Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider News for Xbox One

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Rise of the Tomb Raider probably isn't an Xbox exclusive after all – but with the mixed messaging surrounding the exclusivity announcement, you'd be forgiven for believing it was.

Announced during the platform holder's Gamescom press conference earlier this week, the exclusivity deal, which will see Rise of the Tomb Raider launch exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox 360 next year, attracted a torrent of criticism from fans as word spread that they may not be able to play the upcoming sequel on PlayStation or PC.

The situation wasn't helped by comments from Microsoft representatives shortly after the announcement, whose mixed messaging told a different story to what ultimately turned out to be the truth.

In the UK, a Microsoft PR representative corrected games publication GamesTM when it stated that Rise of the Tomb Raider was only a timed exclusive, telling them, "Nope, just exclusive". Shortly after, a post on Microsoft's Xbox Wire stated that the game was to be published by Microsoft Studios, and later amended to remove the publisher altogether.

Other senior representatives appeared confused, too. Xbox's senior director of Studios Global Product Marketing Aaron Greenberg corrected US journalist Geoff Keighley when he said that the "Official line is that the game is 'exclusive on Xbox for holiday 2015'". "That is not what we said," Greenberg replied. "[Crystal Dynamics] also posted same," linking to an equally cloudy blog post explaining the partnership.

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But it was. When formally questioned, both Microsoft and Square stuck to the same official line - that Rise of the Tomb Raider is "launching in Holiday 2015, exclusively on Xbox" - until Xbox head Phil Spencer finally admitted that the deal "has a duration" period 24 hours later.

It was already too late, of course. The anger and hatred had already set in amongst fans, and Microsoft, Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics and the Tomb Raider brand had already been damaged in the cross-fire.

But it didn't need to be like this. Had Microsoft been clearer with its initial message the controversy could have been avoided completely. Instead, it's just another reminder of the terrible communication surrounding Xbox One's reveal last year, and the cagey discussion around the console's original online requirements and DRM.

Perhaps most disappointing of all, though, is Spencer's earlier promise to be more "direct and honest" with consumers failing to come into fruition.

He initially dodged the question about exclusivity in an interview with CVG, choosing not to clarify whether the game was a timed or permanent exclusive to Xbox platforms.

"We're saying what we said on stage," he said. "In Holiday 2015, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be exclusive to Xbox. That's the comment. We had a lot of similar questions around Titanfall and the structure of our deal is a business relationship that's frankly between us and Square Enix. I know Crystal Dynamics has issued a statement and we're going to stand by that. Xbox fans are going to be able to play Tomb Raider next holiday exclusive on Xbox."

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition screenshot

So with the earlier promise to be less "confusing", why wasn't Spencer more upfront about the deal originally? Securing an early launch on Xbox One over that vital Christmas period will be a major win for Microsoft, ensuring the game escapes any technical comparisons with PS4 and - likely - see more units of a multiplatform third-party title sold on Xbox One, something MS has struggled with so far. It will likely sell some Xbox Ones, too, depending on how long the deal lasts.

But what should have been a big PR win turned into another PR disaster for Microsoft, and with the recent revelation that Xbox One 'exclusives' Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome will soon be heading to PC, fans must be wondering what it means to be an 'exclusive' on Microsoft's platform any more...

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User Comments

EverTheOptimist's Avatar


I work in communications, and "only to Xbox Holiday 2015" is not clear at all. Yeah, some might think it's a timed exclusive but it's still a deliberately evasive message trying to make the absolute most out of something that isn't as good as it sounds.

It may be that MS are really bad at organising their comms, but people also forget that all press is good press and this, to me, has the potential to be a publicity stunt. We're all talking about it, and it's pretty safe to say that very few people, even those moaning, will refuse to buy it due to this little episode.
Posted 10:53 on 15 August 2014
Ephidel's Avatar


I am just psyched from when this game was announced. It was my highlight of E3 after playing the whole game back in Feb.

