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Wait, Tomb Raider's An Exclusive? - Microsoft Gamescom 2014 Press Conference Impressions

Matt Gardner
Gamescom 2014, Microsoft, Rise Of The Tomb Raider, Xbox One, Xbox One Games

Wait, Tomb Raider's An Exclusive? - Microsoft Gamescom 2014 Press Conference Impressions

Well, the first of today's two big press conferences from Gamescom 2014 is done and dusted. Did Microsoft set the bar high as they did earlier in the year at E3? They certainly came out once again with a resolute focus on the games, and they didn't half drop a bombshell halfway through the show. Here's what we made of it:


Wait, Tomb Raider's An Exclusive? - Microsoft Gamescom 2014 Press Conference Impressions

The first big surprise of Gamescom has landed, and it comes in the form of Microsoft flexing their financial muscles. Rise of the Tomb Raider will be an Xbox One exclusive when it launches next Holiday season, setting up a tantalising Lara vs. Drake Christmas that is going to be extraordinary fun to watch (and play).

To be honest, much of the rest of the presser has faded into a blur since Microsoft dropped that bomb, and in retrospect, Phil Harrison could barely contain himself. Is it an anti-consumer move? It is a bit. Microsoft paid large sums of money to stop Crystal Dynamics reaching more than half of their potential audience, though I'm more pissed off about it not coming to PC rather than missing out on it on PS4.

Elsewhere, it was another solid showing from Phil Spencer's side. The Chris Charla creative indie carousel was outstanding, as Microsoft attempted to out-Sony Sony. There are some absolutely cracking games coming to Xbox One via [email protected], and it was good to see a few longer spotlight pieces on one or two highlights. I've been banging on about SuperHot since the flash game first appeared, and The Escapists looks like cartoon Shawshank crossed with Prison Architect.

It's a Microsoft presser, so of course FIFA and Call of Duty got their moments in the sun. Prepare for Titancall! That's unfair, Advanced Warfare looks both incredibly different yet also hilariously familiar. The exosuit's abilities certainly look like they'll create more opportunities to take advantage of verticality, but it all seemed a bit static rather than the fluidity we've seen from Titanfall and even Brink. Not sure about that custom Xbox One either -- it looks like it's been dipped in cement.

Microsoft's presser was strong and stable for the most part, and any time Sam Lake shows up it gets me a little excited -- Quantum Break's time manipulation looks pretty awesome,as does the whole thing, but whether or not it's fun to play remains to be seen. Remedy have done exemplary work to this point, though, so they'll be getting the benefit of the doubt from yours truly.

There was one thing that the 90-minute show highlighted, though, and it's that eSports voiceovers for gameplay presentations need to be killed. With fire. And by drowning. Or by anvil. Just stop it. It might work at E3 where everyone is too jetlagged to notice, or American, but it was hideous and detracted from the actual game.

What was impressive was once again how Microsoft remained focused on the games at hand, stunned us with a bomshell of an exclusive, and delivered a roster of games for this Christmas that, even with the Evolve delay, looks very tempting indeed. And that white Xbox One is the sex.


Wait, Tomb Raider's An Exclusive? - Microsoft Gamescom 2014 Press Conference Impressions

"Xbox is the best place to play." "Games that push the boundaries." Big words, Phillip, but the presser took its sweet time to build up to speed. Assassin's Creed CGI. FIFA preorders. Pushing the boundaries of how many sequels a franchise can squirt out, perhaps.

Getting celebs onstage for some painfully-rehearsed banter is also a great way to slow things down and derail your pacing, but hey, who doesn't love Peter Schmeichel. Our German hosts were delighted.

You can always rely on Chris Charla to get our indie juices flowing, though. He's my kind of trouble. Let's run! Dungeon Of The Endless is already amazing, while SMITE should be a great fit for consoles. And Superhot. That's definitely my kind of trouble. Nice to see Microsoft getting some more indie console timed exclusives, though they've still got a some catching up to do.

