In the Valve-y of Gods? Anyone?
When you start to work on a game in an established franchise, it’s usually a good idea to make sure you’re legally in the clear to do so. A fan game? As long as you’re not making any money or stepping on the toes of an official release, you’re usually in the clear. A full release from an actual game studio? You should have permission to make it, yes. So when Realtech VR announced they were remastering the original Tomb Raider trilogy for Steam, rational people thought Square Enix had given them the go ahead. Rational people would be wrong here.
Realtech VR previously had ported the first two Tomb Raider titles to mobile, and the company claimed their new ports would be based on this previous work. The now cancelled remasters would have supported OpenVR, controllers, and a new 3D engine. The ports would have been free for all who own the DOS releases of the games through Steam, as they were basically mods running through the games.
Now, the new Tomb Raider ports are dead in the water. Square Enix never actually said Realtech VR approval do this, and now it seems the company is backing off working on third parties’ games altogether.
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
Square Enix released a statement, which they soon deleted. Here it is for posterity, however.
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.