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Xbox exclusivity could elevate Tomb Raider - Spencer

Exec says partnership could make franchise bigger, confirms deal made to have an answer for Uncharted 4

Last week, Microsoft announced that Square Enix's Rise of the Tomb Raider would be exclusive to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One for its holiday 2015 launch. The news sparked some ire among PlayStation-owning fans of the series, an outcome Xbox head Phil Spencer told Eurogamer was not unexpected.

"I knew there would be some push back when we came out," Spencer said. "Certain people won't believe this: it doesn't come from an evil space. It comes from a space where there's an opportunity that maps really well with what we need in terms of the genre, and a partner that's looking for a partnership. Other people can do the deal, but it was a deal that fit well with us. And I think it could help the franchise in the long run and help Crystal and Square and us."

When asked if the exclusivity deal was about giving Microsoft an answer to Sony's PS4-exclusive Uncharted 4, Spencer freely admitted it.

"Totally. I'm a big fan of Uncharted and I wish we had an action adventure game of that ilk," Spencer said. "We've started some, and we've looked at them. But we don't have one today of that quality. This is an opportunity."

He added that Microsoft probably wouldn't do such a deal for a sci-fi shooter or racing game, considering its first-party portfolio already boasts franchise like Halo and Forza in those genres. Spencer stressed that Microsoft wants its partners to do well, and directly competing like that wouldn't make sense for them. The Tomb Raider deal, on the other hand, is something Spencer believes will be a "win/win" for both Microsoft and Square Enix.

"If you're one of the people who wants to make noise around the game you have, there are opportunities out there to partner with platform holders, with sponsorships and other things to make it big," Spencer said. "This was one of those opportunities for Crystal and Square, and I think it can help take Tomb Raider and make it even bigger. We want it to be big, given what we have coming to the Xbox in the way it is."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.