Possibly the most controversial announcement to come out of this year’s gamescom is Square Enix’s decision to release Rise of the Tomb Raider as a timed Xbox exclusive. If you’re wondering why this particular game — out of a ton out there — was picked by Microsoft as the one worth shelling out money for, then the answer is simple: to have an action adventure game in the same vein as Sony’s Uncharted franchise.
Speaking to Eurogamer at gamescom, Xbox boss Phil Spencer was asked whether this deal was made in part so that Microsoft has an answer to Uncharted 4.
Totally. I’m a big fan of Uncharted and I wish we had an action adventure game of that ilk. We’ve started some, and we’ve looked at them. But we don’t have one today of that quality. This is an opportunity.
In the same interview, Spencer states that he knew there would be some kind of “push back” from gamers regarding the announcement, but that it’s not coming from an “evil place.”
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.
So, I’m happy with the partnership. But I knew there would be… there are two sides: you’ve got the Xbox guys – I hope the Xbox guys are happy we have another game coming to Xbox they can play. But I don’t want anybody to be happy that somebody else isn’t playing the game. I don’t look at the war that way. I just want gaming on Xbox to be great. I’m not trying to push gaming down on any other platform. Clearly, I’m not going to invest in something to make games great on other platforms. Windows stuff I will. But not on stuff on other consoles. That’s 101. This wasn’t an attack against anybody else. It was an opportunity that came up for us that fit really well.
Do you think Rise of the Tomb Raider will be the Xbox brand’s Uncharted? And more importantly, can the game stand up against Nathan Drake’s latest adventure?