Crystal Dynamics used to live under the umbrella of the large Japanese-based, international publisher Square-Enix However, the parent company sold Crystal Dynamics and the Tomb Raider intellectual property to Swedish holding company Embracer Group earlier this year. The sale also included the Deus Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain franchises and associated studios. In other words, the majority of Square-Enix’s Western studios and properties.
It’s not a pleasant surprise to find Amazon publishing its new Tomb Raider game because Embracer is its publisher of games. However, Crystal Dynamics studio head Scot Amos stated that Amazon Games is “uniquely positioned to rewrite what publishing and development collaborations are” and that they are in line with what he calls the Tomb Raider team’s “vision, ambitions, and values.” To clarify, however: Amazon is not acquiring Tomb Raider or Crystal Dynamics but is creating the next installment of the Tomb Raider franchise.
Amazon Games has made some notable waves over the last few years, but it’s mostly been in multiplayer. Amazon has developed multiplayer games in-house (like The MMO New World) or created games from other studios’ multiplayer. Previous successes from the company, such as the massively successful translation of the South Korean title Lost Ark, are aimed at those same types of gamers who are glued to online communities via Twitch.
Based on the company’s history, it is the first game for a single player to be announced in the name of Amazon Games. Because previous titles by Amazon have focused on collaborating with Twitch, Tomb Raider is distinct. There are streamers with a lot of popularity who play a range of single-player games (they usually go by the name “variety streamers”), but they’re far from being the majority; Twitch’s top-rated channels are mostly populated by players who play two or three games on the internet, such as World of Warcraft or Call of Duty: Warzone.
The press release outlines aspects of what we can anticipate from the upcoming Tomb Raider game, and it appears that Amazon Games and Crystal Dynamics will be offering players who have enjoyed the recent reboot trilogy another installment of the same. The game won’t be a sequel and will give the players “control of the confident and multidimensional hero Lara Croft in an environment that rewards exploration and creative pathfinding, with mind-bending puzzles to solve, and a wide variety of enemies to face and overcome.”
The game will be built using Unreal Engine 5 and is said to be in early development, which suggests that it will be an official release in about two years.