Last year, Tomb Raider briefly become (for some) an emblem for the futility of big budget game development. After a warm public welcome and 3.4 million copies shifted in its first month, the reboot was nevertheless declared a disappointment by publishers Square Enix - who told investors it had ‚Äúfailed to meet" financial targets.
Now, maybe, the wailing can stop. A year to the week Tomb Raider was released, Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher has posted a triumphant missive about the game‚Äôs ‚Äúcommercial momentum", which will likely see it become the best-selling game in the history of the series.
The Macintosh. About as cool as the yellow plastic trainspotter's uniform, am I right? Frat high-five.
Wrong. In the 21st Century, records will show, the Mac followed its MP3 player sibling into the party wearing shades, and nobody batted an eyelid - even though it was dark. It became cool - and that fact was cemented when nu-Tomb Raider became playable on it without recourse to Wine, or any other sort of depressant.
Tomb Raider‚Äôs crossed the line this time and I don‚Äôt know what to do about it. Usually that sort of behaviour is cause to just walk away but in Tomb Raider‚Äôs case, the line it crossed, there‚Äôs no going back. There will never be a time when that game isn‚Äôt profitable because ‚Äúby the end of last year," executive producer Scott Amos told Eurogamer, ‚ÄúTomb Raider is in the black. We‚Äôve crossed the line of profitability."
In a curious quirk of the console transition, Tomb Raider has become Square Enix‚Äôs great hope for the PS4. The publishers have put Crystal Dynamics to work on a ‚ÄėDefinitive‚Äô edition of the game, buffing up one of last year‚Äôs finest adventures for a more capable machine and resetting its price tag.
Lots of PC gamers have capable machines too, and might have hoped for a similar treatment in light of Deus Ex: Human Revolution‚Äôs Director‚Äôs Cut upgrade, which Squeenix sold to existing owners for a pittance. But the publishers have now laid to rest any hope of Lara Croft‚Äôs latest becoming any Raiderer on PC.
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The one game that has constantly stayed with me throughout 2013 is Crystal Dynamics‚Äô Tomb Raider reboot. Please lower that eyebrow. It may be a big-budget AAA designed to reboot an established brand, but Tomb Raider has more soul than most other mainstream games released this year.
Why? In the past, Lara was an icon. In this new Tomb Raider, she‚Äôs a human.
In scenes largely similar to those recounted in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, LucasArts veteran and Crystal Dynamics‚Äô former head of all things Tomb Raider, Tim Longo, has defected to a studio that doesn‚Äôt produce PC games.
If Tomb Raider were yet another factional action adventure, ‚Äėadds Mac to its cheese‚Äô might have made for a good headline. But it‚Äôs not; it‚Äôs the sensitively told tale of the grim escapades that transform Lara from perfectly lovely teen to the dead-eyed murderess we knew and loved in the ‚Äė90s. And it‚Äôs now to be available to another neglected quadrant of PC gamers.
Normally it'd be a given that a game as well received as Tomb Raider would receive a sequel, but after Square Enix came out and said that it didn't meet sales expectations, people were suddenly a little bit worried that we wouldn't see the return of the new young, tenacious Lara Croft. Thankfully, in an address regarding Square Enix's future, CEO Phil Rogers has dispelled such fears and confirmed a sequel is "well into development."
Dark Horse comics have announced they‚Äôre publishing a run of comics which follow on from the events of this year‚Äôs Tomb Raider reboot. Penned by Gail Simon, the comics will be considered canon and, according to Simone, will ‚Äúlead DIRECTLY into the sequel".
Square Enix aren‚Äôt done with Lara just yet, having already thrown her off cliffs, into the sea, to the dogs, and onto the hot coals of public opinion, they‚Äôve now bulked out the singleplayer game with a new map.
Lara‚Äôs most recent adventure may have been out for more than two months but Crystal Dynamics aren‚Äôt done patching and updating their rough and tumble, quicktime infested platformer. The latest round of fixes are largely aimed at problems only experienced by players running certain bits of hardware but there are some more general improvements to the UI and such.
Tomb Raider is set to officially release in Japan on 25 April though PC players have been able to buy and play European and US versions of the game through Steam since its release in those regions. While it didn‚Äôt have Japanese voice actors, apparently, it had subtitles in the language. Again, apparently these subtitles have now been deactivated and if the owners of these foreign versions of the game want to have language support they will have to spend $30 on a Japanese language pack DLC to get it.
Two weeks ago, we learned that Tomb Raider had sold 3.4 million retail copies - a not insignificant result for you or I, maybe, but for Square Enix? A profound financial disappointment. Now the publisher has revealed that its targets for the Crystal Dynamics game in EU, US and Japanese markets combined were at least another one-and-a-half million higher than that.
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It‚Äôs not been a great day for Square Enix stockholders, doubly so if they live in the ridiculously cold north of England. First they learn that the company will be making an ‚Äúextraordinary loss" this financial year as a result of a costly internal restructuring, they then learn that the company‚Äôs president of 13 years, Yoichi Wada will be stepping down (though, they may not be entirely torn up about that considering his role in the first piece of bad news), and now, on top of all that came before, they‚Äôve learned that Tomb Raider grossly missed Square Enix‚Äôs sales expectations.
What with all the chasing in Bioshock Infinite and the running away in Tomb Raider, DeWitt and Croft need all the help they can get to perform their best. That‚Äôs why both characters recommend blood doping updating your Nvidia drivers.
Nvidia‚Äôs latest drivers see up to a 40% performance increase in Irrational‚Äôs 20th century floating island shooter and a staggering 70% boost in the recently released Tomb Raider.