That said, I'll probably not own a platform that it's on until at least 2016, so... meh. :/
Posted 23:08 on 14 August 2014


"coming holiday 2015, Exclusively on xbox" - I know people should know the first bit should hint at timed and by judging how the rest of the industry runs but not everybody pays asmuch attention to the industry as much as this community might. MS talk about learning lessons from last years PR nightmare but obviously they haven't.
Posted 16:46 on 14 August 2014


Being a compotent PR employee at MS must be a nightmare working with this level of bs. And gaming journalism too, no one really knows, which PR do they quote, which is accurate?

I almost believe it's purposeful. With so much inaccuracy, fans of TR will buy an Xbox One or at least now consider getting one, because they won't want to miss out on it. I almost believe that.
Posted 16:40 on 14 August 2014
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ VG_Dave

As always I respect your view as previously stated think you do an awesome job along with James!

Just think it's been blown out of all proportion and the games press haven't helped.

I also get the feeling that sometimes these big companies right hand don't know what the left hand is doing. Maybe the ink isn't dry on this deal yet. Who knows!

What I do know is the articles showed how fickle gamers are and how territorial they get when things affect their chosen device!
Posted 16:31 on 14 August 2014
AManCalledBob's Avatar


My reading of this is that Microsoft needed something big to be ready for "Holidays 2014". If tomb raider was looking like it was not going to make that date they were going to have a gap. Hence, fund part of the development so that all of CDs resources could get behind the Xbox One version, rather than working on PS4, Xbox One and PC, and get it out by Holidays 2014.
Posted 16:31 on 14 August 2014
NM_Che56's Avatar


You nailed it. How flippin hard is it to say,
"Rise of the Tomb Raider will be coming FIRST to Xbox CONSOLES Holiday 2015".

A simple, declarative sentence that communicates the situation in a easily digestable way.

The bottom line is that they were trying to be cute and it bit them.
Posted 16:21 on 14 August 2014
VG_Dave's Avatar

VG_Dave@ Karlius

Sorry Karlius but I disagree. Once the Microsoft UK rep (the same rep, remember, that the games press would approach for clarity on things like this) corrected GamesTM it changed the message, and the ongoing confusion with Greenberg's comment, Crystal Dynamics and Xbox Wire post only exacerbated the situation.

The message was never cut and dry, and to be honest it still isn't.
Posted 15:23 on 14 August 2014
Karlius's Avatar


Just think this is a click baiting article sorry Dave. The whole saga is utter bollocks! MS stated coming "only to Xbox Holiday 2015". There are no lies there! The only bad press is the actual games press running a story with no clarity!

The statement has nothing but truth however lazy journalism lead to the implosion of the internet. From the very first announcement I read it like it was a timed exclusive and I think most people in chat etc thought the same. It was the news articles that followed that told us otherwise!

I'd say quoting another news outlets interview is also another means of disaster! I was no clearer reading that item than I was reading the rest of the nonsense on the internet! In fact there is no mention of a timed exclusive and again this is just journalists reading between the lines! The only guarantee I can see is that MS has some sort of exclusive deal on this Tomb Raider but hasn't acquired the franchise rights!

No company should have to disclose their business deals and the greatest reason for upset was simply sour grapes!

I'd also like to add I feel deeply sorry for you Dave as I'm sure you are working your arse off doing loops and the fact is you should be there in the action to get the answers we know you are great at getting! Not shackled to your desk!
Posted 15:10 on 14 August 2014

Tulipanzo@ Wido

I actually agree with you, if that means anything.
But wasn't "the best place to play" tagline used by PS4?
Posted 15:04 on 14 August 2014
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ BritishWolf

I hope I don't sound bias with what I am about to say.

Uncharted is miles ahead than Tomb Raider. The Tomb Raider franchise was stagnated with stuck in the past gameplay and trying to latch on the success of Uncharted, with no story and just emphasizing on breasts and arse snap shots.

