There were some skeptics when Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics announced they were rebooting the Tomb Raider franchise back in 2010. After all, reboots fail a lot more often than they work, and this would mean a new start for a franchise that had at that point spanned over 14 years and 9 core games. Tomb Raider had its problems, but there was no guarantee the proposed reboot would fix them.
In terms of gameplay and style, the new Tomb Raider borrowed much from the Uncharted playbook. Crystal Dynamics' take on the series served up a grittier, more grounded Lara, just beginning her career and nowhere near the fearless adventurer she would eventually become. The reboot hit shelves in 2013, to critical acclaim, and now it's crossed an even more impressive threshold: Tomb Raider 2013 is now the best-selling in the franchise's history.
As reported by GameSpot, the Tomb Raider reboot has sold over 8.5 million copies worldwide since releasing in March 2013. That total includes the sales figures for the Definitive Edition that ported the game over to the PS4 and Xbox One, which included enhanced graphics and more content. Interest in the upcoming sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, has undoubtedly helped drive the recent spike in the game's sales totals, which increased from 7 million in February 2015 to the 8.5 million reported today. (Game Informer also released a cover story on Rise of the Tomb Raider that month.)
Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher praised the game's accomplishments in the developer's statement, saying, "Tomb Raider ignited and expanded the fan base, pushing the series to a new level. The game's incredible sales success reflects the passionate response of players."
Tomb Raider's current victory lap is definitely a turn from Square Enix's early feelings about the game. Square Enix found itself deep in the red in 2013, a problem it blamed on disappointing sales of many of their games - including Tomb Raider. According to a March 2013 earnings report, Square Enix had anticipated selling 14.9 million retail games in North America and Europe between September 2012 and the end of March 2013. Those numbers relied on the success of Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs, and Hitman: Absolution.
Unfortunately, that earnings report painted a bleak picture: Tomb Raider sold only 3.8 million copies worldwide, with Hitman: Absolution coming in at 3.6 million and Sleeping Dogs lagging far behind at 1.75 million. Square Enix described the sales as an "extraordinary loss," and the earnings report was accompanied by the departure of longtime president Yoichi Wada. Thankfully, Tomb Raider's fortunes have improved quite a bit in the ensuing two years, taking the reboot to the greatest heights the franchise has yet scaled. Rise of the Tomb Raider looks to have all the potential to climb even higher.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is set to release on Xbox One and Xbox 360 for Holiday 2015. The sequel is a timed exclusive, so there is not currently a timeline for a PC or PlayStation release.