News Article

Spencer: Tomb Raider Deal Didn't Come From An Evil Space

Posted by Ken Barnes

Explaining the details

Last week at Gamescom, Microsoft revealed that Crystal Dynamics' upcoming title Rise of The Tomb Raider would be exclusive to Xbox platforms for the holiday season of 2015. The wording confused some people, but it has now been confirmed that the game is indeed a timed exclusive as opposed to an outright exclusive, meaning that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics are free to release the game on other systems after a certain period of time.

We later found out that "exclusive to Xbox" meant that the game was also set to be released on Xbox 360 as well as Xbox One.

People don't like it.

Scratch that.

Non Xbox-console owners don't like it.

They see it as Microsoft getting out their moneyhat and throwing wads of cash towards Square and Crystal Dynamics in exchange for exclusivity, rather than providing more funding for their own studios to create something from scratch. Eurogamer has conducted an interview with Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer, who does a good job of explaining it all without giving away any contractual details.

I knew there would be some push back when we came out. Certain people won't believe this: it doesn't come from an evil space. It comes from a space where there's an opportunity that maps really well with what we need in terms of the genre, and a partner that's looking for a partnership. Other people can do the deal, but it was a deal that fit well with us. And I think it could help the franchise in the long run and help Crystal and Square and us.

The interview is quite lengthy, so you should grab a coffee before you start reading - which is something we recommend that you do.


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User Comments (13)



EternalDragonX said:

Timed exclusives are just retarded. I'm personally going to wait now for the PS4 version that will inevitably have more features, dlc included and possibly better performance. Whereas if it were out the same day for both I would chose the XB1 version unless of course the FPS were 30 instead of 60 like teh last game.



Gamer83 said:

I'm going to preface my response to this by stating I actually do like Phil Spencer. For a corporate exec he actually seems like one of the few who is a genuinely good guy, the type you could see at the bar and chill out with... But he comes off as a complete bullsh*tter in this interview. This isn't a win for anybody except MS and the Xbots and I completely and totally disagree with anybody who says otherwise. I'm not mad at MS for opening the checkbook though, it has to do what it is has to do. Xbox One hasn't come out of the gates like any of us wanted it to but it's a marathon and the best way to eventually win that race is line up the games no matter where they come from. I'd be lying, however, if I said I'm not furious with SquareEnix and Crystal Dynamics for selling out and ripping the rug out from the group of gamers who have supported them in higher numbers and I'd feel the same way if say, Activision just up and decided to take a deal from Sony for CoD. It's a business, I get it, but this is sickening. I'll have an Xbox One soon, I could buy this game, but I won't and part of the problem I have is the horrible way Crystal Dynamics has gone about this. "Sorry PS gamers, we know more of you supported the reboot than the Xbox guys but you don't get the sequel unless you shell out at least another $460, here's some downloadable trash instead." Pathetic and I have no respect any more for that studio.



Sir_JBizzle said:

Can't really fault MS or SE for doing this. It makes sense from a marketing aspect. Microsoft will do this whole song and dance advertising the game (something that was not done with the first game) which in turn will help the game sale and even move a few consoles in the process. It's the nature of business. If it went the other way around, I would have just gotten it on PS4.

I'm still in the camp that Spencer said a whole lot without saying anything. He still talked about the franchise as a whole, which means XBOX is either going to have this game a short time, or a really long time. If it's indeed a short time, I don't blame MS for using the wording they did. They are in the business of selling consoles and all.



lynx19eighty5 said:

People are angry because it is so shady and something like this has never happened in the past. The reason why it is so shady is because Tomb Raider was a multiplatform game. Yes Sony bought exclusivity for TR II but was it on Sony platforms only? No, it was released on PC at the same time. You may say well...what about Bayonetta 2?? That is completely different. Sega were never going to do a sequel to Bayonetta in the first place and then Nintendo came along and gave them money to develop a sequel as a Wii U exclusive. I will admit it is clever by Microsoft but it’s such a shady business practice and a copout by SE/CD. TR primary fan base was always PC/PS and the definitive edition sold better on PS4. Again, copout by SE/CD they must have desperately needed the money and I assume the money they got offered must match their expected sales on BOTH PC and PS4. Way to alienate your fans SE/CD, and their statement.... god, salt in the wounds. Thanks for being our lifeblood, not RoTR for you but we haven’t forgot about you... heres Temple of Osiris and PS4 owners can still play the definitive edition!

