Tomb Raider Launch Best in Franchise's History

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Tomb Raider Launch Best in Franchise's History

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Despite failing to meet internal sales prediction, Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider exceeded previous franchise launch records.

There was some gloom recently surrounding the sales of Tomb Raider. Despite selling more than 3.4 million copies in its first month of sales, the game's performance fell markedly short of Square Enix's expectations. That being said, the game's developer, Crystal Dynamics, is celebrating. Though it failed to reach Square Enix's goal of 5 million copies sold, Tomb Raider has exceeded previous franchise records and had the best launch of any game in 2013, so far.

"It's been the biggest week one sales in franchise history, and we're only a few weeks into that launch right now, and it's been the biggest opening so far in 2013," said Crystal Dynamics head, Darrel Gallagher, speaking at GDC. "So, we're happy with the outcome. It's certainly in a place where we feel like we're on the road to achieving everything we wanted to."

It's unlikely that Square Enix will share much of Crystal Dynamics' enthusiasm over Tomb Raider's performance. The publisher has suffered through several years of poor finances and had been counting on Tomb Raider, in addition to several other titles, to help strengthen the company's coffers. The failure of recent releases to reach their targets, in addition to other issues, prompted CEO and president Yoicha Wada to resign from his long-held post.

Even if Tomb Raider didn't meet all expectations, Gallagher and Crystal Dynamics are happy with the game's end results. "Certainly we're proud of what we achieved, and I think for the most part, the whole organization is happy with what we did... Actuals and expectations, I guess, are two slightly different things. What I'm telling you is the actuals, and they're communicating expectations."

While it is nice to see Crystal Dynamics as pleased as it is with the game it made, it is worrisome to think that Square Enix could come out of Tomb Raider feeling burned by its investment. Tomb Raider has been widely regarded as a quality game that tells an interesting story, and it would be a shame to see potential sequels derailed on account of the bottom line.

Source: Games Industry

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Best launch in frnachise history.

Best launch of the year so far.

Below expectations.

What was the bloody budget of this game?! Still, glad to hear the devs are happy.

Best launch in the franchise's history.

Still considered below expectations.

This is on top of Hitman Absolution's 3 million sales and Sleeping Dogs' 1.7 million. Both also considered below expectations.

The AAA video game market, ladies and gentlemen.

ScrabbitRabbit:
Best launch in frnachise history.

Best launch of the year so far.

Below expectations.

What was the bloody budget of this game?! Still, glad to hear the devs are happy.

Doing some simple math, each copy retailing at USD$60 and about 3.4 m copies sold...

Means the budget has to be higher than $200m. I wouldnt expect it to be higher than $300m.

Square Enix just had completely unrealistic expectations.

Tomb Raider sold more in ONE MONTH than Final Fantasy 13 sold in ONE YEAR (and more than FF13-2 has sold TOTAL).

If anything, I'd say that the series that are selling "below" expectations are the only games Square Enix is releasing that are actually selling well.

Because, you know, the massive money sinks that were and are Final Fantasy 14 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII aren't to blame... no, no, blame the western studios. Them and their franchise-record-breaking, best-launch-of-2013, critically-praised games.

Seriously, even Sleeping Dogs selling 1.7 million, and it being a brand new IP, is insanely good. Other original IPs we love didn't sell as much in that time, including Bioshock, Borderlands, Bayonetta, Dishonored, The Witcher 2, Mass Effect, Alan Wake, Heavenly Sword, Uncharted, and others.

I'm starting to think publishers demand too much from their games.

The game made money, people. It's not that the game put anyone in the red. Square Enix was just counting it to... I don't know. Singlehandedly pull it out of the game recession or something. Square Enix is silly.

3.4 million is a certifiable hit, no question. The only way it would be disappointing is if you directly compared it to Call Of Duty's numbers. Which may be the problem.

gigastar:

ScrabbitRabbit:
Best launch in frnachise history.

Best launch of the year so far.

Below expectations.

What was the bloody budget of this game?! Still, glad to hear the devs are happy.

Doing some simple math, each copy retailing at USD$60 and about 3.4 m copies sold...

Means the budget has to be higher than $200m. I wouldnt expect it to be higher than $300m.

Well, as I've mentioned in previous topics, Gran Tarismo 5 and CoD:MW2 cost $600 and $500 million respectively to develop. Both are games that focused fairly heavily on photorealism and featured complex physics engines. I would estimate Tomb Raider's budget to be somewhere up in that range.

gigastar:

ScrabbitRabbit:
Best launch in frnachise history.

