Gaming fans are no stranger to rabid devotion to their favourite games, but the announcement of Rise of the Tomb Raider’s exclusivity to the Xbox One has shown just how upset they can be when things don’t go their way. Fans of Lara Croft took to social media to voice their displeasure, saying that Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics ‘stole Rise of the Tomb Raider from avid fans everywhere… Hope you go bankrupt.’ Another fan exclaimed that Microsoft ‘ruined everything’. If nothing else, this just goes to show that the Tomb Raider still has a dedicated fan base, 18 years after the franchise’s launch.
The announcement was made at this year’s Gamescom, where those involved waxed lyrical about how this deal was ‘good for gaming’. When asked why the title was exclusive to Microsoft, Darrell Gallagher, Head of Studios at Crystal Dynamics, stated that ‘our friends at Microsoft have always seen the potential in Tomb Raider’ and ‘we believe that this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming.’ Xbox head Phil Spencer added that ‘I think it could help the franchise in the long run.’
Getting behind the florid marketing speak, it’s clear that the deal is a good move for both Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics. The Tomb Raider brand is receiving a huge boost in publicity following the announcement, even if a lot of it is angry fans upset that the game won’t be coming to their chosen system. Microsoft are benefiting as they have now secured a household name brand as an exclusive for their consoles. As the Xbox One has been flagging in sales figures behind the PS4, an exclusive was sorely needed.
The move also means that the Xbox will now have a direct competitor to Sony’s exclusive Uncharted series, games that have cribbed more than a few moves from Ms. Croft herself. When asked about Uncharted, Phil Spencer replied that ‘I’m a big fan of Uncharted, and wish we had an adventure game of that ilk… this is an opportunity.’
When presented with the news, Sony’s Jim Ryan hit back saying that it doesn’t need to buy exclusive rights to third party titles, as it already has a strong range of exclusives and a strong relationship with third party developers.
It’s interesting that the announcement has attracted such attention and backlash, even the above catty comment from Sony who shouldn’t really be feeling threatened by it, thanks to healthy sales figures. Eventually, those involved have had to defend the decision online, and reveal that Rise of the Tomb Raider will only be a timed exclusive for the 2015 holiday season, as Microsoft don’t own the IP for the franchise.
The biggest surprise in this whole situation has to be the amount of popularity the Tomb Raider franchise still has. Given the amount of times the game has been rebooted and reworked at this point (three reboots, at my last count. THREE), the current generation of gamers would be forgiven for not recognising the game as the successor to the 90’s merchandising juggernaut. If nothing else, we’ve seen there’s life in the brand yet. Let’s hope Rise of the Tomb Raider lives up to the hype now…