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Tomb Raider Next-Gen Port: Good Idea Or Bad Idea?
Earlier this week, whispers of a PlayStation 4/Xbox One port of the rebooted Tomb Raider razed the Internet. While Square Enix refused to officially comment, they were certainly more enthusiastic with their response than your typical rumor. While many may say I should wait until an official announcement to ruminate on the next-gen port, I think it’s a safe bet given the previous evidence and Square’s somewhat unusual phrasing. Given that assumption, I find it a little puzzling that Square would be working on a next-gen port of Tomb Raider.
While it’s not uncommon for latecomers to receive a next-gen upgrade, “latecomer” usually applies to games released within the last month of two of a console generation’s lifespan. Tomb Raider, while somewhat recently released, seems to be outside that window. After all, BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us were released later, and (presumably) neither are receiving next-gen treatments. All in all, it just seems a bit bizarre.
Perhaps more than anything else, I find myself questioning Square (as I so often do) because of their ridiculous reception toward Tomb Raider’s success. When the game managed to sell 3.4 million units in one month, Square called it a financial failure, yet now they are wanting to re-release it, potentially within a year of the original’s. If the PS3/360 releases didn’t meet their expectations, what reason do they have to expect a Ps4/XOne port will fare better? Perhaps they are looking at it in terms of lower development cost, but it still makes little sense to me.
Another question I find myself asking is, “Do we really need a next-gen port?” Even worse, do we need one this soon? I’ll admit loving what was offered in this past generation of gaming, and to an extent I even enjoyed some of the ports from earlier generations, but I honestly felt companies started spending far too much time focusing on what they had already produced rather than what they could produce. When the Devil May Cry series was already being rebooted, what need was there to port the previous installments? And why was Square so concerned with re-releasing the original Kingdom Hearts when Kingdom Hearts III was being demanded by fans?
None of this is to say remakes/ports are a bad idea—I especially love them when they add bonus content—but at this point it almost seemed companies started falling back on them when original material was received softly. This past generation saw such a flood of ports that literally about half the games I look at and say, “Man, I haven’t played that yet” are games that were released in previous generations and I did, in fact, play almost a decade ago.
While porting isn’t necessarily a bad idea, I have no desire to see the upcoming generation follow suit. Square setting the precedent so early with a Tomb Raider reboot doesn’t thrill me. Could it be awesome? Yes. Is there much to offer with a port that wasn’t offered in the original? Somewhat, though not much beyond better graphics and including multiplayer DLC. Is any of that enough to make me buy the game again after spending $60 on the original? Not a chance.
Of course, I don’t speak for others. I speak for myself and these sentiments are my own. However, I would take a guess that if most gamers don’t have a problem with anything I’ve discussed thus far, many do not want to shell out more money just to replay the same game. While it was an excellent game and could possibly have been a Game of the Year contender if released a year or so earlier, it does not seem worth the extra money to invest, given there likely won’t be anything extra in the way of the campaign. Even if the game retails for less than $60, there’s just nothing to sell me on.
Now, given that the port has not been officially announced, could I be proven wrong? Absolutely. Maybe Square will perceive the problems I’ve addressed and include more single-player content. Perhaps the game will be released cheap enough to sell more people on it. And, of course, it gives those with a PS4/XOne who haven’t played the game a chance to snag this gem on their new system.
Still, what I really want to see is an awesome sequel that lives up to the quality of the first game. Even given the potential pros of re-releasing the title, I wish Square and Crystal Dynamics would focus their efforts on delivering a solid sequel faster. After all, who isn’t curious what our beloved, tomb-raiding archaeologist is up to after such a harrowing experience?