Sorry, I couldn't help the Ryse gag. Anyways... so, some people weren't happy with this, maybe you've heard. Personally, as much as I loved Tomb Raider and I'll definitely play this, I barely blinked at the announcement, mostly because the deliberately vague wording and the franchise's history left no doubt in my mind I'd play it on PC eventually, and with backlog being what it is, I'm never in a hurry to play any upcoming games. Plus, I'm more than happy to pay as little as publishers will let me, so day 1 purchases are a rarity for me these days, meaning I'm quite used and perfectly happy to wait a while. I bought Tomb Raider for $5 in the same year it released, and I have every reason to believe I'll pay just as much for the next Tomb Raider because that's what Squenix does with all its AAA PC games. This isn't a statement about the game's quality, I'm not saying the game is only worth $5 to me, I'd certainly be willing to pay a lot more than that. Square, however, doesn't want me to, and I'm not about to argue!
However, I do think people had good reasons to be upset. Defenders have pointed out that the industry has always worked like this, platform holders have always bought exclusivity, what's the big deal this time? Why are people upset NOW but not in the hundreds of other times the same thing happened? Well, for one thing, because something like this has never quite happened, and here's why.
1: The History
This isn't a new game, a new IP, a reboot or sequel to a long forgotten game. It's a game that has its roots firmly in the Playstation, then in the multiplatform space. You instinctively assume a Tomb Raider game will be multiplatform, because of course it will! That alone throws folks off balance.
2: The Bait And Switch
Exclusives are always clearly marked. You know right away where a game will be when it's announced, or at least you have a general idea. When no definitive platforms are announced right away, if it's an AAA game you're always looking at a multiplat release. If it's an exclusive, they say so right away. In this case, they showed a trailer to build excitement, and everybody assumed it was multiplatform because that's the logical thing to do when you're talking about a franchise like Tomb Raider and nobody says anything about exclusivity. Only much later did they pull the rug from under fan's feet and announced it was "exclusive". To make it even more grating, they made a grand show of being blatantly dishonest for god knows what possible reason, being deliberately vague with the wording, refusing to give clear answers, telling Playstation and PC gamers there was no reason to be upset because they have last year's game (echoes of Microsoft's "we have a product for people without reliable internet connections, it's called the Xbox 360", I guess the partnership is a good fit after all!), only to, in the end, say "yeah guys,we were just being stupid. You just have to wait, but it's not really exclusive". What's wrong with these people?
3: The Story
For most people who loved last year's game, including me, Lara's story was as much of a star as the game itself, if not more so. It's not just about playing the next game in a fun series, it's about seeing the next chapter of a story you're invested in, one that is quite recent. To be told that the very direct sequel to the story you just experienced and liked won't be available to you because fuck you is unprecedented even in this industry.
The closest thing I can think of is Capcom's ill-fated and short-lived Resident Evil's Gamecube exclusivity. Even then, it was handled much better and actually had a reason behind it. New platforms were proliferating, people now needed several different consoles to play all Resident Evil games, and Capcom decided it would make more sense to have people experience all the games in the same platform, and that's something we can believe because, at the time it actually made sense in theory, and Nintendo is notorious for refusing to pay for exclusive support, or even support, period. Capcom announced the exclusivity clearly with no ambiguity, well before hand, and made a point of making every single game in the franchise available on the Gamecube before the big RE4 so that people could catch up. And as much as people are invested in Resident Evil, like I am, by and large, playing Resident Evil 4 was more about playing a fun game than about seeing the next chapter in Leon's saga.
Not even Dead Rising 3 (remember, it was announced as a bona fide exclusive, not just a timed one, with no "FOR HOLIDAY 2013" caveat) despite the 3 in the name, comes close. I've never played it, but I do know that, a) the first was exclusive to Xbox 360, so in a sense it went home, and B) to my knowledge, nobody ever said "man, can't wait for Dead Rising 3 to see how Dead Rising 2's story plays out".
4: The Fake Bayonetta Connection
Isn't Bayonetta 2 exclusive to Wii U? Why are people not upset about that? DOUBLE STANDARDS! NINTENDO GETS PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT! MEGAMAN! SOMETHING!
And what about Ryse? And Sunset Overdrive? And game X,Y,Z,W,X,A,V? Isn't it the same?
No people, it's not the same. Every one of these games wouldn't have happened without the financial backing of the platform holder. It's as simple as that. Bayonetta 2 is only a Wii U exclusive because, after Bayonetta 1 sold "only" 1 million something copies, Sega wanted nothing to do with a sequel. Lego City Undercover and Wonderful 101 (full disclosure: I just typed Viewtful Joe instead of Wonderful 101 before realizing my mistake. I have no idea why) were likewise fully funded by Nintendo. Ryse and Sunset Overdrive, by the same token, being huge-budget games well beyond the means of independent companies like Ryse or Insomniac, never would have happened without the backing of someone big like Microsoft. So the direct sequel to a multiplatform hit that's always been multiplatform and is made by someone like Square Enix is in no way "just like Ryse or Bayonetta".
And that's that. People can reasonably argue that the reaction went overboard and perhaps many other arguments, but I think it's also reasonable to point out that there was no "DOUBLE STANDARD OGMZ!" in the fan anger. It was a particularly angry reaction to a particularly shitty situation.