I wanna be... your sledgehammer! Peter Gabriel has been stuck in my head since last night's Call Of Duty reveal, and Sledgehammer Games have managed to get us even more excited about this year's offering. That said, I'm more excited about the terabyte hard drive upgrade, to be honest.

Evolve was delayed. So's the beta. Brendan wasn't best impressed by the most recent build, so I'm willingness to wait, but I'm still not entirely sold on the idea of four players' enjoyment hinging of the skilled one opponent. And, erm, couldn't we hear from the developers rather than some bloke called 'J-Party?'

J-Party, for chrissakes... whoa, wait, what, is Tomb Raider exclusive now? Wow. That's a seriously impressive coup that's set to blow the Internet skylight. Speaking of impressive, Quantum Break looked rather fun too. Like a super-gritty Blinx reboot, perhaps. Maybe Jack could travel back in time to stop Fable becoming a series. Regardless, Ori, Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 all look set to make this a merry Xmas. Xmas. Geddit?

Sigh. Still, a stodgy yet decent enough showing from Microsoft, whose message of 'games games games' is still on track. Your move, Sony.


Wait, Tomb Raider's An Exclusive? - Microsoft Gamescom 2014 Press Conference Impressions

Starting off with the FIFA Bundle a good move to keep the European football loving crowd happy, but it was a move repeated from last year’s conference. At least there was terrible pre-panned banter with Peter Schmeichel! Thankfully my enthusiasm started to rise courtesy of the [email protected] reveals. Space Engineers? No Time To Explain? Goat Simulator? SUPERHOT!? A great move to focus on some of these smaller titles.

Then came with third party focus that I didn’t really click with. Advanced Warfare looked pretty, but despite having a similar deal as Destiny does with the PS4, I’m not feeling to need to absolutely play it on Xbox One. The same can be said for Evolve – it looks like it could be fun, but those shoutcasters? I could have done without them ruining the atmosphere.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the reveal of Rise of the Tomb Raider an exclusive. It was a big move that will no doubt have those who’ve bought that other console rather annoyed, so well played there Microsoft.

Quantum Break’s first gameplay reveal definitely has that classic Max Payne feel about it, and what I saw definitely impressed me. I do wonder if the set pieces can be dealt with in various ways, but this could be a grand return for Remedy.

And then Fable Legends appeared, and had chickens. So there’s that. At least Ori And The Blind Forest still looks beautiful and whimsical, although I’ll almost certainly play it on PC.

Then came the Halo. More Halo is great, but I’m not sure they needed to reboot Halo Waypoint with the Halo Channel. Also, I might be alone in this opinion, but outside of the Halo 5 Beta I’m really not that excited about the Master Chief Collection – and the eSports banter didn’t help matters.

Overall I think Microsoft did a good job of making early adopters happy with what is coming up for the Xbox One, but I honestly don’t think it has convinced me to buy one just yet, despite the endless variations of bundles.

And no – I don’t care about preordering digital titles. No sir.

Add a comment6 comments
James180612  Aug. 12, 2014 at 15:41

Thinking about this after originally thinking what a dick move(the tomb raider exclusive move) I've realized this actually might be the best move for SE and Xbox. Xbox 2015 lineup is looking bleak on exclusives apart from the big boy halo 5 right? Halo 5 cant single-handedly compete against the PS4's crew of Bloodborne, uncharted, the order etc. So what do they do? they cant develop a game anytime quick to fill the gap so they buy out a franchise headed for 2015 release and make it exclusive bolstering up reasons why you should pick their product.

As for Square Enix? ROTTR would be directly in competition with uncharted 4 so it would fight a battle for dominance of sales on the PS4 platform which lets be honest uncharted will win on that front. By making it an xbox one exclusive the franchise receives funding from MS and the title will gain a lot more attention on the xbox console making essentially the Lara/Xbox vs Drake/PS match for holiday 2015.

