Confirming the reported lay-offs at Crystal Dynamics following worse-than-expected sales of Tomb Raider Underworld, two former employees have been shedding light on some of the issues the game faced in development.
A poster claiming to be Eric Lindstrom, the game's Creative Director (his identity seems to be confirmed by the Tomb Raider Forums administrator), has been answering questions from fans of the series about what went on behind the scenes during the development, and why certain features had to be cut.
Most notably, Lindstrom discusses the upcoming DLC for the Xbox 360 version, saying that while the level was indeed intended to be in the original game at launch, it wasn't cut just for the purpose "of selling later down the road." Rather, it was an issue of time - he was forced to trim the schedule to ship the game when he was supposed to: "Even if I was told on that day that we would never ever make a downloabable level, I still would have had to cut it."
However, an anonymous ex-employee disagreed, saying that the content was cut for the specific purpose of being used as DLC:
"Ask anyone who is part of it and if they are honest they will tell you around 40% of the DLC was meant to be in the game itself, originally. But it was decided later on to take out those parts because they were expecting most sales on the 360 and the DLC the way it looked at the time was looking to be a bit 'thin'. So we were asked to cut some parts out to be used in the DLC."
Of course, the validity of the second source has not been confirmed, and given that Lindstrom is no longer employed with Crystal Dynamics, one would think that he has no reason to lie... unless, of course, he doesn't want to be seen as a potential liability by anyone who picks him up in the future.