The First Three Tomb Raider Games Are Getting Modern Remasters

Revealed during a Nintendo Direct, but in fact happening across all of gaming, the world has learned that the first three Tomb Raider games are returning with shiny new graphics, designed to work on modern consoles. Let me—an old person—gift you—presumably a young person—a piece of insight: You will want to play these games.

Tomb Raider has a bonkers history. It goes all the way back to 1996, almost 30 years ago, when Lara Croft first appeared on the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn. And, yes, the cardboard cutouts of Lara and her generous bosom and concerningly narrow waist appeared in every gaming store worldwide. Tomb Raider was an instant phenomenon, and not just because of her tits: This was a genuinely brilliant game accompanying a groundbreaking use of 3D graphics.

Tomb Raider was a key reason a generation of PC owners upgraded to their first 3dfx card. It was a game that everyone heard of, and perhaps is more responsible than anything else for seeing our hobby break out from its specialist niche and find a mainstream audience. And it’s statistically probable that this all happened before you were born.

Like Grand Theft Auto and the itch-inducing belief that that franchise for some reason started with GTA III, there’s now some sense that Tomb Raider began in either 2006 with the excellent Legend, or even 2013 with the franchise’s total reset. Sure, everyone vaguely knows there were some earlier games, but they weren’t on SNES, there isn’t a theme park dedicated to the franchise, they were apparently some weird, archaic anomaly enjoyed by an ancient race lost to time.

Let me tell you something, young lady: The original three Tomb Raider games were absolutely bloody fantastic.

Tomb Raider

And no, not in a rose-tinted, “Ah I remember when…” way, but in the proper, “woah, this level design is absolutely spectacular,” sort of way. In fact, the main flaw you’ll find in these originals is still a problem in all three generations of the games released over the last three decades: the god-awful combat. At this point, tiresomely waiting for the section in which Lara incongruously slaughters crowds of humans to be over is frankly nostalgic.

Talking of nostalgia, all three games are being released with an option to switch between the original blocky polygon graphics, and lovely patched-over modern designs. If it’s anything like the Monkey Island remakes, this means I will spend the entire time obsessively switching back and forth, unable to cope without knowing how every scene looks in each incarnation. Please, I need help.

Lara Croft stares at a distant bee, while stood on some remastered ruins.

Screenshot: Aspyr / Kotaku

We old folk at Kotaku absolutely cannot wait to experience these games again, and even more, to see how all the young-uns on staff react to playing them for the first time. Not having the right cables to attach my PSX to anything with a screen, and the PC versions being such a pain to get working, it’s been so long since I returned to these three games. But every time I previously have, it’s been such a pleasure. Like going home. Literally, when you play Tomb Raider II’s training level in Croft Manor, which is an absolute treasure trove of detail and clattering crockery.

All three games will feature their expansions and secret levels, with the restoration being done by Aspyr alongside Crystal Dynamics (the series’ original developer, Core Design, has long since gone to live on the lovely farm where games developers get to run around with all the space they need). They’ll be out February 14, 2024, on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC, which means you have no excuse.


Modern Warfare III Trailer Has New Zombie Mode, Familiar Faces

A Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III soldier transforms into a zombie after choking on a purple cloud.

That purple haze got me feeling something.
Screenshot: Activision Blizzard / Kotaku

A freaky new trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III’s Zombies gave us our first look at the upcoming game, and it’s as eerie and tense as you would expect from the now legendary first-person shooter mode—except now it has some new (yet familiar) faces in the undead mix. That’s because this version of Zombies marks the first time the mode comes to a Modern Warfare game.

Read More: Modern Warfare III Comes Out In November, Brings Back Slide Canceling
Pre-order Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

The trailer begins with a team of four seemingly unknown operatives donning night vision goggles to break into a corpse-littered facility. They come upon four corpses sat around a table, the center of which sits a device that opens to reveal glowing vials of an unknown substance. “They’re actually real, they’re actually here,” an operator says, removing his gas mask to reveal that he’s Viktor Zakhaev, iconic Call of Duty antagonist who will be the chief baddie in the main Modern Warfare III campaign. Once his team swipes the vials, they, head out of the building and run directly into a police force—this nods to the brand-new feature in this upcoming Zombies mode: You’ll duke it out against human and nonhuman enemies.

Call of Duty

Call of Duty zombie players will recognize the serum asAetherium, an element in the Call of Duty franchise used for techno-biological warfare. The trailer ends with John “Soap” MacTavish , a member of the multinational special operations unit Task Force 141, and fellow familiar face Kate Laswell preparing for the incursion against Zakhaev.

This sets up the open-world experience that Modern Warfare III’s zombie mode will offer, and its player-versus-environment that takes place across different regions that scale in difficulty and density. The official blog post accompanying the trailer promises “a greater quantity of undead than ever before,” that combines “the very best of Modern Warfare map features and systems with the tried-and-true core features of Treyarch Zombies.”

Read More: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III Will Bring Back Every OG MWII Multiplayer Map
Pre-order Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

The new take on the classic Zombies mode will be available when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III launches on November 10 for PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. In typical Call of Duty fashion, if you preorder Modern Warfare III, you’ll get access to the beta whenever that starts.

