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Did you know there was a new trailer about for Rise of the Tomb Raider? I didn’t until I stumbled upon it by accident… Funny what brand damage caused by unnecessary exclusivity (temporary or not), bad PR (anyone remember being told it was okay because the rest of us could still play Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and Tomb Raider Definitive Edition? Yeah, that’s totally okay … ) and Microsoft can do to a good reputation.
After the incredible success of Tomb Raider 2013, after what seemed like a dry spell for the iconic archaeologist, Square Enix (who have really been going down in my estimations lately, this doesn’t help … ) and Crystal Dynamics have decided that the next in the series should be exclusive to Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox 360. This is after the first game in the rebooted series was proven to have sold better on both PlayStation 3 and 4 than any other console. Logic? What is logic?
After the initial, and expected, reaction to breaking this news to fans, several confusing announcements later and a now regular reassurance we’ve been told this is only a timed exclusivity. The damage has been done though, and I’m reminded of the initial and rather controversial reveal of the Xbox One.
I also can’t say I have too much faith in this timed exclusivity – has there been a Playstation 3 and PC release of the DLC episodes from Tomb Raider Underworld yet? Kind of worrying.
Anyway, I suppose I should review this trailer.
Much like the initial trailers for Tomb Raider, it’s certainly very nice to look at. I am a bit disappointed by the lack of gameplay, but we’re waiting until the Xbox E3 briefing for that it seems. Or so the end of the trailer would let us believe (trust is a hard thing to win back Square Enix).
I have to give them this, I’m glad Lara is sporting appropriate clothing these days. The first time we saw Lara in this climate, way back in Tomb Raider II, a simple leather jacket over the top of her short shorts and vest were supposedly enough for Lara to brave the cold. Now Lara is human in so many ways – she has emotions, as we saw in the latest entry, she has physical feelings, reacting to pain and the cold weather, but perhaps most important of all is that she’s no longer just a sex object! We’re aware Lara has legs and a chest, doesn’t mean we have to see every inch in every game.
The references to real explorers of historical fame are also great for grounding Lara in a now more believable universe. Lara isn’t just some acrobat who woke up one morning and decided to become a dual pistol wielding, short shorts wearing explorer raiding tombs for fun with no regard for the rest of the archaeological community.
Now (and I’m basing this on her character for the novel Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortals as well, which is a fantastic read), Lara has respect for her predecessors. She has studied and trained in what she does. Not only that, the old Lara was starting to get a reputation as a thief, tampering with archaeological digs and claiming artifacts for herself. The slate is wiped clean now for a fresher, more believable Lara.
The problem is over half the audience will be denied this continuation of the believable Lara experience upon the launch date. With Microsoft supposedly helping out with development of the game I have to worry about whether or not that will cause a problem with porting it to other platforms. If Microsoft is to have part ownership of the development, how likely are they to give that up?
I’ve been hurt before Square Enix, and you Microsoft … I won’t be hurt again. My hopes are as low as you’ve set them.
Here’s the trailer, enjoy:
Rise of The Tomb Raider will be available on Xbox One and Xbox 360 Q4 2015 and on other platforms if anyone can be bothered to port it/buy it after the exclusivity contract comes to an end.