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Tomb Raider Remastered 1-3 devs downgrade strangely-superior Epic Games version, saying it had 'work-in-progress materials that do not represent our final quality expectations'

 Lara Croft from Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered goes toe-to-toe with a fierce lion.
Lara Croft from Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered goes toe-to-toe with a fierce lion.

The brush-up of Lara Croft's classic adventures to pilfer tombs and shoot dinosaurs has mostly gone down well with fans—we even gave it a very respectable 78% in our Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered Review. Turns out it could've been even better if you bought it on the—checking my notes here—Epic Games Store. Wait, really?

As spotted by several players, the remaster appears to have had two different versions—the one available on Steam/GOG, and the one available on the Epic Games Store (thanks, Eurogamer).

This was initially discovered by one Maciej Wyżgowski on YouTube, who posted a video sweetly titled: "Instead of the ceiling I have such a beautiful view"—their version of the Palace Midas level was missing its roof. This was then picked up by Twitter user kroft_k, which prompted a channel called Small Medipack to investigate.

In an ongoing thread documenting the differences, Small Medipack found that the Epic Games version has a whopping 21 photo mode poses, updated textures, better snowflakes, improved water—the whole nine yards.

They also shared a video from YouTuber the sog, who made a direct comparison in the game's Greece levels. As you can see for yourself, the differences in lighting are pretty stark—with several areas having a completely changed atmosphere.

Players on the game's official Discord also grew wise. As if to prove they weren't just all hallucinating, one player even directly ported their Steam save over to Epic Games. Surely enough, phantom panels appeared where there were none before.

An image of a discord message that reads:
An image of a discord message that reads:

As if that isn't enough, it turns out there was an entire bonus stage missing from the Steam/GOG versions of the game: All Hallows. In the original game, you'd get to this stage by finding every secret in the game. The same was true on Epic—unless you're playing on Steam or GOG, that is.

The only downside of this now-forbidden Epic Games version? Achievements were busted. That's it. Unfortunately, the mistake of accidentally having a slightly better game has been corrected.

Version swap

As spotted by Kotaku, it turns out that the (mostly superior) Epic Games Store version is actually the odd one out—and has since been snapped out of existence, likely pending an update. Players on Epic's platform will no longer unfairly enjoy fine dining, and must rough it in the mud with the Steam and GOG peasantry.

An update on Steam shines some light on the situation: "A development build with incomplete assets has been available for download on the Epic Games Store. Content in that Epic Games Store build contained some work-in-progress materials that do not represent our final quality expectations. We have corrected the build to match the live Steam version."

However, the devs also note that: "We currently are working on the first update, which we anticipate will launch in the next few weeks." Whether this update will have the upgraded textures, lighting, skyboxes, and entirely absent secret stage is yet to be seen—but it does seem like a bizarre sequence of events to me.

Logic would dictate that, hey—maybe the Steam and GOG versions were using an old build, but it turns out that the Epic Games .exe was the one showing up half-baked. The plot thickens, though the content has been thinned.