Rise Of The Tomb Raider An Xbox Exclusive? What Was Square Enix Thinking?

During Microsoft’s press briefing at Gamescom, it was revealed that Rise of the Tomb Raider will be exclusive to Xbox One. A sequel to the Tomb Raider reboot released in 2013, and developed by Crystal Dynamics, the news comes as a surprise considering that the previous title was available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC platforms. So what was Square Enix thinking when making this deal?

Tomb Raider sold 3.6 million units within its first four weeks - a number that many developers and publishers would be happy about. However, Square Enix, the publisher behind Crystal Dyanmics, revealed in a financial briefing that it had expected the reboot to sell around 5-6 million units and were disappointed in its performance. Since then, the company also released the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

So why broker a deal with Microsoft that makes Rise of the Tomb Raider an Xbox exclusive? Crystal Dynamics head of studios Darrell Gallagher explained the developer’s reason, “Tomb Raider in 2013 was a success due in large part to your continued support. Our goal has always been to deliver something truly special with Rise of the Tomb Raider. Today’s announcement with Microsoft is one step to help us put Tomb Raider on top of action adventure gaming. Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.”

Make no mistake, this is a great coup for Microsoft considering that the Xbox One has been lagging behind Sony’s PlayStation 4. Microsoft is looking for its next big exclusive considering that its last one, Titanfall, has been underwhelming. It could also be that both companies are hoping that the Tomb Raider sequel, and additional follow-ups, will be the Xbox console’s equivalent to Sony’s Uncharted series on the PlayStation.

However, there is a problem for Square Enix. Microsoft has been silent on how many consoles have been sold since we were informed back in April that it had shipped 5 million units. Meanwhile, Sony revealed today at Gamescom that it had sold 10 million PS4s. Given Square Enix’s high aspirations for the series, why would it limit itself to the Xbox platform and, presumably, Xbox One’s smaller consumer base?

The biggest theory we can come up with is that Microsoft has been financing a huge part of the game’s development. If that is the case, it would certainly decrease the need for Rise of the Tomb Raider to sell a lot of units for Square Enix. The other theory is that this will be a timed exclusive but neither company wants to announce that yet and are taking a wait-and-see approach.

But if Rise of the Tomb Raider is an Xbox exclusive, then Square Enix is taking a huge risk. It risks alienating fans of the series and, possibly, poor sales on a platform that has half the consumer base of its competition.

RWilliams 4 months ago

Great read.

I can't help but think about Crytek here; it made an Xbox One exclusive, and look what happened. It at first said no PC port would be coming, and then the company almost collapsed, and it backtracked - way too late.

This is going to anger SO many gamers. Most people I know who loved the last Tomb Raider played it on the PC.

MADSKILLZ412 4 months ago

It all comes down to: How will we make the most money? If they have a chance to make more money by making it an Xbox exclusive ( Which will probably come to PC within a year xD) why wouldn't they?

D3FCON 4 months ago

I say stuff them. If there so dumb to make exclusives because Console companies are trying to take jeopardy over each other then let them die. PC gaming systems way out sold consoles in the past few years and it's climbing. They retard games when the port them so it is a win for PC users regardless.

It is beyond me why a publisher or developer would want an exclusive as sales over PS3/4 | Xbox360/one | WiiU and PC combined would extremely exceed the sales of ONE unit

MADSKILLZ412 4 months ago

The reason there are console exclusives is because either Microsoft or Sony pays the developers of the game a large sum of money (usually enough money to make up for not selling it on other consoles) so that the game will either only be released on their console, or will be released first on their console. I can only think of one Nintendo console exclusive off the top of my head that is a third party game is Bayonetta 2. The rest of the Wii U's console exclusives are developed by Nintendo.

altshep123 4 months ago

Darrell Gallagher's comments actually say absolutely nothing about why they actually made this decision : / Sounded like I was listening to a politician speak. Why would partnering with just Microsoft help them "get to the top of action adventure gaming"? I guess a little money up front is better than a chance at more later.

StaticFX 4 months ago

relax...its a timed exclusive (as it is with most exclusives)

no word on how long...

KevinLozandier 4 months ago

Hey, Sean Knight: It's been confirmed to be a *timed* exclusive by Microsoft; I see this as a win-lose situation that Square Enix communicated such a thing so poorly.

Their PR statement was abysmal.

JefferyPruett 4 months ago

Wow this company battle trying to seize control things makes me ill and needs to stop lol...cmon Xbox u get COD dlc before Sony what more u want >.<

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