PlayStation and PC gamers won’t immediately be able to enjoy the continuing adventures of the most iconic woman in video games. The sequel to 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot will be a timed Xbox exclusive.
The big news out of Microsoft’s Gamescom 2014 press conference in Cologne, Germany, is that Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to 2013’s Tomb Raider, will be exclusive to Xbox when it is released during the holiday season in 2015.
The announcement is already sparking a passionate debate among fans, considering the role that Tomb Raider protagonist Lara Croft has played in regards to the visibility of female characters in video games. Last year’s Tomb Raider release in particular sought to reboot the franchise by depicting Lara Croft as a fully-realized character, versus her overtly sexualized depictions in earlier games in the franchise.
Microsoft also trod old territory with another Assassins Creed: Unity trailer, more gameplay footage from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, a new trailer for Sunset Overdrive, a new trailer for Forza Horizon 2, and the announcement of new cars for Forza 5.
A trailer for the multiplayer mode of Fable Legends was accompanied by news that the first wave of invites for the Fable Legends multiplayer beta (for which you may register here) will be distributed on Oct. 16.
Microsoft continued its push for indie games on Xbox by showing a montage of indie titles that included Goat Simulator and Cuphead, and announced that the multiplayer online battle arena game Smite is coming to Xbox One.
A trailer for Screamride, an Xbox exclusive title to be released in Spring 2015, didn’t give up much in the way of details per what the game is about. Apparently it involves building insane roller coasters from which the riders and their cars will be thrown, and then smashed into the sides of buildings.
The audience was treated to the first ever gameplay demo of Quantum Break, a game about a world where an experiment in time travel has run amuck, and players can navigate rips in time where the world stops around the player. Quantum Break will be released sometime in 2015.
Microsoft confirmed three new Xbox One bundles.
–The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare bundle. Includes a themed Xbox One unit with a 1TB hard drive—the default model has only half that amount of storage—a themed wireless controller, a default black headset and a copy of Advanced Warfare, and will retail for $499.99. On sale Nov. 3.
–The Sunset Overdrive bundle. Includes a themed white Xbox One unit and a matching wireless controller, and a digital copy of Sunset Overdrive, and “day one” digital content. The Sunset Overdrive bundle will retail for $399.99, with a release date of Oct. 28.
– FIFA 15 bundle (Europe). Includes a default, black Xbox One unit and controller and a digital copy of FIFA 15, and will retail for €399.99/£349.99, with a release date of Sept. 25.
FIFA 15 Ultimate Team Legends will be exclusive to Xbox consoles. The “ultimate team” game modes in EA Sports titles allow players to put together their own fantasy teams, using real life athletes.
Microsoft closed out the press conference with a bevy of news about Halo, its most important franchise. Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries (Microsoft’s dedicated “all things Halo” studio) announced the Halo Channel, which Ross described as an “interactive digital network.” Ross announced that a partnership with Twitch was involved, but gave no further details.
Dan Ayoub, an executive producer at 343 Industries, announced that the remastered Halo 2 campaign in The Master Chief Collection will run at 60fps and features only aesthetic changes to the visuals and audio, and not changes to the gameplay itself.
Microsoft also showed a trailer for the multiplayer beta for Halo 5: Guardians, access to which will be included in The Master Chief Collection, to be released Nov. 11.
The maps in the beta will be tailored for 4v4 matches. Players will begin matches with identical weapon sets, so as to promote teams taking control of weapon spawn points a la classic multiplayer arena shooters.
The Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta will run from Dec. 29 to Jan. 18.
UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be a permanent Xbox exclusive. Microsoft has since amended the announcement.