Well, Microsoft nabbed the first “WTF” announcement out of Gamescom. Next holiday, if you want to play Rise of the Tomb Raider, you’re going to have to play it on an Xbox, with the sequel going platform-exclusive. The use of the term “timed exclusive” has been completely omitted, leaving many to believe this is a straight-up Xbox One, according to the Gamescom presentation and a followup press release.
It’s a strange move for Square Enix given the challenges in getting the first Tomb Raider reboot out there. While the reviews were largely positive and sales solid, Square had projected crazy Madden-like numbers for a new game in a franchise that had kind of been pushed to the background for the last console generation.
While they might not have to pay quite so many development costs this time out (I’m assuming they’re reusing the Tomb Raider engine for Rise), it’s still a AAA release for a console that doesn’t quite have a huge install base yet. There is precedent, though: after Dead Rising went multiplatform with Dead Rising 2, Capcom went platform-exclusive with Dead Rising 3 for the Xbox One launch.
The Tomb Raider sequel just had its coming-out party during E3, but at that point, neither the Square Enix nor Microsoft camps were saying anything about exclusivity, so it looks like all of the “i’s” were getting dotted while the “t’s” were busy getting crossed in the last month and a half.
Oh, and it’s not clear if “Xbox-exclusive” extends to both the current and previous-gen consoles, but I’m sure we’ll hear more about it as the different SKUs start showing up at retailers.