strong accent in a cutscene. However, the harsh polygonal character modeling of the mid-1990s makes it hard to imagine that any person was particularly offended.
The character is described killing and eating a “white fella” who brought him a “magic stone.”
Tomb Raider wasn’t the only remaster of note to receive a warning in its new version. Capcom’s Mega Man Battle Network warned players that the company “values diversity and inclusivity within its games.”
“Please be aware the games in this collection may contain some cases of insensitive cultural depictions and are presented as originally created to preserve their authenticity,” the warning added.
While such warnings would likely be fit to serve a newer, more sensitive audience, it is indeed a strange move for gaming companies to criticize their own material that is likely being replayed by those who enjoyed the titles originally.
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