I'm a big fan of Uncharted, love it's universe and I cannot wait to get my hands on Uncharted 4. However, saying that... I do like Tomb Raider, but the game or "series" shall we put it, isn't in the same league in my opinion compared to past. Tomb Raider you could say had its day going from its old current formula. The new Tomb Raider I did thoroughly enjoy. Gritty, atmospheric, powerful and Lara had more personality and depth to her character. I hope it continues with the second installment, and I'm sure Crystal Dynamics will deliver.

Here is my theory on the matter.

How many first party games does the Xbox One have in its schedule for this last quarter and next year in comparison to Playstation?

Not many. Both have boasted new sequels to their current first party franchises, remasters of Last Of Us and the upcoming Halo Master Chief collection. I don't see Microsoft with new IPs compared to Playstations. Yes, we have Sunset Overdrive and Quantum Break, but the Playstation has DriveClub, The Order, Bloodbourne, Until Dawn and more.

I see this timely exclusive as a compromise for Microsoft for next year for their first party titles. I was surprised during the gamescom conference that they said its going to be a Xbox One exclusive. Obviously huge amounts of money has been exchanged between Microsoft, Square Enix and of course Crystal Dynamics. Its business at its finest I am afraid. We will see the rise of the Tomb Raider on PS4. Gaming has evolved from one dedicated console. It will be stupid to single out a huge fanbase + userbase of the Playstation and PC, to a console that is flagging behind the Playstation and its innovative games which seems to be lacking.

I like both Xbox and Playstation. I do have a PS4 and I am rather happy with the console and I am in no rush to go out and buy a Xbox One. Once the Xbox One has games that are worth picking up and packing a punch with more new IPs. I will sit up right and take notice, but so far, I am not impressed. I see more multi-platform games dominating the "The best place to play games, is on Xbox" rather than using its main first party titles as the best as to why I, and many others should take notice. Quantum Break looked amazing and I can see great things with that game.
Posted 14:02 on 14 August 2014
jonny_dutch's Avatar


Disagree, I'd say the line "launching exclusively on Xbox" is as clear as any other PR babble, you have to get away with leading people to believe your "thing" is better than it is.
This issue really arose because there are more Tomb Raider fans on the PS4, expecting (perhaps naively) that TR would be multiplat. Being upset and confused by figuratively "losing" Lara, they demanded answers.
This would've worked for Sony (this gen) or on a newer/lesser IP, but you can't blame Xbox for trying.
Posted 13:29 on 14 August 2014


Surely the "first on xbox" slogan is strong enough to convince people this deal is originally aimed at anyway. Feels like they have resorted to cheap tactics due to their market share whereas Sony can just take things in their stride abit more.
Posted 12:46 on 14 August 2014
BarryK's Avatar


"told a different story to what ultimately turned out to be the truth"

So lying then.

I get that MS really want to beat the drum about their timed exclusive, but whoever decided to use their ridiculous double speak phrasing over just saying something like "first on Xbox" should be fired. Sharpish. MS have a serious image problem stemming from exactly this sort of behaviour, even that entire conversation with Eurogamer, trying to pin Spencer down, was a seriously slimy read. Just stop being dicks, you sell video games ffs!

I wonder if this backlash will, at the very least, encourage MS to rethink the inevitable "Rise of the Tomb Raider only on Xbox" ad campaign they're no doubt feverishly whipping together.
Posted 11:36 on 14 August 2014


I think they tried to avoid explaining it clearly because it's so terrible it couldn't have been made on stage.
Imagine:"The next Tomb Raider will be exclusive, for a time, on Xbox One, and Xbox 360".
Saying it outright would have just shown that no matter the money involved, no third party developer would let his game be exclusive, even if timed, just on XBox One.
Then again, they admitted to it ad also got all of the bad press, so it's a double loss.
Posted 11:16 on 14 August 2014

Game Stats

Release Date: 13/11/2015
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 288 4
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