26 years after it debuted on PS1, veteran Resident Evil developer’s cult classic “open world” platformer is returning on modern platforms

26 years after it debuted on PS1, veteran Resident Evil developer’s cult classic “open world” platformer is returning on modern platforms


(Image credit: Limited Run Games)

Forget everything you saw at State of Play last night – the true bombshell PlayStation announcement of the week is the return of Tomba, the Sony-published platformer that’s spent the past few decades gaining a cult following.

Tomba: Special Edition is officially set to hit PS5, Switch, and PC on August 1, with a PS4 version to follow some time later. The new edition will offer analog control options, a rewind feature, the ability to save anywhere, and a robust museum section filled with old advertisements, packaging materials, and dev documents. The release is being handled by Limited Run Games, whose in-house emulation efforts have been very well-received up to this point.

The 1998 release of Tomba was led by Tokuro Fujiwara, a veteran Capcom developer who directed some of the publisher’s most notable ’80s classics, including Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Commando. He’s also known for directing the 1990 NES game Sweet Home, which is one of the earliest survival horror games. A few years later, Fujiwara pitched a remake of Sweet Home – a project that eventually morphed into the original Resident Evil, a game that Fujiwara would serve as producer on.

After Resident Evil, Fujiwara left Capcom to form an independent studio called Whoopee Camp, where he led development of Tomba. It was a 2D platformer in an era that had gone all-in on 3D action, but its open-ended exploration and wide variety of side quests helped it stand out in a genre that was then looking dated. In fact, to this day Fujiwara reckons Tomba might’ve been a little ahead of its time.

“You could consider Tomba an open-world title, a term that was rarely used back then,” Fujiwara tells the PlayStation Blog in a new interview. “There’s a wide area with a lot of different content in it. You encounter, discover, and collect various things as you move around. For example, you have to complete certain tasks in Tomba, but you can wander around freely and complete them however you like. Some tasks and main objectives can even be skipped entirely. Many of the ideas I envisioned for Tomba back in the day were ideas we see in open-world game design today.”

Many of the best PS1 games deserve a modern chance. 

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Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He’s been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.

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