The signs were there.

As far back as 2008, and the still-upsetting Xbox 360 exclusivity of levels that were clearly intended to be Underworld’s epilogue, the signs were there. But I think I can speak for the whole Tomb Raider community when I say that — signs or no — we never expected them to take it this far.

Today, it was announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, sequel to 2013’s popular — though polarising amongst the series’ long-time fans — reboot will be released exclusively on Xbox One towards the end of 2015. The announcement sent shockwaves through the Tomb Raider community, and, indeed, through the gaming community at large, for Tomb Raider has always been a multi-platform series. Whether your preference lies with PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, PC, Mac, and more, you’ve always been able to count on having an adventure with Lara.

Well, no more. Or so it seems.

Fans and games journalists alike have been quick to point out that Rise’s exclusivity may be timed, meaning that Xbox One will get the game in 2015, but other platforms may follow, later. I can be counted amongst the legions of fans hoping that this proves to be the case, but the thing is, Crystal Dynamics’ press release on the subject would seem to suggest that we’re facing total exclusivity.

It’s a shocking, upsetting, and, quite honestly, terrible move for the team behind Tomb Raider to have made, one that is — without question — going to alienate a massive percentage of existing players.

I couldn’t care less where people choose to play their games, but I’ll openly admit that I’m a PlayStation fan through-and-through. I’ve been with the brand since the days of the original console, but lately — and largely because of the removal of Kinect — I’ve been mulling over the possibility of getting an Xbox One. Thing is: I’m not going to do it for Tomb Raider alone. There’d have to be a fair amount of compelling games available for the system before I’d make such a finance-denting move — and I’m sure I’m not alone. As much as I love Tomb Raider, I’m not sure that it’s a console-selling series.

It seems odd — downright perplexing, in fact — that the company who openly admitted to being disappointed with the reboot’s sales figures have chosen to guarantee themselves lower returns for the sequel. Drastic though the thought may seem, I reckon this could be the beginning of the end for the rebooted Lara. I wonder how eager Microsoft will be to lend their support when the game sales end up being a mere fraction of what they could have been if it were multi-platform?

Tomb Raider fans have come out in vehement protest against this decision. But abuse isn’t going to get us anywhere, and to that end, I would encourage anyone upset by today’s announcement to sign this petition organised by @stellalune.

Let’s make our voices heard, but let’s do it the right way.

I don’t really know what else to say. I woke up today wishing that the devastating news about Robin Williams had been a bad dream. Tomorrow, I suppose, I’ll be doing the same for Tomb Raider.


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