Square Enix CEO praises Microsoft's commitment to Rise of the Tomb Raider and discusses controversy in new interview

Xbox One is no stranger to third-party deals, picking up console exclusivity for Dead Rising 3, RYSE, Titanfall, Sunset Overdrive and others, but none struck a chord like Rise of the Tomb Raider. A quick perusal of the developer's Twitter mentions reveals a stream of vitriol from PS4 users angry at the deal, which hands Xbox One a whole year of console exclusivity.

Square-Enix isn't blind to the criticism. Speaking in an interview with Examiner, Square Enix CEO of the Americas and Europe Phil Rogers defended the deal, which he described as being "not an easy decision".

..."I hope fans know that it wasn't an easy decision. I think any sort of partnership at this level is a decision that took a longtime for us to get to. The decision at a studio level, we took very, very seriously. We knew it would, in the short-term, disappoint fans."...

Many commentators speculated that Rise of the Tomb Raider's Xbox exclusivity was intended to head-off competition from the similar PS4 exclusive Uncharted 4. UC4 has since been delayed into 2016, leaving some of us wondering whether the deal still makes sense.

Tomb Raider's reboot back in 2012 failed to meet Square-Enix's sales expectations, despite selling well over 3 million copies in its first month. Square-Enix stated previously that Microsoft are helping fund Rise of the Tomb Raider's development. Phil Rogers elaborated further in the Examiner interview, noting that Xbox head Phil Spencer himself visits the dev team on a regular basis:

..."Having been working with us on previous games in a lesser sense, they've been supportive. [However], for Rise of the Tomb Raider, they've just brought this passion and belief that has really enabled us to blow people away. People should feel that about Microsoft. Their commitment to Tomb Raider is just amazing for us. [...] If you don't know, Phil visits Crystal [Dynamics] every time he's in the Bay Area. Phil is the most welcomed guest, he'll come talk to the team, play the game and [Microsoft] is a very committed organization to our properties. It just makes it that much more exciting for us."...

Phil Rogers also noted his delight to see Tomb Raider showcased alongside Xbox heavy-hitters like Halo, Forza and Gears of War. Being featured with the best Xbox has to offer is sure to raise Tomb Raider's profile for younger gamers unfamiliar with its PS1 roots. The deal also allows Microsoft to attach a ubiquitously recognisable brand to the Xbox One moving in to the 2015 holiday season. For Square-Enix though, it's all about taking Tomb Raider to "the next level" according to Phil Rogers:

..."It becomes the most important thing. We're about growing our IP, this is a long-term decision. We're going to take Tomb Raider up to the next level. With Microsoft's belief, passion and sort of muscle to help us deliver, we really think this is going to be an awesome game that people will enjoy for years and years to come."...

It seems likely that Square-Enix came away from the Tomb Raider reboot with a great deal of anxiety. The game achieved solid reviews from both fans and critics and sold millions of copies in its first month. However, the fact Square-Enix described the sales as 'disappointing' makes me wonder just how inflated the game's budget was.

By partnering with Microsoft, Square-Enix can offset the costs of developing a triple-A sequel - which, in theory, are always higher budget than the previous title in the series, to grow in-line with fan's expectations. It's hard to gauge what form Rise of the Tomb Raider would've taken without Mircosoft's involvement, or whether or not the project would've existed at all. Maybe Square-Enix and Microsoft are buddy-buddy enough to bring me an Xbox One version of Final Fantasy XIV... maybe, please?

What do you think? Could Microsoft's "muscle" be better spent elsewhere? Is the adverse reaction worth it for Square-Enix? Hit the comments!

Rise of the Tomb Raider releases on November 10th, 2015 for Xbox One, early 2016 for PC and Q4 2016 for PS4.

