Square Enix Explains Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox Launch Exclusivity Deal; "It Wasn't An Easy Decision" in Disappointing Fans
While anticipation for Crystal Dynamics’ upcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider is at an all-time high following the game’s impressive showing at this year’s E3 2015, some of that anticipation turned into disappointment at the reveal that the game’s Xbox exclusivity window will bring the game to PC players in early 2016 and PS4 owners not until holiday 2016, one full year later – however, Square Enix took to explaining more on the game’s launch and their decision.
Speaking in an interview with Examiner, Square Enix Americas and Europe CEO Phil Rogers took the opportunity to clear the air a bit regarding the Xbox exclusivity deal currently in place for Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s launch this November, and explaining that while the company knew the decision would be disappointing to fans on other platforms, it would be best for the series’ long-term branding and evolution. Rogers detailed:
“I hope fans know that it wasn’t an easy decision. I think any sort of partnership at this level is a decision that took a longtime for us to get to. The decision at a studio level, we took very, very seriously. We knew it would, in the short-term, disappoint fans.”
Square Enix revealed its launch window for the PS4 and PC versions of Rise of the Tomb Raider last week, leaving many disappointed at the extended wait for a series that, with its previous installment of Tomb Raider in 2013, launched as a multi-platform title. While Rogers acknowledged that Square Enix knew it would be disappointing those on other platforms, he explained further in the interview that the decision ultimately came down to a strong trust in Microsoft’s passion for the series:
“What we saw in Microsoft, which is probably not as well known, is that Microsoft’s passion for Tomb Raider is amazing.”
“Having been working with us on previous games in a lesser sense, they’ve been supportive. [However], for Rise of the Tomb Raider, they’ve just brought this passion and belief that has really enabled us to blow people away. People should feel that about Microsoft. Their commitment to Tomb Raider is just amazing for us.”
The commitment that Rogers mentioned even came down to support from the company’s executive members, such as Xbox boss Phil Spencer frequently visiting the studio’s San Francisco location to talk with the development team, play the game, and provide feedback:
“If you don’t know, Phil visits Crystal [Dynamics] every time he’s in the Bay Area. Phil is the most welcomed guest, he’ll come talk to the team, play the game and [Microsoft] is a very committed organization to our properties. It just makes it that much more exciting for us.”
Despite the long wait for the game to arrive for PS4 and PC owners, Rogers capped off the interview that, ultimately, the exclusivity deal was necessary in helping to establish Tomb Raider among the likes of other premium franchises such as Halo, Gears of War, and Forza, as Rogers explained:
“It becomes the most important thing. We’re about growing our IP, this is a long-term decision. We’re going to take Tomb Raider up to the next level. With Microsoft’s belief, passion and sort of muscle to help us deliver, we really think this is going to be an awesome game that people will enjoy for years and years to come.”
Rise of the Tomb Raider releases for Xbox One and Xbox 360 on November 10th, 2015 – the PC version will release in early 2016, while the game is expected to arrive on PS4 in holiday 2016.