Crystal Dynamics announced Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
, a new downloadable game from the Tomb Raider
series that cuts out the Tomb Raider
name from its title for the first time in the franchise's 13-year history.
This is also the series' first digital-download release and the first Tomb Raider
game from Crystal Dynamics since Square Enix acquired the developer's parent company Eidos Interactive last year and transformed the London-based publisher
into Square Enix Europe.
Crystal Dynamics' last Tomb Raider game, Tomb Raider: Underworld
, released in late 2008 for multiple platforms and received lower-than-expected sales, which Eidos blamed on the slumping economy and a Christmas schedule packed with high-profile releases. The publisher then laid off some 30 Crystal Dynamics workers
and tasked the studio with concentrating its focus on the Lara Croft franchise.
co-creator Toby Gard also left Crystal Dynamics
in September 2009 for unspecified reasons to work as an independent consultant. He was already nine months into an unannounced project at the developer when he parted ways with the company.
Neither Crystal Dynamics or Square Enix Europe offered further details on Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
other than their announcement that it will release as a downloadable title in 2010. The companies plan to show off the game "behind closed doors" at next week's Game Developers Conference.
"This is a really exciting project for Crystal Dynamics, we have created something completely new and very different to what people might be expecting," says Crystal Dynamics's general manager Darrell Gallagher. "Lara Croft is such an iconic character in videogames, with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
we have created what we believe is a truly original digital experience."