Behind the Multilingual Localization of Tomb Raider Reloaded


For ages, literature, movies, and games have revolved around ancient mysteries, hidden treasures, and intrepid archeologists. One fictional adventurer who has become an icon is Lara Croft.  

She made her debut in 1996 as the main character in the video game Tomb Raider. Then, in 2001, with the release of the movie adaptation of Tomb Raider, she became well-known outside of the gaming world. 

Now, with more than 10 video game titles and 3 movies under its belt, the Tomb Raider franchise is celebrating its 27th year with the release of the mobile game Tomb Raider Reloaded, which Terra Localizations had the pleasure of localizing. 

The Jump to Mobile Devices and F2P  

Tomb Raider is out on mobile devices as a free-to-play (F2P) game for the first time. Developed by Emerald City Games and published by CDE Entertainment for iOS and Android devices, Tomb Raider Reloaded allows players to crawl through dungeon-like tombs to unlock quest maps. Filled with enemies to face, puzzles to solve, power-ups to earn, and achievements to unlock, the levels have plenty of things to discover.  

The game launched on February 14th, 2023 and is meant for everyone, from casual players to raving fans. It is also being distributed through Netflix Games, which offers a version without ads or in-app purchases; all you have to do is log into your personal Netflix account.  

Since its release, some updates and patches are being developed to keep the game up to date, so this is still an ongoing project for our team.  

The Work Behind the Scenes  

The Terra team joined the development team at an early stage to ensure a seamless localization process and the two teams worked hand in hand for two years. Such early involvement is rare, since localization teams are still trying to raise awareness about the important role they play in game development and the impact their work has on a game’s success worldwide, so that in itself was a triumph.   

Starting the localization journey early allowed our team to support the developers in almost every step of the process and lay solid groundwork before tackling the first translations. As ideal as this might sound, anticipating the challenges that could arise during the translation process was a monumental task from a project management perspective. 

“As the game was still in the early stages of development, there were a number of challenges, but we tackled them by doing research on the Tomb Raider universe,” Verónica Ríos, a Linguistic Lead at Terra, said about the experience and how she and her team managed to stay one step ahead. Context is everything for both localization and LQA, so the team built a comprehensive context guide from scratch, with all necessary documentation, taking into account the game’s lore, established fanbase, and target audience. The next step was to extract key terms to be translated into each target language and create a reliable termbase to ensure consistency with all the franchise’s previous games. Another critical element was the voice and tone, since the newest version of Lara is geared towards all audiences. 

Fiorella Nocetti, a Senior Multilingual QA Manager at Terra, admitted that she died (in-game) countless times while beta-testing the game and checking UX/UI and skill issues. “A script for testing and keys for difficult-to-pass parts would have been fantastic, but none of that was available in those early stages, so cross-reports between linguists were a must before delivering a final report to the client to achieve a high quality standard.” 

Hard Work, Recognized 

When Netflix joined the project with the goal of adding Tomb Raider Reloaded to its games catalog, it had our localizations audited by a third party, which reported that Terra had done excellent work. That was the cherry on top of this massive project! 

Another sweet moment came when all the members of our team, who were involved in the project for approximately two years, made their way into the game credits. 

Final Thoughts  

From managing terminology and creating a comprehensive style guide to ensuring a flawless mobile user experience, our team met challenges head-on, nimbly capturing the essence of the Tomb Raider universe in multiple languages.  

It’s gratifying to see that more and more video game developers are recognizing the hard work localization teams do and giving credit where it’s due. Localization goes beyond language translation and ensures that players worldwide can fully immerse themselves in the gaming world. The #TranslatorsInTheCredits movement is helping to bring attention to the crucial work we do and we remain hopeful that, someday, recognizing and honoring localization teams will be standard practice in the gaming industry. 

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