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Crystal Dynamics delays Tomb Raider reboot to 2013

If the new age ding dongs that think the world is going to end in December 2012 because of the Mayan calendar turn out to be right, then at least we’ll have a veritable smorgasbord of sweet new games to play first. This fall is downright aggressive. New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Assassin’s Creed 3, whatever the heck the Wii U will have. It is BUSY right before the end of the world. So busy in fact that some people who were planning on attending the party are now casually dropping out. The latest delay into 2013? Crystal Dynamics and Eidos’ Tomb Raider.

Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher posted a message on Edios official forum on Sunday night explaining that the reason his studio was pulling an Irrational Games was to ensure that the reboot of Tomb Raider would be of the utmost quality.

“When Crystal Dynamics first set out to reboot the Tomb Raider franchise, there were two goals that we were extremely passionate about. The first was to create a modern Tomb Raider game that would surprise and excite gamers. The second was to make this the best game of our careers, something we would be really proud to be a part of. We truly believe that we have something very special on our hands and we can’t wait to share it with you,” said Gallagher. 

“Our priority now is to make sure we fully deliver the very highest quality game. In order to do this, we have decided to move the game’s release date by a few months, from Fall 2012 to the first quarter of 2013. We’re doing things that are completely new to Tomb Raider in this game and the additional development time will allow us to put the finishing touches into the game and polish it to a level that you deserve.”

Unlike Irrational Games’ public declaration that Bioshock Infinite will be delayed into 2013 to improve quality, Gallagher goes on to promise that the new Tomb Raider will be shown off at E3.

The implications of this announcement are manifold. First, Square-Enix is clearly confident that its fall line up will be successful enough to carry the company through the holiday. At least enough to wait for Tomb Raider to beef up sales in the first quarter of 2013, making the company’s financials look nice and pretty at the end of the fiscal year in March.

Second, that the game will be shown at E3 means that the company is worried that awareness of Tomb Raider isn’t where it needs to be yet. This is one of the company’s most valuable properties, and a big re-launch—one that recasts the game as a more cinematic adventure rather than the dense puzzle gauntlet it used to be—needs an audience buzzing.

Reaction to Tomb Raider at E3 2011 was mixed. Some people were intrigued by the adventures of young Lara Croft while others were mystified by the change in scale and perspective. Lara Croft is the all-confident explorer of unseen ruins and killer of man-eating tigers, not someone who runs from danger. The game hasn’t been seen since though so it may be quite different.