Amazon has announced it will publish the next game in the popular Tomb Raider franchise, marking a coup for the tech giant’s video game business, reports The New York Times.
Tomb Raider, an adventure game developed by California-based game studio Crystal Dynamics, follows Lara Croft, a British archaeologist who travels through unexplored tombs around the world, solving puzzles and fighting villains.
The latest versions of the game, like the famous 2018 game Shadow of the Tomb Raider, were published by the Japanese company Square Enix. The franchise has also inspired several feature films.
Crystal Dynamics is still the developer of the upcoming game, which does not yet have a release date and is in the early stages of development. But Amazon will be the publisher, meaning the company works closely with Crystal Dynamics on “creative support” and is responsible for tasks such as marketing, shipping the game to various retail and online platforms, and advertising.
The new Tomb Raider game will be the first major game published by Amazon Games, which spent years trying to break into the difficult, isolated world of game development before eventually finding its niche with massively multiplayer online games. Placing a flagship single-player game in its portfolio could be a big step and boost Amazon’s credibility in the industry.
“It’s a huge moment for us,” Christoph Hartmann, the vice president of Amazon Games, said in an interview. “If someone told you four years ago Amazon is making games, you would have laughed.”
In 2021, Google, which was also trying to enter the video game market, closed its own game development division of its streaming service Stadia, before announcing this year that the entire project was being shut down. Some believed that Amazon and its video game ambitions might suffer a similar fate.
But Amazon finally released the popular multiplayer game New World last fall, and this spring released another well-received game, Lost Ark.
Tomb Raider can build on that success. Although Amazon is a latecomer to the video game market and lags behind other companies such as Microsoft, Mr. Hartmann says he believes time is on his side because he is just part of a larger company that is patient and does not seek immediate financial success.
“I’m not part of that rat race for who is outperforming the other one — I’m here to build great games,” he said.
After completing the trilogy of Lara Croft origin games, the new Tomb Raider game will go back “to our roots,” Crystal Dynamics studio head Scott Amos said, though he noted that it was too early to reveal many details.