Did Square Enix Just Reveal That the Next Tomb Raider Will Be Episodic?

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Yesterday, the official Tomb Raider Twitter account officially announced the next Tomb Raider game.

Well, almost. All we got was a short message confirming that the game is in development, and “big news” will be with us next year. That’s exciting stuff, because the rebooted Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider are two of the best games of recent years. I have high hopes for the third one.

Here’s that message:

At first glance, that seems like a fairly innocuous message. But some eagle-eyed Twitter users noticed something strange: the first letter of each sentence spells out SHADOW. Coincidence? Probably not, considering leaks back in 2016 suggested that the next Tomb Raider game will be Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Smells like sneaky confirmation to me.

The most potentially concerning thing to me, though, is this announcement seems to suggest that the next Tomb Raider may be episodic.

“…we’re taking a new approach this time.”
“It won’t be very long between the official reveal and when you can play.”
“Our journey together will begin with a major event in 2018.”

Sure, that ‘major event’ mentioned could simply be a reveal event, but the wording definitely suggests something more. ‘Our journey together will begin’ feels too strong for merely an announcement of a launch date. A first episode would seem more fitting.

Considering that Square Enix published Hitman, which went for an episodic launch — and pulled it off fairly successfully — it’s entirely plausible that Tomb Raider could take a similar path. Its mission-based gameplay would fit an episodic nature: each episode opening up a new area which Lara needs to visit; a new set of tombs for her to explore.

It also means that the development team can get a product to consumers quicker, delivering it piecemeal. And as long as that product is still quality, that needn’t necessarily be a problem. The trouble is, the ‘episodic’ nature still has something of a stigma to it; we automatically think of a Telltale game. Which is great on its own, but it’s hard for us to imagine how that same concept could apply to an action game rather than a story-driven game.

I suppose we’ll get confirmation one way or another soon into 2018. However the next Tomb Raider game gets delivered to us, I’m very excited to see where the series goes next.