Modern Warfare 3 Lets You Kill Opponents With Weed

Activison Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III multiplayer, out worldwide on November 10, apparently lets you murder people with marijuana. The detail was revealed in the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s decision summary for marking the first-person shooter as “mature,” and it seems like the natural evolution to smoke rings.

“The game includes a finishing move in which marijuana smoke from a bong can be forced into an opponent’s face,” the ESRB plainly states. “Badges/banners and character outfits also depict cannabis and/or smoking figures.”

From this limited description, I’d say MWIII isn’t attempting any commentary on the world’s anxious relationship to drugs, nor trying to suggest that smoking kills (though, as a finishing move, or one of the series’ complicated kill animations, it literally does). The finisher the ESRB details sounds like the Blowin’ Smoke kill from Warzone, in which players flex on their opponents by breathing a smoke cloud into their faces, except this one is less death by way of secondhand smoke and more “RIP to you after that bong rip.” The point is, I think, that smoking looks sick sometimes, especially if you’re a 17-year-old playing CoD.

Other reasons for the ESRB’s “M” rating (a Call of Duty game hasn’t been approved for teens since Call of Duty 3 in 2006) sound like more all-purpose CoD stuff, including “large explosions, screams of pain, and blood-splatter effects.” There are, of course, “terrorists (dressed as police officers and paramedics),” the ESRB writes, “shooting/killing fleeing civilians inside a stadium concourse; airline passengers getting shot on a plane; prisoners shot inside a cell.”

The game’s recently revealed Zombie mode—the beloved, macabre mode’s first time in a Modern Warfare game—also often results “in decapitation and/or dismemberment; large blood-splatter effects accompany these sequences.” The game will also reanimate every original Modern Warfare II multiplayer map, though those are less grounds for the ESRB’s concern.

In any case, you can watch all these mature video game qualities play out when Modern Warfare III releases on consoles and PC in November.

Pre-order Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Update 09/21/2023 at 1:30 p.m. EST: Replaced references to Treyarch with multiplayer developer Sledgehammer Games; removed “open-world” as a descriptor for MWIII.

PS5 Slim Bundles May Include Free Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3

A PS5 Slim sits next to a copy of Modern Warfare 3.

The new PlayStation 5 “slim” complete with a disc drive and DualSense controller is being bundled at no extra cost with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, according to a new advertisement shared by CoD news site Charlie Intel. The free game comes just a month after Call of Duty officially became part of Xbox.

The redesigned PS5 with a Blu-Ray player is normally $500, while the all-digital version that can be upgraded with a detachable disc drive later is normally $450. Since a new ad shared by Charlie Intel shows the Modern Warfare 3 bundle still only costing $500, it seems like Sony is preparing to celebrate Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard by giving away the game for free. The bundles come out November 10, the same day as Modern Warfare 3. Just wait until you see them on store shelves. They’re really small.

Sony has given away new Call of Duty games before in its console bundles. Infinite Warfare was free with a new PS4 in 2016 ($300), and WWII was free in 2017. However, this is the first time Sony is debuting such a big deal alongside the launch of a slim model, and right after the game just became owned by its biggest competitor. While Microsoft and Sony hashed out a deal to keep the franchise on PlayStation moving forward, this will be the last time the PS5 version of the game will come with timed-exclusive bonus content.

The free game will likely help boost PS5 sales this holiday, in which Sony is looking to sell a record-breaking 25 million consoles by the end of March 2024. That target comes even as Sony’s only major first-party game this year is Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and even as it begins cutting some staff across various PlayStation studios.

The ad spotted by Charlie Intel notes that the deal is only up for grabs while supplies last, and reminds prospective buyers that the new metal ring vertical stand isn’t included in the bundle. It’s sold separately and will cost $30.


Call Of Duty Modern Warfare III Early Access, Explained

Captain Price kneels in a field.

Image: Activision / Kotaku

A new Call of Duty campaign is nearly here. The full game, featuring campaign and multiplayer, launches on November 10 (see on Amazon), but you can start playing the new single-player campaign today if you’ve preordered.

A sequel to 2022’s Modern Warfare II, Modern Warfare III sends Task Force 141 on a mission to stop Vladimir Makarav from sending the world into absolute chaos (as opposed to just a little chaos, you know, as a treat). Early access starts today on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Windows.

Here are the Modern Warfare III campaign early access times for each region

  • 10 a.m. PST
  • 1 p.m. EST
  • 6 p.m. GMT
  • 7 p.m. CEST
  • 5 a.m. AEST

Preloading for the campaign is now live.

Modern Warfare III’s multiplayer will launch on November 10, with preloads opening up on November 9 for everyone. The timing for PC and console is a little different for the full release: Modern Warfare III will launch at 9 p.m. PST on November 9 for PC players, while console versions will roll out at these times:

  • November 9: 9 p.m. PST
  • November 10: 12 a.m. EST
  • November 10: 5 a.m GMT
  • November 10: 6 a.m CEST
  • November 10: 4 p.m. AEST

Importantly, Modern Warfare III will not see the launch of a “Warzone 3.0.” Instead, Warzone is simply known as “Warzone.” The free battle royale and extraction shooter mode (DMZ) will see a new map, Urzikstan, go live with Modern Warfare III’s first season in December 2023.

