During its press event at the Gamescom trade show yesterday, Microsoft announced that the next Tomb Raider game, Rise Of The Tomb Raider, would be coming out “holiday 2015, exclusively on Xbox.” As John Teti and everyone who wasn’t busy foaming at the mouth over this news pointed out, this purposeful deployment of vague language and a refusal to elaborate was a good indicator that this was merely a “timed exclusive,” where Rise would be out on Xbox first, then eventually make its way elsewhere. Today, Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, is making the rounds to confirm that no, Rise Of The Tomb Raider won’t necessarily be “exclusively on Xbox” forever.
“Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn’t buy it. I don’t own the franchise,” Spencer said in an interview with Eurogamer. How long that period of Xbox exclusivity is, Spencer wouldn’t say. All he could divulge was that Rise will be out on Xbox One and Xbox 360 by the end of next year. What Square Enix, the game’s publisher, does with it after its period of Xbox exclusivity is up to it, Spencer said. He compared Microsoft’s Tomb Raider deal to the one they had with Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son Of Rome, both of which launched with the Xbox One last November and are making their way to PC this year.
While he wouldn’t go into specifics about durations or, God forbid, how much money Microsoft is shelling out to make this happen, he did give more insight into how the deal went down and what Microsoft’s role will be in the game’s development. In an interview with Kotaku UK’s Keza MacDonald, Spencer mentioned that this deal has been a long time in the making, noting that Tomb Raider has been appearing on stage at Microsoft’s E3 press briefings since its reboot was first revealed in 2010. (And indeed, Rise was first announced at Microsoft’s E3 2014 show.) Square Enix, he said, wants to see the series competing with the industry’s largest, and partnering with Microsoft—who will be providing funds for both the marketing and development of Rise—is the company’s plan to make that happen.
Spencer did not reveal why he and his company thought it would be a good idea not to mention any of this yesterday.