Perhaps one of the most surprising tidbits coming out Gamescom day one was Microsoft’s announcement that Rise of the Tomb Raider — Crystal Dynamics’ highly anticipated sequel — would only be available on Xbox platforms upon release.
However, there seems to be a new twist in the tale, after Phil Spencer explained that the exclusivity deal “has a duration.”
Speaking with Eurogamer, Spencer addressed the question head on and confirmed that, while the follow-up to 2013’s reboot will arrive first on Xbox One and Xbox 360, it may appear on other platforms at a later, as-yet-unknown date.
“I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. It is Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I’m not trying to fake anybody out in terms of where this thing is. What they do with the franchise in the long run is not mine. I don’t control it. “Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn’t buy it. I don’t own the franchise.”
In the wake of yesterday’s conference, many assumed that Microsoft had agreed a deal with Square Enix — the current publisher of Tomb Raider — to ensure Rise of the Tomb Raider would remain on Xbox systems indefinitely. Although, it’s now clear that this simply isn’t the case, and while Spencer declined to confirm the duration of the deal, Crystal Dynamics will be free to publish the game elsewhere from that point on.
Alas, considering that the original announcement was riddled with marketing jargon along with the studio’s vague response, consumers have been left understandably confused. Still, in an event that was teeming with console exclusive content and nine kinds of platform perks, news that Microsoft’s deal is in fact finite was almost inevitable. (After all, Tomb Raider has sold approximately 7 million copies across a variety of platforms to date and is widely considered one of the best titles of 2013, so limiting Lara Croft’s next adventure to two consoles is ludicrous.)
Ultimately, news that Microsoft’s exclusive hold on Rise of the Tomb Raider is limited is good news for fans of the renown franchise. We can now expect Crystal Dynamics’ sequel to arrive on Xbox One and Xbox 360 first in holiday 2015, before landing on other platforms at a later date.