Downloadable content has been a fixture of Square-Enix’s biggest releases in the past two years, particularly big story based expansions. Deus Ex: Human Revolution was supplemented with the substantially sized expansion, The Missing Link. Final Fantasy XIII-2 didn’t even have a proper ending on the game disc, with the narrative between that game and the upcoming Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII connected through downloadable content. Hitman: Sniper Challenge actually shipped before Hitman: Absolution, and received quite a following on its own. And yet the widely praised Tomb Raider, seemingly an ideal candidate for a meaty single-player expansion, won’t be getting any such DLC according to developers Crystal Dynamics.
“There are currently no plans in place for any single-player expansions,” said Tomb Raider brand manager Karl Stewart in a Reddit question and answer session on Tuesday. “All of our DLC is based around the multiplayer experience for now.”
The first of those multiplayer expansions, Tomb Raider: The Caves & Cliffs Multiplayer Map Pack, went on sale on Xbox 360 this week with releases on PlayStation 3 and PC set to follow later on. Eidos Montreal, the studio behind Deus Ex and the upcoming Thief, however, developed that DLC, not Crystal Dynamics.
Crystal Dynamics may be wary of releasing downloadable content for Tomb Raider’s story based on what happened in the aftermath of 2008’s Tomb Raider: Underworld. That game was supported by two single-player expansions that were exclusively on the Xbox 360, Tomb Raider Underworld: Beneath the Ashes and Tomb Raider Underworld: Lara’s Shadow. After those expansions came out, Crystal Dynamics was accused of cutting 40-percent of the game from the retail release because it had received money from Microsoft.
In 2009, Tomb Raider: Underworld director Eric Lindstrom, who had since left Crystal Dynamics, said that content was cut from Underworld in order to get the game finished in time. “I can tell you without doubt that the content of DLC was absolutely not held back from Underworld for the purpose of selling later down the road,” said Lindstrom, “We had a production issue that was going to make us miss our ship date-which we could not do-and I needed to find a way to cut enough days from the schedule in a manner that would not rip a hole in the game that would take time to sew up… Even if I was told on that day that we would never make a downloadable level, I still would have had to cut it.”