Source: Examiner

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • I was thinking this new close relationship could mean FFXIV on Xbox One. Xbox gamers deserve to be able to experience that gem of a game.
  • Would love to play it on my Xbox, it is the only game I play on my PS4.
  • Buy a Xbox one
  • I'm sick of the double standards where MS is in the wrong for a timed exclusive but games like Street Fighter V and the timed FFVII remake (and pretty much all JRPGs) are exclusive to the PS4 and it's a-ok.
  • Don't forget Bloodbourne. Don't forget that. Given sf v and all I wonder if this is the lesser deal? Well as long as it's on pc.
  • Also destiny exclusive content
  • Yup, that was 100% my thoughts on this too.
  • Those games will always do better on the PlayStation. If ya want games like that, only Microsoft's "muscle" can help ya.
  • I get that but I feel that a customer is a customer. Just because it will sell well on one system doesn't mean there are no customers on the other. This either or mentality about game genres is ridiculous.
  • Of course, I call them all stupid, rather than just defending Microsoft because I have their console.
  • XBOX and Playstation double standard is the same as Microsoft and [insert competing company name here]. MS always gets the negative reporting no matter what, it's so stupid.
  • For SV and FFVII timed exclusive shit, I agree, but most JRPGs have never been multi-plat in the first place, and since the PS has gotten a reputation for adventure and RPG games, players interested in those games are likelier to be on that platform, and thus a cycle is born... it's similar but perhaps not as exclusive with Xbox and FPS-games.
  • And I'm over that. I like the capabilities of the One over the PS4. I don't appreciate developers trying to shoehorn me onto a console without the features I care about. Guess I've just outgrown the desire to collect every console to play everything. It's too expensive.
  • It's hardly surprising when Japanese games are exclusive to the PlayStation, since the XBox has almost zero precense in the whole of Asia...
  • tombraider has always been a huge triple AAA game on every systrem and as sales show the sony side made way more cash then the xbox side for the game so people are mad because you try to compare stuff like this to bloodbourne or streetfighter , there not even close how about they use that money to make new games and ips or the waste of 2 billion for mincraft LOL a game every one already owns and in no way will they ever make a profit after spending that. the xbox one is a joke thats why sony is destroying them in popularty and sales because they have way more games and diversty like starocean , dragonquest , FF mmo , toukiden, undead and undressed and its not sony doing what xbox does and is buying these multy platform games exclusitivty these companies are going to were the demand and user base is and xbox is not attempting to even get games they think we all want the same lame halo and gears and racing games . Its the middle range games that keep systems alive not triple AAA games as there always on all the systems a example at EB games now there are over 22 games that are exclusive on ps4 and not on the x1 even 360 ports are only going to the ps4 . Only a loser fanboy could even attempt to stick up or say they have games when the x1 is a multy platform console with 7 exclusives and the line up for this yaer is nearly all games on sony also but hey thats why the x1 is ashadow of what it was after 3 years of the x1 and we have nothing but the lame racing, shooter and sports games lol like gears sorry its not big like it was anymore they waited to long . tombraider thing is a slap to the gamers who know this game was made on all consoles and has been for ages so you go and buy exclusitvty of one of the biggest names out there and you compare it to a new ip bloodborne or a small nich group of people who play streetfighter because the you can say killerinstinct but its a fighter who cares
  • Ps1 roots? It debuted on both ps1 and Sega Saturn.
  • PC?
  • You shouldn't confuse younger players by talking about Sega consoles :P
  • Not confuse them but inform them that this once great console and it's successor the Dreamcast once existed.
  • Tomb Raider isn't popular because of Sega Saturn, lets be honest.
  • Sega, the peripheral company. We have this gadget you put in the gadget in the console.
  • Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega 32X. I love how all of the components meshed together.
  • Thank you - I was thinking the same thing when I read that. The original Tomb Raider was released on Saturn, Playstation and PC -- the first release (in Europe) October 22, was on the Saturn, about a month later, the EU Playstation, US Saturn and US Playstation releases were available; Japan got it in January and February (Saturn and Playstation respectively) in 1997. That sort of error is just a limited perspective on game history. I've seen the same limited view when people have claimed that Rez originated on the PS2 (Actually on Dreamcast > PS2 > XBLA). It's likely the first place the writer experienced it; some basic fact checking would have been beneficial to avoid bringing a glaring spotlight to their limited experience.
  • I first played it on the PC. I always thought it's roots were on the PC.
  • Square also announced Dragon Quest for PS4.. Xbox is severely lacking in the JRPG category while PS4 has it all.
  • This is true, but JRPG's aren't the biggest sellers in the states which is where most of the Xbox audience is
  • It might not be the biggest audience but it does still have an audience otherwise they wouldn't release the Final Fantasy games here or all the JRPGs on the 3DS (Atlus is still alive and kicking here). I'm sorry, but I feel like they are dictating to me what games I'll play when there is no good reason why they shouldn't release on both consoles.
  • Games like Final Fantasy still sell well, even new IP's like Bravely Default and Ni No Kuni sold extremely well in the west. The reason most of these will come to PS4 is because it's the only one of the two that sells in Japan.
