Rise of the Tomb Raider being an Xbox exclusive had already raised some eyebrows during the announcement- here was a franchise that had no brand association with Xbox, and which, after a relatively successful reboot, was deliberately limiting itself to the console with the lower install base- and one where even a built in audience was not guaranteed, at that.
Even more eyebrows were raised when the release date was announced- and it was the same as the release date of Bethesda’s upcoming Fallout 4. Surely Microsoft, who work closely with Bethesda, had to have known when the publisher was planning on releasing the highly anticipated follow up to Fallout 3- why would they pit a game which would already have issues finding a market for itself against it, then?
As it turns out, it is because Microsoft doesn’t think there is much overlap or even scope for cannibalization between the two games, and the people who play them.
“We work closely with all of our internal studios, for example the Halo 5: Guardians launch date,” Xbox’s head of marketing Aaron Greenberg said in an interview with Kinda Funny Games. “The challenge is…that you have to look at the production schedule. You want to make sure that you don’t rush the game so it’s [completely] done or of high quality. That is always the number one priority. If you go earlier you are against Star Wars Battlefront, if you go later you will be against Call of Duty Black Ops 3 and if you go two weeks earlier you are against Halo 5: Guardians. And then you go late and then you are like does the consumer has any money left to buy the game so there wasn’t a better scenario for us except that was the week it was not going head to head against Call of Duty or Star Wars Battlefront. We felt like the Fallout audience…they are not direct competitors per se, but you are right…it’s two big titles launching at the same time and we hope people will buy both.”
“Most [development] teams pick their dates not knowing what else is going to be there. And once you know then would you rather launch against Call of Duty, Star Wars or Fallout? So you just to have launch and stick with the date and feel confident that the game still stand up and we believe it will.”
So… yeah, I guess he does have a point- assuming that Rise of the Tomb Raider was to release this Holiday no matter what, Microsoft didn’t exactly have a whole lot of wiggle room to work with here: earlier than its current date would pit it against Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and Call of Duty, while later would have it going up against Star Wars Battlefront. I suppose they just ended up doing the best they could have.
Rise of the Tomb Raider launches on Xbox One on November 10.