Gamescom 2014 | Rise of the Tomb Raider is Actually a Timed Exclusive

Every now and then, games get an exclusive pathway to one console over the other. A few years ago, Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy XIII was that game. Now it’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, another Square-Enix published title.

The game is being developed by Crystal Dynamics and set for release on Xbox 360 and Xbox One during the holiday season next year, as announced by Microsoft at Gamescom 2014 today.

Reports have surfaced, however, that the exclusivity of the game does indeed have a time limit.

Let’s backtrack for a moment. There’s a reason why people may be running around rampantly with their heads cut off. Two months ago, Rise of the Tomb Raider was revealed for the first time at E3 2014. At that time, there was hardly any news of exclusivity for the game announced, which led many to bank on the title being multi-platform. With the new set of information released today by one of Microsoft’s higher ups, it may very well be. Just not now and probably not for a long time.

“The deal has a duration. I didn’t buy it. I don’t own the franchise,” Head of Xbox Division Phil Spencer said in an interview with Eurogamer.

“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. So all I can talk about is the deal I have. I don’t know where else Tomb Raider goes.” – Phil Spencer, Xbox

Spencer did not give out any information about how long the duration will last or for how much money Microsoft invested in this joint venture, citing non-disclosure agreements between them and Square-Enix.

At the head of that announcement, Crystal Dynamics’ head of product development Darrell Gallagher also shared an official statement about the issue, citing a need to maintain relationships with Microsoft and reminding players about other Tomb Raider projects already set in place for PlayStation and PC platforms.

“Our goal has always been to deliver something truly special with Rise of the Tomb Raider. 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,” Gallagher said.

“This doesn’t mean that we’re walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4.” –  Darrell Gallagher, Crystal Dynamics

Whether or not this changes anyone’s mind about purchasing the game is irrelevant, but the reason why Rise of the Tomb Raider is such a timed exclusive remains to be a mystery, though it’s not hard to make a pretty plausible guess.

It was widely reported that in the eyes of Square-Enix, revenue expectations for 2013’s Tomb Raider weren’t exactly met until a year after the game had been out there on store shelves. With the new Uncharted 4: A Theif’s End set to release around the same time, perhaps competition may be the only thing keeping Square-Enix confident about the Tomb Raider franchise.

Time will tell.

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