updated 05:11 pm EDT, Tue August 12, 2014
Date changes, beta launch dates and console exclusive titles outlined during press event
[Updated with Phil Spencer's comments on Rise of the Tomb Raider being a timed exclusive] During the Microsoft press event at Gamescom today, a number of announcements were made regarding some upcoming games and beta programs. While there wasn't much in the way of brand new games, some important date shifts were noted, as was the announcement that a sequel to one of the most successful games of 2013 would be exclusive to Xbox One.
As it turns out, the next Tomb Raider game from Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix, Rise of the Tomb Raider, will be an Xbox exclusive. The title is expected to arrive during the holiday period of 2015.
The move comes as a surprise, as Square Enix was careful not to give too much information on platforms during the Electronic Entertainment Expo. It seems like an odd choice, since the game is said to have hit 6.5 million units spanning several platforms. Crystal Dynamics Head of Studios Darrell Gallagher posted on the Tomb Raider Tumblr that the Microsoft announcement will help push Tomb Raider to the top of the action-adventure gaming pile.
Later, in an interview with Eurogamer, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said that Rise of the Tomb Raider was a timed exclusive for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. As for how long the exclusivity lasts, Spencer declined to comment on the terms.
"It's a deal between us and the partner," said Spencer. "People ask me how much did we pay. There are certain things I'm just not going to talk about because it's a business deal between us and them. Obviously the deal does have a duration. I didn't buy the IP in perpetuity."
Microsoft also announced some smaller news, indication that some titles from indie developers would be coming to the Xbox One as part of the ID@Xbox program. According to Joystiq, Below, Dungeon of the Endless, Goat Simulator, No Time to Explain, Smite, Space Engineers, Superhot and The Escapists are just a few.
Rollercoaster Tycoon developer Frontier Developments would also be bringing Screamride to Xbox consoles in 2015. Ori and the Blind Forest was pushed back from the fall to the holiday season. Quantum Break is also releasing an Xbox One exclusive sometime in 2015, accompanied by a television series.
Beta announcements for Evolve, Fable Legends and Halo 5: Guardians were made during the press event. Evolve is scheduled to hit beta in January 2015, a month of ahead of its new release date of February 10. Fable Legends starts beta on October 16. Halo 5 will now run a beta from December 29 up to January 18. Consumers that pick up Halo: The Master Chief Collection in November get access.
It was also announced that Halo would be getting a dedicated channel on the consoles, aptly named The Halo Channel, which acts as a hub for all things Halo. The channel will have exclusive content, and integration with Twitch.
Additionally, pre-ordering and pre-downloading options were confirmed, starting with Forza Horizon 2 in September before moving on to FIFA 15.