January 18th, 2014, 00:08 Posted By: wraggster
Last year, Square Enix said it was "very disappointed" that the high review scores for Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider reboot had not translated into the equally high sales it had expected for the game - a whopping 5-6 million units within four weeks.Tomb Raider actually sold around 3.4m during its first month on shop shelves - no small amount. But by Square Enix's standards it was nowhere near enough.The lost sales came at a turbulent time for Square Enix - after its "extraordinary loss" at the end of the last financial year and before its "fundamental review" of the entire company. And it was easy to suggest that Square Enix had predicted Tomb Raider would sell more because it (and Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs) simply needed to in order that they fix the company's financial problems.But from comments made to Eurogamer last night by Tomb Raider executive producer Scot Amos, it wasn't until much later in the year that the game broke even."By the end of last year - Tomb Raider is in the black," Amos revealed. "We've crossed the line of profitability for the last-gen and PC versions."Tomb Raider's upcoming Definitive Edition will help push the game's sales further.
It tallies with something Eurogamer sister site Games Industry discussed last year - that a game like Tomb Raider with a budget approaching $100m (£60m) needs to sell an extraordinary amount to break even - at least 5m copies. Which was what Square Enix's expectations were."As a franchise, Square Enix is clearly invested in us," Amos continued, batting aside the notion that Tomb Raider's sales had ever meant trouble for the series' future. "They already let us get kickstarted on a sequel and they backed us with this [the game's upcoming Definitive Edition]."They've always been behind us, regardless of maybe what was said or how it was said in the press, and certainly at the end of the year we've actually gone over expectations because we've managed to get profitability back."But even with the game's development cost in mind, was Square Enix still realistic to actually expect such high sales numbers?"Everybody's expectation is desirable..." Amos laughed. "I think that, as far as realistic or not, what the market can bear... It's a very interesting time. How many people can sell games like Clash of Clans or Candy Crush and make that kind of money? Or Minecraft's sales? Expectations can get shifted so quickly it's difficult to know what realistic even means anymore."And, looking forward, clearly Square and Crystal are invested in the franchise. So, despite how it was said, what was said - we had a lot of people scratching their heads and asking about it - we're very happy to say that from a partnership internally, we're committed to it totally. Square Enix talks about it as a key franchise, so we're very happy with where we're at."Of course, Tomb Raider's upgraded Definitive Edition for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will help the title head even further past that line of profitability. But Amos dismissed the suggestion that it was a Square Enix-backed scheme to quickly boost sales further.
"This was in the bag and on the way even before anything happened with sales expectations..."
Tomb Raider executive producer Scot Amos
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