Pre-order Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Should I play Modern Warfare II 2022’s campaign before Modern Warfare III?

In Kotaku’s review of the 2022’s Modern Warfare II, we found the level design very lacking, without much freedom of movement or tactics. That said, the 2022 release features solid gameplay and a charismatic cast of characters who are hard not to like. The 2022 campaign also leads directly up to Modern Warfare III. It could be worth jumping back in to get caught up on who is doing what. Expect to spend roughly eight hours on the campaign if you’re thinking of giving it a spin.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3’s Install Is Unbelievably Massive

Call of Duty filesizes are completely out of control. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III (see on Amazon), the latest in the long-running military FPS franchise recently acquired by Microsoft, consumes over 200GB of storage on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S when you add up everything it contains. The new Call of Duty HQ download manager alone is itself a roughly 50GB install.

Call of Duty games have had massive digital footprints for a while now. We complain about them every year. Things were particularly bad with 2020’s Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, which ate up a staggering 255GB on PS5 after all its content packs were installed. It seemed like video game filesize inflation slowed down for a bit afterward, but with Modern Warfare III the hit shooter is back to eating up anywhere from a third to half of players’ “next-gen” SSD drives, according to IGN.

Activision tried to explain why this is happening on X (formerly known as Twitter) today. “In preparation, we would like to provide an update on file sizes which are larger than last year,” the company tweeted. “This is due to the increased amount of content available Day 1, including open world Zombies, support for item carry forward from #MW2, as well as map files for current Call of Duty: Warzone. (Note: as part of our ongoing optimization efforts, your final installation size will be actually smaller than the combined previous Call of Duty experiences).”

While it makes sense that all of Modern Warfare III’s map packs, modes, and cross-over content with Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2 would add to the final filesize, Activision’s explanation still doesn’t still doesn’t make clear why players can’t simply download the single-player campaign that came out in “early access” today without messing around with the rest via a convoluted, 50GB launcher.

In theory, Call of Duty HQ is supposed to make MW3’s nearly 235GB footprint easier to manage by streamlining how players pick and choose what content to download and install. In practice, however, many fans seem to think it’s a huge pain in the ass. Warfare 2 players have already had to put up with it for months now, with PC Gamer calling the interface, “a real mess of data management.” Being required for Modern Warfare III hasn’t won the launcher any more supporters.

“Call of Duty HQ system seems way too complicated for casual players,” tweeted Charlie Intel co-founder Keshav Bhat. “The amount of posts I have seen asking how to install [the] campaign or where to find it is insane.”

Plus, if the total size of MW3 is already over 200GB, it’s likely to get even bigger in the months ahead as Activision rolls out additional content, including remastered Modern Warfare 2 maps. I’m looking forward to when Call of Duty HQ gets its own overhaul, requiring players to install a massive patch to fix the massive installer.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III’s multiplayer mode goes live November 10.

Pre-order Modern Warfare III: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop


Xbox Startup Screen Is Now Full-Page Modern Warfare 3 Ad

A full-screen ad shows purchase options for Call of Duty.

Screenshot: Microsoft / Activision

If you fired up your Xbox today, you might’ve seen something you didn’t expect: A darn full-screen advertisement for the latest Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare III (see on Amazon). Though Microsoft has done this before with exclusives like Starfield, it’s already rubbing some gamers the wrong way.

Though 2023’s Modern Warfare III isn’t technically coming out in full form until November 10, those who want to get in on the campaign can do so right now by pre-ordering any edition of the game. So while that early access period might be enticing for those eager to follow the story of Task Force 141, it’s far from a universal desire, making the full-screen Call of Duty ad on Xbox’s start screen feel intrusive. The Modern Warfare III marketing blitz comes just weeks after Microsoft wrapped its acquisition of CoD’s publisher, Activision Blizzard.

Task Force 141 briefs before a mission.

Screenshot: Activision / Kotaku

“Fight against the ultimate threat. Play the Campaign now,” the ad starts. Players are then given three options: “Buy Now,” “Get the Vault Edition Upgrade,” and “Exit.” While it’s not uncommon to see ads on consoles, a full-screen one that greets you the second you fire up your box is unusually aggressive.

“Don’t hit me with ads that take my whole screen when I paid $500 [for] your machine,” reads one post on X (formerly Twitter).

“This really is my push factor in building a proper PC,” reads one Reddit comment in reference to the ad. Though, as many were quick to respond, Windows (also owned by Microsoft) is far, far, far from an ad-free experience. Even after configuring much of the OS’s tendency to harass you with ads for Game Pass or Microsoft 365, it’s not uncommon to see other ads or unwanted pop-ups appear. The year of the Linux desktop can’t come soon enough.

It’s frustrating when a machine you spend hundreds of dollars on doesn’t feel like it’s totally under your control. But who knows, maybe a decade from now, people will get nostalgic over the CoD ad from 2023 that greeted them upon starting up their Xbox.

Pre-order Modern Warfare III: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop