Amazon’s games division publishes the next big one Tomb Raider sequel, according to a press release unveiled today.
The game is being developed by Crystal Dynamics, the same studio that created the reboot trilogy, which includes the 2013 game. Tomb Raideryears 2015 Rise of the Tomb Raiderand that of 2018 Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Crystal Dynamics used to live under the umbrella of major Japan-based international publisher Square-Enix, but its parent company sold Crystal Dynamics and the Tomb Raider intellectual property to Swedish holding company Embracer Group earlier this year. That sale also included the Deus Ex, Thiefand Legacy of Cain franchises and associated studios, in other words, most of Square-Enix’s western studios and properties.
It’s a surprise to see Amazon publish the next one Tomb Raider game because Embracer owns its own game publishers. But Crystal Dynamics studio head Scot Amos said in a statement that Amazon Games is “in a unique position to rewrite what publishing and development partnerships are” and that they will Tomb Raider the “vision, ambitions and values” of the team. To be clear: Amazon is not taking over Tomb Raider or Crystal Dynamics, it just publishes the next game in the franchise.
Amazon Games has been making some waves in recent years, but it’s largely been in the multiplayer space. Amazon has either developed multiplayer titles in-house (such as the MMO New world) or multiplayer games from other studios. Previous hits from the company, such as the hugely successful localization of the South Korean title Lost Arkhave targeted the same types of players who spend their time connecting with multiplayer communities on Twitch.
Given that history, this is the first single-player title announced by Amazon Games. Since Amazon’s previous entries focused so heavily on synergy with Twitch, Tomb Raider is a clear starting point. There are popular streamers that play a variety of single-player games (often referred to as “variety streamers”), but they are far from dominant; Twitch’s most watched channels are dominated by players who focus on just one or two online games, such as World of Warcraft or Call of Duty: Warzone.
The press release describes some of what we can expect from the next Tomb Raider game, and it sounds like Amazon Games and Crystal Dynamics are looking to give fans of the recent reboot trilogy more of the same. It won’t be another reboot, and it puts players in “control of the confident and multi-dimensional 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 confront and vanquish.”
The game is being developed in Unreal Engine 5 and is reportedly still in early development, suggesting we won’t see a release for the next two years.