New Tomb Raider collection includes warning of ethnic stereotypes

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered begins with a significant content warning.
tomb raider remastered content warning

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered, a new collection of the original Tomb Raider trilogy, begins with a content warning designed to highlight and criticise the use of racial and ethnic stereotypes in the games. As first shared by Eurogamer, the warning is a means to explain the dated aspects of the adventures, and educate players on why they’re wrong without changing the original games, or ignoring their history.

“The games in this collection contain offensive depictions of people and cultures rooted in racial and ethnic prejudices,” the warning reads. “These stereotypes are deeply harmful, inexcusable, and do not align with our values at Crystal Dynamics.”

“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.”

Read: Metal Gear Solid Master Collection includes ‘outdated’ content warning

As speculated by players and Eurogamer, this warning likely pertains to Tomb Raider 3, which includes stereotypical depictions of South Pacific Islanders. As Crystal Dynamics states, these depictions were wrong when the game first released, and now stand as uncomfortable reminders of the prejudices of the past.

These kinds of warnings are becoming more common with modern video game remasters, as developers reckon with outdated and offensive stereotypes that were previously rife in games and media of past eras. While these stereotypes may once have been a common part of storytelling, they are now more offensive with greater understanding and empathy for the groups unfairly represented.

Recently, the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection chose a similar path for its collection of remastered games, including a warning of ‘outdated’ content in its opening. The practice has also been widely adopted for film and TV re-releases, with some older cartoons like Looney Tunes now carrying these warnings.

In the modern era, the impact of harmful depiction is now more widely understood – and while placing a warning will not erase the harm caused, it’s an important step in learning from history.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.