If Microsoft had a deal going or was intending on pumping money into development then they should have said so early on but they didn’t. ( From e3 onwards everyone automatically assumed that the new TR would be released on multiplatforms.

How about this situation, not that Ubisoft would do it (however, they are known for bad decisions!) , Sony came in with a load of money to buy timed exclusivity for Assassin’s Creed and toted it the way Microsoft did. Basically were not clear and just trying to brag they had exclusivity. Would you be happy? How is that NOT the same as this situation? It’s exactly the same. TR has been released on PC and every iteration of the Playstation from the very beginning! Compare that to AC; AC has been released on Xbox 360 onwards! Of course there is going to be backlash and I have seen Xbox One owners feel the same way (e.g. AngryJoe – using him as everyone knows him) ; that this is a shady business practice.

It is blatantly a move by MS to compete with Uncharted 4 but instead of creating their own IP, being extremely lazy and uncreative, MS had to stoop as low as to buying exclusivity for Tomb Raider, albeit timed. Create your own games, that’s what will get people to buy an Xbox One, not shady business practices to buy the right to have a timed exclusive (which in all honesty they should have bought out Tomb Raider rather than this, it makes no sense as I feel the timed exclusivity will not make people rush out to buy an Xbox One, people will just wait it out now to be released on their platform).

Everything about this deal stinks imo.



SuperKMx said:

@lynx19eighty5 "How about this situation....Sony came in with a load of money to buy timed exclusivity for Assassin’s Creed and toted it the way Microsoft did. Basically were not clear and just trying to brag they had exclusivity. Would you be happy? How is that NOT the same as this situation? It’s exactly the same."

With respect, you're sort of arguing with yourself there. Nobody's disagreeing with you.

And this is just playing devil's advocate as I genuinely don't know the facts, but what if Crystal Dynamics were in financial trouble? We all know that Square Enix have faced financial difficulty recently, and I know that Crystal Dynamics were laying people off less than 12 months ago. What if the option was "Take the Microsoft deal, or you'll be out of business within 6 months"? What if the deal gave them enough money to develop BOTH Tomb Raider games, releasing one on Xbox One and Xbox 360 with Microsoft's money and then later on other platforms with minimal outlay as it would be a pair of ports, and the Osiris game on all formats in the meantime, potentially providing the grounds for financial recovery?

Would that still be a copout that deserved as much anger from everyone?

Again, I'm playing hypotheticals here. I'm just wondering why nobody else has thought of it and has instantly jumped on the hatred and conspiracy bandwagon. I'm guessing that its because "Evil Microsoft" are involved



Gamer83 said:


The 'Evil' MS thing is part of it. Thought I think unwarranted as MS is just trying to sell a system and regardless of any company's financial well being, with Xbox One lagging behind right now I fully expect MS to keep throwing money at companies until it gets the current situation turned around. I'm not giving SE and CD a pass on this though, they f'ed millions of users who bought their damn game twice, it was the PS guys who supported the reboot more than anybody else. If the reason actually is financial issues, say it, because I think people would understand. Nobody would be happy but you'd have a lot less anger than you do now.



lynx19eighty5 said:


Yes but I brought up that hypothetical situation to explain why people are mad at what has unfolded over the past week. Microsoft owners would be as annoyed if the shoe was on the other foot.

