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 “failed 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’s “commercial momentum”, which will likely see it become the best-selling game in the history of the series.
When Square Enix apologised to investors for Tomb Raider’s sales, they blamed an “ineffective” North American sales team. By contrast, Gallagher has credited the “tremendous team efforts” of the publishers’ commercial and marketing teams over the past 12 months with helping the studio “exceed internal estimates”.
“Finishing a huge development effort is only part of the story as it takes a massive worldwide effort to bring a game to market,” he wrote. “After the studio finishes we hand the baton to our commercial and marketing teams around the world to really push our game forward.”
Thanks to their efforts, Crystal Dynamics have clambered over some “significant milestones” without cracking their head open on them like Lara probably would. By the end of March, Tomb Raider will have sold the six million units Square Enix were shooting for - having reached profitability late last year.
“Tomb Raider has exceeded profit expectations and continues to make significant contributions to our overall financial performance,” said Gallagher. “At launch we set franchise records for the fastest selling day one and month one in Tomb Raider history. With the positive word of mouth and continued commercial momentum it’s great to see Tomb Raider on course to become the best-selling game in the history of the franchise.
“This would be a crowning achievement for the teams around the world, and one that we have our sights firmly set on.”
Crystal Dynamics have been kept busy this past year with the direct sequel they began work on immediately after wrapping on Tomb Raider - but it’s worth remembering those sales figures were also boosted by the release of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for the new consoles.
We never got a Definitive Edition upgrade. But are you happy to see Tomb Raider do more than break even?