Pretty much anyone who has been following this week’s gaming industry news already knows about the “Great Tomb Raider PR Blunder of 2014″. When Crystal Dynamics’ Head of Studios Darrell Gallagher posted his special announcement on the official Tomb Raider Blog on Tuesday, there was a great disturbance in the TR fan community, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in anger and yelled “Oh, hell no!”
And understandably so. Tomb Raider has been a multi-platform series practically since Day 1 so it’s not hard to see why PC and PlayStation gamers would be furious about Crystal Dynamics’ decision to make Rise of the Tomb Raider an Xbox exclusive. Although Xbox boss Phil Spencer has since stepped in to clarify that Microsoft’s exclusivity deal “has a duration” (which could indicate that Rise of the Tomb Raider will actually be a timed exclusive), Crystal Dynamics’ announcement has succeeded in alienating a significant portion of the TR fanbase and ushered in yet another round of “console wars”.
Here is Darrell Gallagher’s statement in full:
Dear Tomb Raider Community,
As you may have seen, we’ve just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox. We consider all of you to be the lifeblood of Tomb Raider and the work we do at Crystal. I’d like to give you some insight into this decision, and why we feel this is the very best thing for the Tomb Raider sequel we’re creating at the studio.
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.
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.
We know that there are probably many more questions and concerns. Please do send them to us, and we’ll answer to the best of our ability. Meanwhile we’re going all out to try and make something truly special – the most ambitious Tomb Raider game ever built.
Crystal Dynamics Head of Studios
Now, contrary to popular belief, many of us fans are not against console exclusives per sé as the gaming industry, like any major industry, needs a bit of healthy competition. But to take an old, established series and suddenly announce that only Xbox One and 360 owners will have the pleasure of playing the new game when it’s released in 2015, well, that’s just a kick in the collective groin. “Oh, but the PlayStation has Uncharted. Stop whining”. That is true, but Uncharted was a brand new series created specifically for the PS so this should not have any bearing whatsoever on Crystal Dynamics’ (or Microsoft’s) decision or on our right to criticize that decision.
And let’s not forget that Rise’s predecessor Tomb Raider 2013 *did* get a PS4 release. This means that anyone who enjoyed the first instalment of the rebooted series will now face a lengthy wait to see where Lara’s next adventure takes her, assuming the title ever gets a PS release. Personally, I find it hard to believe that Microsoft would invest so much time and money in developing “the most ambitious Tomb Raider game ever built” just to see it released on a rival console further down the line. But time will tell. I, for one, will not be holding my breath.
So let’s see what the future brings us, Raider fans. While Crystal Dynamics’ decision is pretty much set in stone, you can let them know how you feel about console exclusivity by leaving a message over on the official TR blog or by signing Stella’s petition.
What do you think about Darrell Gallagher’s statement? Do you agree that console exclusivity (even if it’s only for a limited period) is the right way forward for the Tomb Raider franchise or is it a terrible decision? Leave your comments below!