Rise of the Tomb Raider is indeed a timed exclusive
Microsoft have revealed that Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s exclusivity on Xbox is, as we speculated, a limited time thing.
Eurogamer interviewed Xbox boss (try saying that twice fast) Phil Spencer, and during the course of their conversation he confirmed that he doesn’t “own the [Tomb Raider] franchise,” and that he “didn’t buy the IP in perpetuity.”
Spencer clarified that the deal was, in short, that “I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. It is Xbox 360 and Xbox One.” He noted that he can’t really talk about when it’s coming out on other platforms, or even if it’s coming out on other platforms, because that’s not something he has anything to do with; once the exclusivity deal expires, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics are free to do with it as they wish. Which, I would imagine, will almost certainly result in Rise of the Tomb Raider hitting other platforms.
Spencer likened the situation to Ryse and Dead Rising 3, insofar as their exclusivity period expired and so the companies are now free to release on whatever other systems they like.
He wouldn’t be drawn on talking about exactly how long the exclusivity period is, though, reiterating that it’s a deal between Microsoft and Square Enix and he’s not going to talk about how long it’s for, or how much was paid, or anything like that.
Ryse and Dead Rising 3 both launched on 22 November 2013 – my birthday, don’t you know – and have PC release dates of “late 2014″ and 5 September 2014, respectively. If this exclusivity period is similar, and if Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics work to roughly the same schedule in porting over to PC, I guess that means you can expect a Rise of the Tomb Raider PC release in late 2016.
I wrote a big long piece yesterday investigating exactly what had been said and hadn’t been said, and what we could draw from that. I concluded that it was probable that we’d see Rise of the Tomb Raider on other systems eventually, although it wasn’t exactly guaranteed. Which… seems to be exactly what we’ve officially heard today.