Best launch of the year so far.

Below expectations.

What was the bloody budget of this game?! Still, glad to hear the devs are happy.

Doing some simple math, each copy retailing at USD$60 and about 3.4 m copies sold...

Means the budget has to be higher than $200m. I wouldnt expect it to be higher than $300m.

That's assuming that every dollar that gamers use to buy it goes directly to profits, and it doesn't

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I'm still facepalming though. Square, aiming high is a nice thing, but there's a difference between ambitious and just plain dumb.

Square Enix are silly. I'm glad that at least the game is doing alright by normal people standards, as I for one really enjoyed it.

ScrabbitRabbit:
Best launch in frnachise history.

Best launch of the year so far.

Below expectations.

What was the bloody budget of this game?! Still, glad to hear the devs are happy.

If everyone on the planet does not buy it twice, then pirates.

Square Enix feeling burned by only having the biggest launch of the year a quarter of the way in?

No offence, but I think it's a good thing the CEO stepped down...

Games are not driven by a desire to make them, they are driven by the bottom line. If a game does not make the expected amount of money it is considered by the suits to be a failure. The suits do not understand how games work, only the bottom line

lacktheknack:
Square Enix feeling burned by only having the biggest launch of the year a quarter of the way in?

No offence, but I think it's a good thing the CEO stepped down...

It's because SE still has the old school biased thinking of 1997 when they were at their peak (Japanese companies could do no wrong and western developers were shit). It is a good thing that their CEO stepped down but not if they hire a like minded predecessor.

Kopikatsu:
Well, as I've mentioned in previous topics, Gran Tarismo 5 and CoD:MW2 cost $600 and $500 million respectively to develop.

Whoa, whoa. I think you accidentally slipped in an extra zero for each.

The development budget for Modern Warfare 2 was about $40-50 million, but with production, distribution and marketing costs, the launch budget added up to $200 million. Still well below $500 million.

Gran Turismo 5 reportedly had a development budget of $60 million. I don't know what the total budget was, but I do remember a pretty extensive marketing campaign, so the numbers are probably about the same.

I suspect Tomb Raider had a budget along those lines as well.

OT: I'm not really surprised the sales for Tomb Raider are below expectations. After all, stock holders expect ludicrously great results, not good ones.

If only they cut out the fucking QTE's this game would have been an absolute masterpiece for me. Crystal Dynamics should be proud because they made a fantastic game.

I still find it incredibly depressing that Tomb Raider: Anniversary is the worst selling game in the Tomb Raider franchise. That game was amazing, easily some of the franchise's best work to date.

But whatever. Good for Crystal Dynamic, guess we can look forward to more 3rd person shooters featuring Lara Croft in the future.

ScrabbitRabbit:

What was the bloody budget of this game?!

Not even remotely as big as Square want us to think. If Tomb Raider sold at $90 flat around the world (Ignoring sales and price increases for places like New Zealand and Australia (Where it was $120NZD!WTF!?!1!), that's three hundred and five million bucks. I refuse to believe a game costs even close to half that amount.

I really wish a game developer or two would release a diagram like Freddy Wong did for Video Game High School, detailing everything money for the project was spent on. That was perfect. I'd love to see it done for a video game.

It's not surprising. If the game cost $40-50 million to make (plus the extensive marketing expenses it no doubt had on top of that), you'd need 2-3 million sales just to break-even, and 5 million if you want to make a profit quickly. Square Enix will no doubt make a profit on this, but they were probably hoping (unrealistically) for more, to justify the return on investment to their shareholders.

This was also going up against God Of War Ascension and I think Gears of War Judgement as well wasn't it?

Then again this also by the same company that says that they won't do an HD re-release of their highest rated FF game (7, while I still prefer 6) until another FF game sells as well...

Lightning doesn't strike twice, Square... She didn't even strike once...

lacktheknack:
Square Enix feeling burned by only having the biggest launch of the year a quarter of the way in?

This.

Biggest launch of the year, insanely good sales, and it's being labeled as a failure?

To the Video Games industry: You say that games with female protagonists don't sell. You can't make that lie true by claiming that 3.4 million sales in one month is bad. Tomb Raider just proved you wrong - just fucking deal with it.

I hope the new guy remembers that the western games made a profit.
Just not enough to fill their giant money-holes at home.

It is really strange when a massive 3.4 million sold within such a short time aren't enough... a few years ago, CoD's 1 million was a great success.
Really shows that something is really messed up with production costs and/or expectations.

gigastar:

ScrabbitRabbit:
Best launch in frnachise history.

