Shadow of the Tomb Raider launched with a different ending that was patched out on day one

If you played Shadow of the Tomb Raider all the way to the end, then you know how it ends. (Obviously.) But as Kotaku reported today, the game shipped with a very different ending, one that referenced a significant character from Core Design's original 1996 Tomb Raider. That ending was changed in a day-one patch, so most players would never see it, or even realize it ever existed.

There are, of course, major spoilers below.   

The fun began when Tomb Raider forum user Tombstone asked why, in all the discussions about Shadow of the Tomb Raider, nobody had mentioned the letter that Lara gets from Natla—that would be villain Jacqueline Natla—at the end of the game. After all, the obvious implication that she would return as the villain for the next Tomb Raider, whatever it might be, is pretty huge.   

Responses insisted that she did not receive a letter at all, and that Tombstone was either wrong or messing with people. The conversation went back and forth, with plenty of ribbing, until Tombstone finally ran out of patience. 

"I had to replay the whole damn game again so I hope you cows calling me a troll and liar eat some humble crow pie," they wrote in a message that also included a video of the game's ending, which included the letter he'd said was there all along. 

Square Enix confirmed that Tombstone was correct in a message shared through Tomb Raider's Official Fansite Program. "During the course of development on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, multiple post-credits scenes were explored. Unfortunately one of the directions that was considered, but not chosen, was mistakenly included in the game," it said. 

"The Day One patch fixes this error, along with many other improvements. As always, we highly recommend that our players install the patch to enjoy the complete and most up-to-date experience." 

Even though that "direction" wasn't chosen, I have to wonder whether this is a major (and majorly early) spoiler for what's coming in the next Tomb Raider game. Natla hasn't turned up in the rebooted Tomb Raider universe yet, so a surprise reappearance would be a big bone to toss to fans, and an easy PR win. Maybe the plan was to start that talk early? As Kotaku pointed out, it's not unusual for unused content to be left buried in the code, but this is a case of a game literally shipping with the wrong ending. How do you even do that? 

The Shadow of the Tomb Raider ending with the Natla letter, courtesy of Daft Raider (Tombstone's video looks like he recorded the screen with his phone), can be seen below.  

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.