I do indeed think it is a clever move by MS but the points that I made still stand. Create your own quality content and that is what will sell you consoles. I did say SE/CD were probably desperate for money also and their statement that they released on the Tomb Raider blog was so insulting. They think we are idiots.

I look at it two ways; Uncharted 4 is bound to be released come winter 2015, SE/CD thought that it would be a good opportunity to have RoTR exclusively for Xbox One during the 2015 holiday season as Xbox One owners do not have an Uncharted so would buy Tomb Raider or SE/CD desperately needed the money so much so that they were not concerned by the repercussions. If the latter is the case then fair enough, they need the money but bloody say that. Don't come out with an extremely insulting statement on the Tomb Raider blog.

The reason why I said it was shady on Microsoft’s part is because the way they worded their press conference. This arrogance stems all the way back to e3 2013 with the paternalistic nonsense they tried to pull with always on etc which they over turned after the internet blowing up and rightly so. Kudos for your own policies. I had a 360 for a time and enjoyed it but I will forever have a bad taste in my mouth with Microsoft after the things they have done this gen.



mitcHELLspawn said:

You know what? I am so sick of everyone pointing the finger at Microsoft when Sony practically invented this business practice all the way back to the days of the ps1 and onward.. paying 3rd party publishers to keep games off of dreamcast, xbox and 360. Metal gear solid, grand theft auto countless games of EA franchises etc.. it really sucks for people who own a ps4 and want to play the game.. but guess what that's the nature of console gaming.. if you want to play it all like me for instance you would own all the consoles.



SuperKMx said:

@mitcHELLspawn I agree pretty much entirely, but unfortunately Sony were just copying Nintendo's policies from the days of the NES. Developers and publishers had to buy their cartridges direct from Nintendo due to the NES' "lockout chip" and if Nintendo found you were releasing the same game on a different system, they just wouldn't sell you the cartridges.

Sony took a different approach, but got a similar result. Now Microsoft are doing the same and getting killed for it. The deliberately misleading language in the conference and the cloudy responses since then are the things I'd be angry about - not the fact that a game is coming out on one system or another first.



hYdeks said:

gives a tissue to all the PS fanboys here, this will help...

PlayStation fanboys think EVERYTHING should come to PS systems first just because most things originated on a PS console. So now the PS fans are mad for Microsoft paying for a timed exclusive when Sony pulls this off how many times in the past?!? All these PlayStation fanboys are getting annoying....



Sir_JBizzle said:

but unfortunately Sony were just copying Nintendo's policies from the days of the NES.

@SuperKMx I came here to say that, but you beat me to it!

It seems like the Internet wants to explode on stuff for no reason sometimes. Everyone keeps citing how well the TRDE sold on PS4, I feek it was only because it was the technically superior version in every aspect (heck, even if opted for the PS4 version) , then there's larger install base. Now with Uncharted 4 releasing next year around the same time, RotTR for PS4 would have been cannibalized. I feel a Xbox exclusive probably saves the developer and game in this case. If I were Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics, I would have taken the deal too, as the new title would be much more visible on Microsoft's platform this go around.



Gamer83 said:

That's exactly it, the messaging has again been bad. If the game is fully exclusive I see absolutely no reason to beat around the bush and in fact if I'm working at MS I'm saying that at every opportunity (it is giving its money to this project, I'd think there is some control over where the game goes). SE, to deal with the, rightly, p*ssed off portion of its fanbase should also be trying to clear things up, instead Phil Spencer has to run damage control.



Vincent294 said:

@hydeks Now some people have been acting like that but before you get hypocritical, Playstation owners supported Tomb Raider more than Xbox gamers did if the sales are any indicator. Now, some do act over entitled, but do consider what I'm trying to say. I'm not that mad over this, but I can guarantee you that this was crude. Sure, their competitors have done the same, Nintendo with Resident Evil Revelations, Sony with Grand Theft Auto, you name it, but it's still a low blow no matter how you look at it.

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