Best launch of the year so far.

Below expectations.

What was the bloody budget of this game?! Still, glad to hear the devs are happy.

Doing some simple math, each copy retailing at USD$60 and about 3.4 m copies sold...

Means the budget has to be higher than $200m. I wouldnt expect it to be higher than $300m.

It doesn't exactly mean TR cost that much to make. They only expected it to sell more.

I wonder, how much did Square Enix expect to sell? Five million? Ten? And do they realize Tomb Raider has been released for barely a month and that it will probably continue selling quite well for at least a few more months?

*Facedesks and grumbles to himself*

ScrabbitRabbit:
Best launch in frnachise history.

Best launch of the year so far.

Below expectations.

What was the bloody budget of this game?! Still, glad to hear the devs are happy.

It's not the budget thats the issue, it's that their assuming and expecting too high in numbers of sales that their being disapointed. Honestly I don't get how any company can expect such high numbers of sales, even for such a great game.

VoidWanderer:
This was also going up against God Of War Ascension and I think Gears of War Judgement as well wasn't it?

Then again this also by the same company that says that they won't do an HD re-release of their highest rated FF game (7, while I still prefer 6) until another FF game sells as well...

Lightning doesn't strike twice, Square... She didn't even strike once...

Wasnīt Final Fantasy XIII one of the best selling games in the entire franchise?

http://www.1up.com/news/final-fantasy-xiii-breaks-franchise

Thatīs why they keep making sequels to it, i saw on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Fantasy_XIII#Reception, that FFXIII and FFXIII-2 combined sold around 9 million copies so far, thatīs not so bad.

This game sold more than there are views for the kickstarted feminist frequency... and they're still upset? Not that the views were the be-all-and-end-all of measurements but were a good indicator as to the potential market for such a game - and it trebled it.

I bought it and I'm happy with the purchase. I hope they turn this into a proper franchise. I hope Sam dies. I hope Jonah is in every single installment. I will purchase Tomb Raider II (2014-2015) or whatever they're going to call it.

They can even re-use the engine, it's a pretty fun thing which should cut down on development costs. This is an INVESTMENT, Squeenix.

Provided they didn't lose money (and it's almost unthinkable that they did) Crystal Dynamics have nothing to be ashamed of at all. They haven't factored in digital sales yet to my knowledge, and Tomb Raider was popular in the PC market aswell, and will probably continue to perform quite well there for a while by being one of the most demanding benchmarks for high-end PC performance.

seems like square enix are indeed full of squares...

...and yet it was bellow expectations? I think they might be setting the expectations just a touch too high there.

this sort of thing seems to be getting really common. Games sell millions of copies yet are still deemed disappointing or failures. So are publisher and developers are just expecting to much, the production costs are getting out of control or are they just wanting sales like CoD?

I enjoyed Tomb Raider and therefore I'm glad that Crystal Dynamics seems to be content with the sales.

Though I have to say the budgets mentioned here seem really exaggerated. According to Evan Wells the budget of the first two Uncharted games were around 20 Million dollar each. I think its fair to assume that Tomb Raider was somewhere around the same mark so probably between 20 and 30 Million dollars.
This does of course not cover marketing and all other expenses.
Considering the initial goal of 5 million sales I dare to say that Square-Enix did not lose money on this one.

Seems like the western studios of Square-Enix are doing great considering the quality of the latest Hitman, Deus-Ex and Tomb Raider.
Lets hope this continues with Thief.

ScrabbitRabbit:

What was the bloody budget of this game?!

Almost certainly irrelevant. It's far more likely this is driven solely by their other problems. Squeeeeeeenix is in a fiscal slump they saw coming but could do nothing about, and now they seem to be banking on any given game as a magic bullet to put down their problems.

The Madman:
I still find it incredibly depressing that Tomb Raider: Anniversary is the worst selling game in the Tomb Raider franchise. That game was amazing, easily some of the franchise's best work to date.

But whatever. Good for Crystal Dynamic, guess we can look forward to more 3rd person shooters featuring Lara Croft in the future.

God help us. After some time to reflect, Tomb Raider is for me by far the worst game in the series, besides Guardian of Light. With "game" in bold, underlined and italics. The brilliant story doesn't matter to me. Lara's improved boobs and existential anxieties don't matter to me. What does matter is that stripping away the exploration and puzzling my way through a large ancient tomb took away all the satisfaction, something that a series of linear gunplay encounters does not fill.

SE expected 5 million in three weeks? Are they insane?

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