In really stepping things up news, it’s just been announced that Amazon Games is set to publish the next Tomb Raider game. Following Square Enix’s retreat from the Western front, and the sale of both developer Crystal Dynamics and the Tomb Raider license itself, it was unclear what might happen to Lara’s ongoing adventures, coming up on five years since her last outing. Now we know, although we don’t know very much.
In a press release from both Amazon Games and Crystal Dynamics, the newlyweds announced an agreement for a multi-platform game to be globally published by Mr. Bezos and company.
Now, it’s not news that there’s to be a new Tomb Raider, not least because of course there is. But also because we learned earlier this year that Crystal Dynamics (CD) are planning to develop it using Unreal Engine 5. However, that was revealed a month before Square Enix’s surprise decision to sell off most of its non-Japanese assets to the Embracer Group, assets which included Crystal Dynamics itself, leaving everything mysterious for anyone outside of what must have been tumultuous circumstances.
It seems that as the dust has settled, Amazon has swooped in to claim a pretty enormous prize, and finally have a title in its gaming collection that everyone will have heard of. It’s also an opportunity for Crystal Dynamics to try to reclaim some lost ground, following the ongoing slo-mo sight of the very bland Marvel’s Avengers being driven into a bridge.
In a very press-releasy press release, everyone involved says how terribly excited they are to be working on such a wonderful property of such majestic joyfulness, but I imagine in the offices of both companies it was mostly enormous “PHEW!” sounds. While Amazon Games has delivered a couple of interesting MMOs, until now they’ve only had Bandai Namco’s Blue Protocol to boast about for next year, and that’s not a name that your aunt’s heard of. Tomb Raider will finally put the publisher on the map.
We know nothing whatsoever about the new Tomb Raider, not even its name. Today’s announcement calls it a “single-player, narrative-driven adventure,” which tells us not a bit, but does rather peculiarly describe Lara Croft as “multidimensional.” This is a power I’ve not seen her use before, if you don’t count coming back from the dead.
It’s been four years since Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and given how early this new game clearly is (we’ve still not seen so much as a piece of concept art), it looks like this follow-up could break the record for gaps between entries in the franchise. The last longest was between the close of the series’ best trilogy (fight me), 2008's Underworld, and one of its worst entries, the awful, stupidly named 2013 reboot, Tomb Raider. I predict we’ll see this announced for March 2024, and it’ll release in November that year.