Games Inbox: Why did Square Enix sell Tomb Raider and Lara Croft?

The Tuesday letters page asks for advice on building a gaming PC, as one reader asks if this is the end for Square Enix’s Avengers game.

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Fashionable acquisition
A depressingly accurate explanation of what’s going on with Square Enix and Tomb Raider from GC. I’m sure everyone looked at the amount of money paid for everything – as you point out, less than the cost of a high-end movie blockbuster – and couldn’t believe it was so little. It reminded me of Disney buying the whole of Star Wars, ILM, and everything Lucasfilm for ‘just’ $4 billion. A huge sum no doubt, but considerably less than Bethesda, makers of such gems as Fallout 76 and Ghostwire: Tokyo, and nowhere close to the $69 billion paid for Activision Blizzard.

How famous a thing is seems to have no relation to how much it’s worth. My nan knows who Lara Croft is but I doubt she’s aware of Call Of Duty, or anything else Activision Blizzard does, at all. The main thing seems to be that live service games are just fashionable at the moment. Add in some nonsense about the Metaverse and NFTs and you’re pushing all the buttons investors want to hear, compared to just a normal sale of something that’s not a gimmick.

I think the idea that Square Enix sold Tomb Raider and everything to pay for an expansion isn’t the real truth though. They just wanted to get rid of their Western developers that they never knew what to do with and wash their hands of it all. It’s a pretty cowardly decision really, that makes me think less of them as a company.

What worries me is what’s going to happen to Square Enix now. Blockchain equals mobile games, microtransactions, and NFTs as far as I can tell and that just sounds… horrible. I’m all for them making more Japanese games but not if they’re all going to be gacha nonsense. To be honest, Square Enix were always my least favourite Japanese publisher. All their stuff seems to take itself too seriously for my liking, so I don’t really care what they do. I just hope they don’t start a trend that others follow.
Focus

All or nothing
So in a recent article on Tomb Raider, I want to respond to this ‘while the recent reboot trilogy of Tomb Raider was successful it by no means returned the series to its former position as one of gaming’s biggest franchise’.

A series that sold over 38 million of the franchise’s 88 million sales. It might not be up to the standard of whoever wrote that, but I think it did pretty well considering how across three games it sold 38 million.
Anon

GC: It did do pretty well. Square Enix didn’t want pretty well though, they wanted industry leading blockbuster.

Fair deal
Just finished reading the Reader’s Feature detailing annoyance at not being able to stack up memberships for PS Plus. Firstly, it genuinely pains me to ever defend a multinational company and its financial practices, because they nearly always stink. But the only thing that gets my goat more is this weird entitlement some gamers feel they have over everything.

The issue with stacking memberships is clearly an oversight and goes against the spirit of a deal that the writer already described as generous in his article. I can only imagine the money Sony would have lost if they hadn’t fixed the loophole. Every penny of which they clearly need to remain competitive with Microsoft. I’d love to see how these people would run a business of their own.
Chris

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The one that got away
I was the one who recommended TOEM in the Inbox a few months back. So you are welcome, Ryan O’D, and it is nice to hear that I managed to spread the word about this brilliant and very well-made game.

I was honestly surprised that GC hadn’t heard of it as it seemed to be just their cup of tea. It has recently just won a Bafta, as well which might get it the recognition it deserves. Maybe people are just put off by the black and white aesthetic.

For anyone willing to give it a go, it is frequently on sale in most stores, not that it is that expensive to begin with.
Ali K

GC: We didn’t hear about it until after it was out, sadly.

Seven times better
In reply to Isaac M asking about a good headset.

The Steelseries Arctis 7X is great. It is advertised for Xbox but you can also easily use it on PlayStation 4/5 and Switch by plugging the dongle into either. (The Arctis 7P for PlayStation 4/5 does not allow the same trick.)

The sound is great. It’s comfortable and has a great mic. Brilliant battery life. Although I did buy the leather earpad upgrade and it’s even more comfortable now.
JDB

For sale
I really hate what’s going on at the moment with industry consolidation. I know people were warning about it a year or so ago but now it’s happening, it’s just awful. And now Warner Bros. is looking to sell its games business? I thought they decided not to? Surely it’s better for them to oversee the use of their brands rather than to farm it out to someone else? Especially as most of their tie-ins have been pretty good.

Microsoft’s going to have spent over $100 billion on acquisitions by the time this is all over and that’s just obscene. Never mind that such money is being spent at all but it’s all on American companies making mostly the same kinds of games, by association ensuring anything that isn’t a first person action game is pushed out into the fringes – you know, which is basically anything made in Japan ever.

Not that Sony are any better, with their plans to abandon everything that got them to this point in favour of awful live service games. I have a real bad feeling about all of this. I just hope Nintendo has their heads screwed on right at the moment. But the Switch was a hit so it’s time for their next console to be a complete disaster. I do worry about the games industry sometimes…
Benjy Dog

New and shiny
Hope everybody had a good gaming bank holiday weekend! There are some amiibo in stock on the Nintendo Store, including various Monster Hunter ones, the hero from Dragon Quest, Ice Climbers, Daisy from the Mario games, Ryu, Pokémon, and Chibi-Robo.

The other week I bought the Final Fantasy 7 Cloud amiibo and a few months ago I also bought the
Chibi-Robo one, which looks very good as it is very silvery!
Andrew J.

Keeping a promise
So… I need some help. Three years ago, I said to my then 12-year-old son that if he managed to save £1,000 I would double it and buy him a gaming PC. I did this safe in the knowledge that, based on my own youth, that this would never happen.

Unfortunately, I was wrong, and he has used all his birthdays and Christmases to scrimp and save and he has reached his goal – now I am committed to buying him a £2K PC.

No monitor, keyboard or mouse is needed. So, what I want to know is what is the best off-the-shelf gaming PC to buy? I don’t mind going over or under – especially if a special offer is attached, such as this one.

But I also don’t want to buy a PC if we should wait longer for graphics cards to drop in price further – but they do seem to have stabilised. I also don’t want to overspend just to buy a brand and gimmicks that only add to cost and not gaming performance. And lastly, I want one to last at least four to five years given the cost.

So any advice those who have greater knowledge than I have would be appreciated.
Geoff

GC: We suspect most people will advise you to try and save money building it yourself, which is easier than it sounds. But let’s see.

Inbox also-rans
If we get a new Legacy Of Kain out of Square Enix selling all their American games then it’ll be all worth it as far as I’m concerned. Can’t believe they let that series go to waste all these years.
Bisquit

So if Square Enix are going to dump the Avengers game as soon as feasible does that mean someone else will get a chance to do it? Something that’s not a live service game? I can’t see this Embracer Group, whatever that is, paying for the licence as well as the developer.
Korbie

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Malam, who asks what is your favourite video game weapon?

It can be anything from a gun in a first person shooter to a favoured sword in a role-playing game, but which have you enjoyed using the most and why? Is it simply because of how the weapon looks or feels or is there a story element to it that makes it a favourite – or perhaps the fact that you spent a large part of the game upgrading it?

What’s the most original or strange weapon you’ve ever used in a video game, and which has been the most annoying or useless?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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