After a prolonged silence, Square Enix finally confirmed the duration of Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s exclusivity early last week, revealing that those waiting for the sequel to arrive on PC and PS4 won’t get a hold of Lara Croft’s next adventure until 2016.
As per Microsoft’s arrangement with both Square and developer Crystal Dynamics, Rise of the Tomb Raider will make its debut on Xbox One and Xbox 360 this November, and long before the announcement of a deal was made, Square Enix CEO Phil Rogers knew the decision to limit the sequel’s release would evoke a negative reaction from fans.
“I hope fans know that it wasn’t an easy decision,” Rogers told Examiner.com. “I think any sort of partnership at this level is a decision that took a longtime for us to get to. The decision at a studio level, we took very, very seriously. We knew it would, in the short-term, disappoint fans.”
Striking up deals and content partnerships with third-party publishers has become one of the industry’s more divisive subjects in recent years, with Sony and Microsoft in particular locking down in-game content and the like all in the effort of driving sales. Of course, this subsequently results in a fractured audience, and while Rogers mentioned that the partnership with Microsoft will help “grow the IP” in the long-term, the concept of a timed-exclusive has become loaded with negative connotations in recent times.
In the end, money talks. No matter how successful 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot proved to be amongst critics, Square Enix still maintains that the game was financially underwhelming in the sales department, meaning that a deal with Microsoft – and therefore leveraging development costs – should come as no surprise.
Crystal Dynamics’ Rise of the Tomb Raider will make its debut on Xbox platforms on November 10, 2015, before making its way onto PC and PlayStation systems in early 2016 and holiday 2016, respectively.