Its bad for those who are fans of the franchise on other platforms but square cant re-release this game with a definitive edition to make up for less than expected sales... not this time. But with the amount of attention surrounding this subject? Tomb raider isn't going to be forgotten anytime soon.

EDIT: I will say i thought it would have made sense to at least release it on the pc aswell.

Last edited by James180612, Aug. 12, 2014 at 15:45
Breadster  Aug. 12, 2014 at 15:43

I think it's a bit of a strange move for Square Enix giving Microsoft exclusivity for Tomb Raider. They must have been given some serious dough for it. I don't know how it will affect the fan base. If there is still die-hard Tomb Raider fans (I'm sure there is) and they don't own an Xbox, I can't see them being best pleased, especially seeing as Tomb Raider started on Playstation.

In any case, I'm not that bothered by it, I still haven't played the reboot yet anyway, it just looks like a lesser Uncharted to me these days. I prefer the less realistic style of the older games, the "Lara Croft" style as I guess it would be now with elements of fantasy, searching for mystical relics with magical powers and all that.

Although having a quick read about it, it seems there is fantasy elements in the reboot, which I had no idea about seeing as CD have said that "Tomb Raider" will be the gritty realistic series and "Lara Croft" will be the fantasy one. As far as I was aware, Tomb Raider was a game about Lara Croft falling repeatedly and gradually becoming more and more bloodied and dirty, oh and she has a bow I guess?

Last edited by Breadster, Aug. 12, 2014 at 15:53
Late  Aug. 12, 2014 at 16:49

Microsoft have been suffering this last 12 months, but it's all about to change.

Goat Simulator is coming.

Seriously, though, they kept saying Xbox is the best place to play games - when we all know the ps4 tends to outperform the xbox1 slightly on all multi-platform games. And the only way to back that up is to have exclusives that everyone else wants to play.

That means either securing exclusive rights to new IPs, which will certainly entice a few folk, if any good, but people might not be tempted by something they've never really seen/experienced; or securing exclusive rights to existing IPs, which will entice a lot of people.

Getting a big title like Tomb Raider as an exclusive (if truly exclusive*) is should hopefully tempt a few people who have the ps4 and are undecided about whether to also get an xb1, and should hopefully tempt a few people who haven't yet upgraded from last gen to current.

Well played Microsoft. I hope it has the desired effect and increases console sales.

As for the new consoles/bundles:
You've binned Kinnect, and barely reduced the price at all.

Best part of the presser, for me, was the slightly-longer-than-previously-but-still-too-short look at the indie titles coming via the [email protected] initiative.
Joking aside, Goat Simulator's fun (albeit short-lived fun), Smite looked good fun (look and learn, Fable), SuperHot looks decent, not to mention Escapists, Space Engineers, and a number of other titles I liked the look of but can't remember right now.

And The Masterchief Collection is definitely the mutts nuts, despite what Carl says!


*The jaded and cynical side of me won't be terribly surprised if "Rise of the Tomb Raider" is exclusive to xbox one - and "Dawn of the Tomb Raider" is a virtually identical game coming exclusively to playstation 4.

alistairmclean520  Aug. 12, 2014 at 19:57

I can't see them being best pleased, especially seeing as Tomb Raider started on Playstation.

It may be my fading memory but I could of sworn it launched on the Saturn first, where nobody really bought it ...

As for the presser, quite surprised there wasn't a Halo X1 bundle ... seemed to be one for everything else.

Breadster  Aug. 12, 2014 at 21:41

It came out on both at the same time as far as I'm aware but barely anyone had a Saturn.

Late  Aug. 13, 2014 at 14:18

Strange that there's special edition consoles for Fifa, Call of Duty, Sunset Overdrive, etc. but not for arguably Microsoft's biggest release.

No, I'm not talking about The Master Chief Collection.

(Whilst I would love to take credit for that, I can't. I grabbed it from http://i.imgur.com/ulw3LSP.png - my only contribution was to rearrange it to fit the comment pane here. And the witty banter, natch...)

Last edited by Late, Aug. 13, 2014 at 14:21

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