Microsoft apparently paid through its nose to keep Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusive to Xbox consoles for a period of one year back in 2015.
According to an updated LinkedIn profile (via Timur222) earlier today, former global brand director Fabien Rossini of publisher Square Enix was responsible for “building strategic partnerships with first parties” for franchises like Deus Ex and Hitman. Rossini was also directly involved in “negotiating [the] $100 million Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusivity deal with Microsoft.”
Microsoft shelling $100 million for a timed-exclusive deal seems fairly bizarre. It is entirely possible that the $100 million figure included multiple deals across sales, marketing, merchandizing, and other such departments. However, if Microsoft did agree to pay the sum to only keep PlayStation out in the cold, it begs to be questioned if the deal was worth it.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was announced in 2014 as a timed exclusive for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It was a first for the franchise and the reason why the timed-exclusive announcement sparked widespread criticism. The game was released on Xbox 360 and Xbox One in November 2015 before landing on PC in January 2016. The console-exclusivity period ended in October 2016 when the acclaimed sequel to the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot finally graced PlayStation 4.
Square Enix at the time confirmed that initial Xbox sales were “solid” and that Microsoft was fairly satisfied with its Xbox sales. Rise of the Tomb Raider sold more than 1 million copies across Xbox 360 and Xbox One and PC in its first year of launch, and nearly 7 million copies in total across all platforms including PlayStation 4 by November 2017.
The franchise went seemingly quite following the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider until recently when developer Crystal Dynamics confirmed a new Tomb Raider game to be in the works, which will “unify” the canonical timelines of both the original installments and the rebooted trilogy.
“We envision the future of Tomb Raider unfolding after [the rebooted trilogy], telling stories that build upon both the breadth of Core Design and Crystal Dynamics’ games, looking to unify these timelines,” said game director Will Kerslake earlier this year. “With Tomb Raider’s extensive history, this is not an easy task, and we ask for patience as we go through the process.”
The new Tomb Raider game remains to be formally announced though. With Crystal Dynamics celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Tomb Raider franchise, there stands a chance that an update arrives before 2021 concludes.