‘Tomb Raider’ Xbox Exclusivity Gives Microsoft An ‘Uncharted’ Competitor

Published 9 months ago by

Rise of the Tomb Raider Lara Croft

It may be one of the most important and influential dates on the annual gaming calendar (only rivaled by E3) but despite the many big budget games shown off or talked about at Gamescom in Europe, the headline that dominated all else was the news that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be an Xbox “exclusive.”

Of course this didn’t go down well with everyone. Tomb Raider began its humble, treasure-seeking beginnings on PC, Sega Saturn and the original PlayStation One as one of the first games to have 3D graphics and it’s also regarded as one of the games that helped the PlayStation brand establish itself in the first place. As a result, some PC and PlayStation gamers found themselves feeling betrayed whilst many an Xbox gamer reveled in the exclusivity.

But amongst the arguments and calls for Square Enix to explain themselves, many pointed to the “Holiday 2015” timing of Rise of the Tomb Raider’s release — it would put the game directly up against the massive PlayStation exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. So will Rise of the Tomb Raider be Microsoft’s answer to Nathan Drake?

Xbox boss Phil Spencer explains that very question in a new interview with Eurogamer. Spencer acknowledges that Tomb Raider existed long before Xbox ever did, explaining that “the relationship [with developer Crystal Dynamics] has been built over time.”

“The one thing people have to know, it wasn’t a situation where we looked at a third-party space and just all of a sudden targeted a certain game and said, ‘we need to go get that game.'”

He also gave some credence to the rumor that off the back of 2013’s Tomb Raider failing to reach Square Enix’s initial sales targets, development on Rise of the Tomb Raider would not have gone ahead without Microsoft’s investment. Spencer says that “Crystal has done a great job in rebuilding it since ’09”, “but continuing to invest at that level, it takes a partnership”.

Other benefits from this “win/win” situation, as Spencer calls it, are that Microsoft can throw their marketing muscle behind the game. He likens the Rise of the Tomb Raider partnership to the exclusivity deals they have with Dead Rising, Titanfall and Ryse: Son of Rome. However, Crytek has said that Ryse’s sales on Xbox One weren’t to their liking, opinions about Dead Rising 3 were mixed amongst gamers (according to metacritic) and EA’s reluctance to release Titanfall’s lifetime sales figures could hint at disappointing numbers, even if the game reviewed well.

But could this middling track record drive the nail further into the Tomb Raider franchise’s coffin after sales have already threatened it once? Spencer explains that “this is an opportunity” to make Rise of the Tomb Raider Microsoft’s equivalent to PlayStation’s Uncharted as he’s “a big fan of Uncharted and I wish [Microsoft] had an action adventure game of that ilk.” He continues, “I want to have a stable of hits on our platform that we own. Absolutely. That’s fundamental to us having a successful platform. When a unique opportunity comes up, I’ve got to go look at that.”

Spencer also outright says that Microsoft’s backing will help Rise of the Tomb Raider directly compete with Uncharted next year, pointing to the crowded holiday schedule of 2014 as an example (although plenty of games this year have been delayed).

“If you’re going to build shows like this, and IP and marketing budgets, in certain instances a partnership is a good way for a publisher to find a way to get to the level they think they need to break out. Just look at this year and the October lineup. It’s crazy. If you’re one of the people who wants to make noise around the game you have, there are opportunities out there to partner with platform holders, with sponsorships and other things to make it big.

In the long run, Microsoft’s support could greatly benefit Rise of the Tomb Raider even when its a “timed exclusivey” (Spencer wouldn’t say when the deal ends) runs out and the game comes to PC and PS4. Though, Spencer did say “But I don’t [own the Tomb Raider IP] right now” setting alarm bells off for anyone expecting multi-platform releases of Tomb Raider games to continue. Timed or otherwise.

Rise of the Tomb Raider will be released on Xbox 360 and Xbox One in Holiday 2015.

Source: Eurogamer

TAGS: Crystal Dynamics, Microsoft, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Square Enix, Tomb Raider, Xbox 360, Xbox One

  • dan

    … No it doesn’t. I thought this was just a timed exclusive. If that’s true, it’s not an “answer.” It’s a whimper.

  • COREY_1993

    hahaha… it may give then that adventure game they so desperately need but in no way does this mean they are gonna compete. uncharted is going to sell ps4 but tomb raider is not gonna sell xbox. and its not exclusive either.

    TR is associated with the sony console. and its not gonna change. uncharted is probably the main reason this happened. they probably know uncharted is gonna bury this on ps4 cause they come out at the same time. i think they wanna wait a few months for the uncharted hype to die down.

    but its still gonna effect the sales a lot coming out so late. people are not gonna care unless TR2 is a master piece.

  • Styxx

    Spencer explains that “this is an opportunity” to make Rise of the Tomb Raider Microsoft’s equivalent to PlayStation’s Uncharted as he’s “a big fan of Uncharted and I wish [Microsoft] had an action adventure game of that ilk.”

    I’m sorry but how about you create a new game rather than stealing a previous multi-platform game.

    • dan

      Well, what came first, the chicken or the egg?

      Uncharted ripped off what Tomb Raider was pioneering before Drake’s Fortune was even a concept. And taking inspiration from other titles is hardly new. Bioware took inspiration from Bethesda when making Inquisition. CoD and Medal of Honor had a WW2 competition. And chess and checkers? come on. 😛

  • Slade

    This is ridiculous, they are nothing but thieves. If they wanted a game to compete with uncharted then they should of just developed one on their own.

  • felck89

    At least angry feminist will have a team to cheer for…that’s kind of cool.

  • Strider

    yeah, Tomb Raider is going to get uncharted alright.. from the Top 10! Limiting their game to one platform does not make it their most ambitious game to date as they claim it is. It just limits their fanbase and a big F.U to the PC and PS4 community. And very few people will ever buy the the inferior Xbox One just to play the game unless they’re really obsessed with Lara Croft.

  • ChrisTypeR

    The PC and PS1 gave life to Lara and how do Edios repay those people? If Microsoft think that Tomb Raider will compete with Uncharted they really have no idea….. Another mistake from Square who seem to make so many. Maybe they forget that the PS1 and PC saved their company from bankruptcy when FFVII came out? I have to say, since FFX on PS2 the games coming out of Square Enix / Edios have been dreadful so good luck with this idea you ungrateful rats.

  • cidgrad

    Phil Spencer also said that gamers love Kinect. You can’t believe a word that comes out of that man’s mouth.

    TR2 will be out for PC & PS3 in like Feb or March. MS probably paid a lot of money to get the delay in the release so it shouldn’t hurt CD too much as it should cushion the lost sales. I don’t see anyone rushing out to buy an Xbone just to play TR2 when they know a multi-platform release will be inevitable. It’s just going to hurt MS, which is fine with me.

  • Dean

    We really shouldn’t be guessing exactly how long the exclusive will last for because it could be anywhere as low as a month to maybe even at a year.

  • Nik

    It’s not a big deal. I mean totally if it was released alongside Uncharted 4 on PS4, it would have hurt both franchises. More Lara than Drake. So not a bad decision. I am sure. They (Eidoes, Core, Square, Crystal or whoever makes TR these days. .)won’t pass out on extra money off of Playstation and PC.
    Reminds me of what Nintendo used to do with Resident Evils…esp. Resident Evil 4. I was so passed when it was announced as Exclusive for the Gamecube. But finally it showed up on PS2 an year later. Can’t believe it’s been a decade since then. Even wierd is I can’t believe it’s only been 10 years! !