Microsoft have this week announced that Crystal Dynamics' upcoming third-person platforming video game Rise of the Tomb Raider will launch exclusively on Xbox consoles. Pitched as a sequel to the beloved 2013 franchise reboot Tomb Raider, Rise will follow Lara Croft as she struggles to move on from her experiences in the first instalment whilst embarking on a dangerous new globe-trotting adventure.
Suffice to say that this story has caused its fair share of tremors within the video gaming industry this week, but for PlayStation and PC fans of the series who found themselves enraged by the original announcement at Microsoft's Gamescom 2014 press conference, there's a merciful silver lining to be found behind their metaphorical cloud. Here's what Phil Spencer, head of all things Xbox, told Eurogamer shortly after the publisher's grand showcase: "I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. [But] the deal has a duration. I didn't buy [the series as a whole]. I don't own the franchise."
What exactly does this mean for Rise's release schedule and the list of platforms the much-anticipated follow-up will ship on, then? Well, by Spencer's own admission, Microsoft and Crystal's partnership "has a duration" and this - combined with the fact that Tomb Raider sold remarkably well on platforms other than those falling within the Xbox brand - strongly implies that before too long, we'll see the product ship on PlayStation consoles (or at least the PS4) and/or PC (indeed, we sincerely doubt that Crystal will risk failing to capitalize on either of these two lucrative markets, even if they do so a little later than some might have hoped on the basis of their E3 reveal). Stay tuned to On-Screen in the months ahead for all the latest details on this situation and Rise of the Tomb Raider's increasingly intriguing narrative...
Rise of the Tomb Raider will début exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox 360 in Winter 2015.