Both Main Tomb Raider Media Lines Snapped Up in Major Deals

In 1996, Eidos Interactive released the first Tomb Raider game to thrust a brand new IP and character to the forefront of the relatively nascent entertainment industry. To this day, Lara Croft is still an iconic and much-loved character with lots of modern content out there now and on the way.

In April 2022, as we reported at MarkMeets, developers Crystal Dynamics announced that a new game is in the works and will be developed on the hyped Unreal Engine 5. Soon after, the studio was snapped up in a massive acquisition, with the Tomb Raider IP being one of the major selling points. Along with the games, the upcoming movie is also under new ownership. MGM, the studio behind James Bond, was snapped up by a megacorporation as it seeks to further establish the draw of its online streaming platform.

Tomb Raider media is on the move across the entertainment space, so what does it mean for the franchise’s next steps, and what recent releases continue to power the IP forwards?

Start of the Tomb Raider “unify” game is underway

Crystal Dynamics is incredibly excited about the future of Unreal and how it will help us take our storytelling to the next level. “That’s why we’re proud to announce that our next #tombraider game is being built on Unreal Engine 5!”

On April 5th, Crystal Dynamics announced that they are creating another Tomb Raider game, with its development having “just started” when the announcement was made. The main aim of the initial announcement was to fuel excitement for its use of Unreal Engine 5, which they aim to utilize to deliver a “cinematic action-adventure experience.” However, on May 2nd, news broke that the Embrace Group – which has subtly collected a vast range of studios and major IPs – had entered into an agreement to acquire Eidos-Montréal, Square Enix Montréal, Crystal Dynamics, and major IPs like Tomb Raider. Follow-up interviews and announcements from the low-key vacuum of gaming studios have made it very clear that getting the IPs for Tomb Raider and Deus Ex were major drivers for the $300 million deal.

Their fiscal year report for 2021/22 states that they “see great potential, not only in sequels but also in remakes, remasters, spin-offs, [and] transmedia projects.” An interview with CEO Lars Wingefors saw the Embracer Group head touch on Tomb Raider a lot, with the IP appearing to be in safe, almost non-corporate hands. Wingefors says, “I run my business on absolute numbers, not to percentages,” explaining that investments in games don’t need to return “10x over some period of time.” It implies that they’ll be willing to invest in the IP even if sales don’t multiply the investment several times over. This would appear to be great news for fans of the franchise that have seen other IPs, such as Star Wars at Electronic Arts, have great concepts crushed as they wouldn’t make $1 billion.

In that same interview, Wingefors also commented that Crystal Dynamics will continue to have a great deal of autonomy and that their announced Tomb Raider game has “some amazing plans that I am confident in.” On April 6th, it was also announced that the team had recruited Days Done co-director Jeff Ross as the Design Director, bolstering the team that had already found success with the Survivor Trilogy. With the deal set to close in Q2 of 2022/23 – between July and September this year – the legendary game franchise looks to be in safe hands both in terms of its IP ownership and the development studio.

Tomb Raider hits a bump on the big screen but powers through elsewhere

In 2018, Warner Bros and MGM opted to reboot the Tomb Raider movie franchise with Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander taking over the lead role from Angelina Jolie. At the worldwide box office, the reboot managed to just edge past the 2001 original, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, with its $273,477,501 haul. A sequel has reportedly been in the works for years, but the project has seemingly been dealt another blow, with CNBC reporting that Amazon has closed a deal to buy MGM for $8.5 billion. A sequel of great promise with Vikander to return and Misha Green – who nailed the Lovecraftian elements and social conjunctions of Lovecraft Country in the HBO series – writing and directing, it’s now in limbo, the Swedish actor revealed.

While both of the mainline media developments look to be some way away – a year if not more in both instances – other recent releases from the franchise have landed to appease the massive fan base. Now a staple of the Top Games section at Betway, Lara Croft: Temples and Tombs continue to be a major draw among the vast slots library. Donning the aesthetic of the Guardian of Light and Temple of Osiris renditions of Lara Croft, the famous adventurer finds herself in an Ancient Egyptian tomb adorned by the gods Sobek and Bast, seeking to collect wilds to trigger the scarab jackpot on its cascading reels. There’s now also the Tomb Raider Live Experience to explore in Camden, London. Celebrating the anniversary of the legendary character, visitors adventure to Finland, clamber through a sinking ship, swing through the Costa Rican jungle, and enter the ancient tomb to uncover its secrets.

Tomb Raider has evolved into a brand that’s so much more than its video game series, with movies, slots, and the Live Experience being the tip of the iceberg. Lara Croft is also an incredibly popular character among collectors, with the Weta Workshop Lara Croft figures Queen of the Jungle, The Lost Valley, and the prop replica Recurve Bow and Arrow all selling out at breakneck speed. Adding to the media landscape, anime studio Legendary, with Tasha Huo behind the pen, is currently making a new Tomb Raider series, per Polygon, which will follow on from the Survivor Trilogy of games. Finally, later this year, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris will become the first Nintendo Switch entries for the franchise.

Tomb Raider maybe 26 years old, but the franchise continues to be one of the most prominent in gaming and across the entertainment landscape. Another game is very much on the way, but we’ll have to wait and see if the sequel’s new owner will give the green light.

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Hannah Fuller


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