Back at E3 2014, Rise of the Tomb Raider was a huge deal, and not just because of its reveal trailer, either: during Microsoft's press conference, it was revealed that the follow-up to 2013's Tomb Raider reboot would be a timed exclusive. For a series that only made its way to the Xbox in recent installments, it was a huge surprise ... and one that's been rather divisive among fans.
Of course, it's not as if publisher Square Enix isn't aware of the controversy — in fact, according to CEO Phil Rogers during an interview with the Examiner, the decision to make Rise of the Tomb Raider a timed Xbox One exclusive wasn't an easy one.
Rogers stated: "I hope fans know that it wasn't an easy decision. I think any sort of partnership at this level is a decision that took a longtime (sic) for us to get to. The decision at a studio level, we took very, very seriously. We knew it would, in the short-term, disappoint fans."
So, if Rogers knew that the decision would upset fans, why even do it in the first place? If the game is headed to other consoles next year, does making the game a timed exclusive even matter? Well, as it turns out, Microsoft is a huge fan of Lara Croft and her miscellaneous adventures:
"What we saw in Microsoft, which is probably not as well known, is that Microsoft's passion for Tomb Raider is amazing. Having been working with us on previous games in a lesser sense, they've been supportive. For Rise of the Tomb Raider, they've just brought this passion and belief that has really enabled us to blow people away ... Their commitment to Tomb Raider is just amazing for us."
It's because of that passion that the latest Tomb Raider has been so prominently displayed throughout all of Microsoft's marketing. The Xbox One suddenly has one more reason for players to buy a copy, and Tomb Raider receives more attention as an exclusive than it ever would have on its own. At the end of the day, building a successful franchise is about extending a brand — while it may seem counter-intuitive at first, making Rise of the Tomb Raider an Xbox One exclusive is doing just that.
Yes, PlayStation owners are forced to wait until 2016 to get their hands on Rise of the Tomb Raider — but isn't it worth a bit longer of a wait if the game is better off for it?
Rise of the Tomb Raider is set to launch on Xbox One this November and PlayStation 4 early next year.