Analyzing Crystal Dynamics’ brilliant Tomb Raider release schedule

Last week, Crystal Dynamics announced their plans to release Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC and PlayStation 4 after its Xbox One exclusivity period ends. In those plans, the PC will see the game in early 2016 while Sony’s console will get it later in the year, likely in the Fall or Holiday release windows.

The sheer brilliance of this has so far gone unnoticed, and we commend Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix on the design of this release pattern.

ROTTRboxartWith the Xbox One game launching this November 10th, the game is virtually unchallenged by any game in a similar genre. Microsoft already has one of the best lineups it has ever had this holiday season, with Gears of War, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Forza Motorsport 6, and Fable Legends, all spaced about a month apart, beginning in August.

When the PC version launches in the Spring of next year, its competition will be Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Stiff competition, absolutely, but for those gamers who want an archaeological-action fix but don’t want to drop a few hundred dollars on a console they don’t already have, Rise of the Tomb Raider may be the best option. In fact, Uncharted may be pushing them to it.

Of course, the game is slated to launch on PlayStation 4 nearly a full year after its Xbox release, typically making it a tricky proposition for a sale. Then again, next holiday season, there will be no Uncharted to compete with on the console, and it could mean that people who weren’t willing to buy an Xbox One (and those that aren’t really into PC gaming) may very well pick up a copy of the game next year.

With the pattern of games and re-release schedules, we wouldn’t be entirely surprised if Rise of the Tomb Raider doesn’t actually get released in earnest on the PlayStation 4. We’re fully expecting the game to come bundled with any downloadable content Crystal Dynamics releases between now and next year, if not a PlayStation-exclusive tomb or two jus to sweeten the pot a bit.

However the release schedule plays out, Crystal Dynamics has done an excellent job spacing out the release of Lara Croft’s second adventure since rebooting the franchise. How their execution will play out, of course, remains to be seen.