Tomb Raider : The Angel Of Darkness Delay

This started out simply as a rumour. The problem with rumours is that the reasons and implications involved can be speculated upon quite a lot. Given the large number of people who would like to see Tomb Raider's reputation tarnished, this was the inevitable result:

'Finally, we've heard that the latest instalment in the decreasingly-popular Tomb Raider series is hitting a major roadblock in the form of Sony. Apparently they were none too impressed with the game when developers Core showed it off, since it's not an improvement -- aside from graphics, of course -- over the last several dreadful rehashes. Apparently Sony's blocking the game until some substantive tweaks appear.'

All anyone really knew was that TRVI might be delayed, and people took the chance to try to make the game look bad (again). Of course, it was pretty obvious that idiotic statements like the one above couldn't be trusted. Anyone who says that some of the best selling games ever are 'decreasingly popular' or are 'dreadful rehashes' obviously doesn't really know what they are talking about.

The next big thing was that Tomb Raider didn't make it to Sony's testing phase in time, which meant the release had to be delayed. As the rumour spread past people looking to write a load of rubbish about how bad Tomb Raider is, the bit about Sony refusing it magically disappeared, and is now hiding somewhere in the background. The new story was that they were simply taking too long getting out the little bugs. Or possibly some very big bugs.


Then came the official announcement.

Eidos plc ('Eidos'), one of Europe's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today provides an update on its current trading and release schedule for the financial year to 30 June 2003.

Management have today decided to reschedule the release of two key franchise titles - Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness and Championship Manager 4. Both of these games are in the final stages of development and testing and are now scheduled for release in February 2003. The Company believes that both games will benefit from further refinement in order to maximize the game play experience and their potential in a very competitive market place. Eidos remains confident that a later launch date will not adversely affect budgeted sales. The balance of the Company's release schedule remains unchanged.

The Board believes that rescheduling the launch of Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness and Championship Manager 4 will not impact the Group's full-year financial performance and thus continues to be confident that current market expectations will be fulfilled. The Group's cash position remains strong.

While this does make it seem more likely that it was Eidos's choice to delay the game, it doesn't really tell you anything. The 'further refinement' in Tomb Raider's case might mean stopping the PS2 from blowing up if you tried to play the game. It could also mean what it says, just smoothing over the rough edges that troubled some of the previous games. If you take them at their word, the game will be better due to the delay. If you don't, who knows? At least it should work ok.

So, the final word is it's out next February, and we'll see what's what then. It now seems that at least some shops are getting it in on the 14th, Lara's birthday.

Update : The Delay II