Copyright 2005

[ February 12th 2005 ]

By far the most popular question our readers have asked in recent times has been the query of when will Eidos announce Tomb Raider 7 as the Q4 2005 release date Eidos touted in 2004 looms ever closer. While there has been a considerable volume of speculation as to why Eidos have remained silent for so long, it is our opinion that an announcement is now immediately forthcoming, and our money is on February 14th, 2005. The most obvious reason for selecting this date would be because it's their leading lady's birthday, and crafted carefully the PR momentum attached to that train would most certainly propel the build-up of anticipation and overall excitement to near-hype status until the game finally hits the shelves.

We've weathered some pretty fervent argument on why Eidos have remained silent for so long, and understandably that debate has yielded to more frustration at the possibility that Eidos will be forced to delay the release of the game, consistent with previously touted release dates for former Tomb Raider episodes. One point of argument which has stood the test of time is that - as a public limited company - Eidos has been vocal about seeking a buyer to ensure its strategic integrity remains strong in a highly competitive industry. If we are to assume that talks are progressing with a possible suitor, and weigh in the current market capital of the company, at this moment in time, Eidos are a bargain, with a market capital just above 98 million. It would be safe to assume that any announcement on what has become their leading franchise would generate renewed interest in the company, and quite possibly increase their market capital as their share price inflates. This is purely speculation at this time, but could justify why Eidos are waiting till the last possible moment before going public on Tomb Raider 7.

Another possibility could have been the lessons learned from the build-up to the release of The Angel Of Darkness. Eidos applied to itself an immense amount of pressure to deliver what many of us were expecting to be a leading contender for best video-game of the series, and possibly Eidos' portfolio. We believe Eidos over-sold a product, setting itself the enormous task of meeting the hype it had created. It's also our opinion that - although The Angel of Darkness weathered a critical mauling - overall the game was more than reasonable. Additional time to iron out the creases (rectifying the control system for example) would have resulted in a far more polished product and perhaps the critical acclaim the game was looking for. While we believe the extraction of the franchise from Core Design wasn't a particularly defining moment for Eidos, since external pressure was applied on the studio to meet an unrealistic release date, we still look forward to seeing where Crystal Dynamics intend to take the series.

Since Lara's sabbatical from the elite of video-gaming, numerous contenders have come forth and raised the bar. As the technology barriers continue to be obliterated with a perpetual stream of new hardware flooding the market, developers are in a race to out their products before their properties become old hat. If Crystal Dynamics have created their own propriety engine exclusive to the Tomb Raider series, we think it unlikely Tomb Raider 7 will meet the Q4 2005 (fiscal) date for release. However, Eidos confirmed in an interview last year that the Soul Reaver engine had been tinkered with, so it would be safe to assume that if Crystal Dynamics intend on using this engine to power their game, the production train should soon be reaching the end of its journey.

Drop in to Monday 14th Feb to pick up the latest on the Tomb Raider series and read any announcements from Eidos if indeed the company intend to use Lara Croft's birthday to tout a brand new direction for the Tomb Raider franchise.

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