In a sad turn of events, what we had planned to be an uplifting story for PC users missing out on Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, currently free on Xbox 360, turned quite bitter. We wanted to point out that the isometric action adventure is still free for users on Core Online, a free games web service from Square Enix. It has, however, been discontinued with little fanfare. We’re sorry, Tomb Raider fans.
This is also true for PC title Gameglobe, which had been in Beta since 2012. It was a merger between Square Enix and browser game specialists Bigpoint, who has since then vowed removal from the project, to give gamers an alternative to LittleBigPlanet. With simple level editor tools, you could make just about any little game imaginable. When we played it in 2012, it did have potential to generate rather creative content from its community, even if it was obviously hindered by free-to-play barricades.
We launched Core Online as an experiment to see what demand there would be for HD games played via the browser – whether gamers would welcome games on that platform, whether new business models might be of interest. We were pleased with the advances in technology we managed to make in the creation of the Core Online platform but due to limited commercial take-up of this initiative it’s no longer something we will be supporting.
With the Core Online service, players could sign up and play games in fragmented chapters for free, with a few advertisements included. To remove ads and gain unlimited access, it was possible to pay for a subscription for $2.99 a month.
Along with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Core Online hosted several Hitman titles and a select few other Square Enix games, as well as directions to Gameglobe and the still operational Heroes & Generals team-based shooter.
These were the games available on Core Online for free:
- Tomb Raider Underworld
- Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
- Mini Ninjas
- Hitman: Blood Money
- Hitman: Sniper Challenge
If you have an Xbox Live Gold subscription, you can still download Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light for free here.