Tomb Raider 3 Update Secretly Nukes Lara Croft Pinups

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Lara Croft makes a grimace.

Image: Aspyr / Crystal Dynamics

Well, this is weird. Pinups of Lara Croft appear to have gone missing in Tomb Raider I-III Remastered following a patch earlier this month to fix a bunch of bugs. Whether intentional or not, some fans are now calling it out as heavy-handed censorship of retro classics.

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Publisher Aspyr released the game’s second update on April 11 and mentioned a litany of changes, but nothing about up-scaled posters of Lara Croft being removed from the locker room in the Sleeping with the Fishes level for Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artefact. Though they still appear when playing with the original graphics settings on, where they look like pixelated postcards, the walls they’re on are now blank when players switch to the remastered graphics settings.

Their removal was first noticed on the Tomb Raider subreddit, before the discovery began trickling out to other corners of the internet last week. “I thought it was bullshit, but nope, Crystal Dynamics played the OG fans. They censored out the pictures in the update,” tweeted one person. “Updates should never be used to retroactively censor games, it’s a form of theft. Any company that engages in this bait & switch behavior should go bankrupt,” tweeted another. To be clear, the original versions of the posters are still available in the games when played in the 1990s mode.

A warning at the start of the remastered collection informs players that Crystal Dynamics, the studio behind the original games, chose to retain offensive stereotypes and imagery to “acknowledge its harmful impact” rather than erase those parts of the series’ legacy. Neither Crystal Dynamics nor Aspyr seemed to have a problem with the pinups previously. In fact, they were promoted as one of “ten remastered details you might have missed” a week after the collection’s launch.

Shortly after the latest patch removed the posters, NexusMods user Dario108 uploaded a mod to restore them in the PC version of the game. Timur Gagiev, the maker of popular open-source port OpenLara, who ended up working for Aspyr on the remasters, retweeted Dario’s link to the mod without saying anything further. Some took this as a sign that the change was intentional despite some potential disagreement behind the scenes.

Aspyr and Gagiev did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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