  • I've always hated JRPG, I hate JRPG and I'll always hate JRPG, they're boooooriiiiingggggg!!!!! But I agree with plurality with games and consoles.
  • Fantastic! Finally the XBOX One looking like 24K gold.  
  • Played the first one on Xbox One and have been eargerly waiting for this. Go play it today if you haven't already!
  • Played on 360 and One, loved both iterations.
  • PS1 Roots? It was a PC game first and foremost...the Platform Microsoft still owns
  • Exactly. MSFT should remember that.
  • Tomb Raider 1 was released for PS1, PC, and Sega Saturn all at the same time: 14 November 1996.
  • Only in the US - The Saturn version in Europe was released a month earlier.
  • I've been surprised about how much I've enjoyed the Tomb Raider reboot (just bought the game). I know people LOVE Uncharted, so it has essentially has created a duel on the PlayStation lineup. Sony fans will get the game eventually if they're really fans but the sales numbers have shown that they're going with Uncharted first. Makes sense from a business standpoint and it makes MS Exclusive Lineup stronger. This exclusivity stuff has been going on as long as video game consoles have been around. I'm an Xbox One owner, so I'm obviously not upset.
  • I love Square Enix and I love Microsoft, this could be a match made in heaven if they decide to release FFVII remake at the same time as PS4 otherwise I have to buy that shit the day it comes out
  • A compilation disc like the one from Rare would be pretty amazing.
  • Stop the console wars give. If they can do this, give xbone users street fighter v already. Universal compatibility is the only way out, if they want to make more money...
  • Unfortunately, universal compatability would most likely *lose* money for console makers. I guarantee there are at least a few XB1 owners who are rabid enough about Street Fighter to pick up a PS4... console sales that never would have happened if SFV was an Xbox title.
  • Hopefuly they nailed the writing.  Looking forward to this moreso than 2013
  • "Phil Spencer" >> He play games!
  • I've been seeing articles like this all day. I say f you square. Dragon quest only for ps4, 3Ds and Nintendos new system. Plus plenty other games that are play station exclusive. And PS players are complaining about tomb raider! Really!? Square enix is only getting money for kingdom hearts 3 out of me.
  • It's a "maybe" for Nintendo NX.
  • Street Fighter V and Shenmue III are both console exclusive and partially funded by Sony. I don't understand the double standard. Tomb Raider isn't even console exclusive for the lifetime of the game.
  • Shenmue 3 hasn't been announced as a console exclusive. But, yes, there is a serious double standard going on where Microsoft is lambasted and Sony is given a free pass. It's asinine.
  • Yeah I probably wasn't clear. I meant to say as a playstation console exclusive. It will available on PC also.
  • This is perfect, wish MS did more of this
  • This is perfect, wish MS did more of this.
  • Let the Sony fans cry more, they have a chunk of exclusives for the PS4, mostly jrpgs but that's the only reason I'd get a PS4 at this point. For everything else I can play it on my PC or Xbox One.
  • PS4 fanboys can cry a river, they are the most douchy, double-standard snakes you can encounter, they gloat about PS4 exclusives but they start crying the day Xbox One scores any exclusive.
  • I have played uncharted 1, 2 and 60% of 3. At 3 I just got bored. Its got awesome graphics but I just got bored of the cling to ledge, shoot cinematic, repeat. And the story is pretty bland with big holes in it. So that didn't help. With that said I thought the tomb raider reboot was much better than uncharted. It had more exploring, Imo a better story in the emotion and lost feel. And the graphics were up there with uncharted last gen. So im really looking forward to rise of the tomb raider. We are promised more puzzling tombs this time around. I'm in. Graphics look amazing to. Up there with uncharted 4, forza 6, quantum break and sea of thieves for me. Roll on Xmas.
  • It's a very great exclusive and Microsoft could choice a better one. The fact that many PS4 players are complaining the deal is a rather positive signal. Really happy and can't wait!
  • There should be no exclusives. Let users choose the system that they think fits them best.
  • Your post contradicts itself. If there were no exclusives all systems would suit you equally. Meaning none suits you best. You cant expect 3 companies to have consoles without giving the buyer a reason to purchase a particular one. That's why exclusives exist. So you choose the console based on what you prefer.
  • Don't have a Xbox, but I'm going to buy it for PC on day 1.
  • If Microsoft and Squenix are getting buddy buddy these days can we please get the Kingdom Hearts HD Remixes before 3 comes out? A lot of Xbox only people will have never played 1 and 2 because they were PlayStation exclusives.
  • No Microsoft showing genuine interest in big and indie developers way more than psn is. I hope sqenix sees this and starts porting to Windows 10 and Windows Phone 10 for their classic library.... FF1 and 3 are nice..... But..... as MS fans we are tired of being second rate to the iOS toys.
  • I think it's cool. Sony has Uncharted which I'm sure will do better than Tomb Raider on the PS4.
  • Boring sequel
  • With all the lazy devs at the start of this gen. Having no exclusives on consoles would be a grand mistake and Phil Spencer knows this. Leave the devs with so much power would mean less for Microsoft. From the start Sony has gotten away with murder, also we can not rely on mainstream reviewers to be unbiased. Spin doctors in the industry have given Sony the upper head. Meanwhile Microsoft has to play at the poker table with the odds stacked against them. Microsoft has proven who has the better value for your money, only time will tell if people will wake up to see it.
  • I'll get this game. I finished the last.
  • This deal is saying hey PC and Xbox players you guys get to be the players that beta test our game and dlc so when we release it for ps4 its 100% . Oh and there's will be the definitive edition which will be $40-$60 after you guys were so kind to spend $60 plus the $40 or so for the dlc. Hugs and kisses.