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Eidos the publisher is “Eidos” no more; We now call it Square Enix Europe July 7, 2009

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It wasn’t too long ago when Square Enix decided to keep the Eidos brand intact following the acquisition move. Now, that decision no longer stands. The Japanese gaming giant has apparently expressed its intent for future Tomb Raider games to be published by “Square Enix Europe” — Eidos, no longer.

Incumbent Eidos CEO Phil Rogers will be heading the rebranded UK-based publisher, and while the Eidos name will no longer be used for the publishing team behind Lara’s games, the firm’s so-named development studios (Eidos Montreal, among them) will retain their namesake.

[GamesIndustry.Biz]

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Final Fantasy XIII engine likely to be used for Eidos IPs June 13, 2009

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Crystal Tools, the Square Enix engine behind Final Fantasy XIII, may very well be the next engine [insert Eidos title here — Tomb Raider?] will be developed on.

In an extensive interview with Gamasutra, Yoichi Wada and Phil Rogers, the respective CEOs of Square Enix and Eidos, confirmed plans of tech exchange between the two companies for future games.

That means Tomb Raider Underworld’s Crystal Tech engine (yes, it’s also a “Crystal” technology) could be used for a ‘Raideresque Final Fantasy action/adventure title some day in the future, while Final Fantasy XIII’s Crystal Tools could pave the way for an ambitiously innovative — gasp! — Lara Croft RPG.

Yoichi Wada points to the differing areas of strength both companies have in terms of game development, “so in that sense the technology, as well as the technology exchange, is also going to be mutually beneficial.”

The Square Enix boss also seems enthusiastic about the prospect of the exchange. “I believe that we would have to forcibly start that kind of a process.” As are we — if only because it would be interesting to see something… unexpectedly wowsome.

Square Enix, Eidos to hold company summit for talent, tech sharing June 13, 2009

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“It’s coming, yeah. This month.” Eidos CEO Phil Rogers has confirmed plans for a summit where key figures from both the Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider publishers will be in attendance.

On the possibilities of the exchange, Rogers doesn’t mind showing his excitement. “We’ve loved the pace, internally, that things seem to be [at]. There’s a lot of planning and thought leadership.

“Some initiatives that we talked about: we have anacademy of experts; we’re going to take our studio leadership structure and key engineers, and have attendees and participation from the Square Enix side, and that’s fantastic.”

Yoichi Wada, Square Enix CEO and president, has also confirmed that “Square Enix engineers are going to be participating in that as well, so there is going to be a lot of exchange going back and forth, in that sense.”

“So there’s genuine excitement in the business,” shares Rogers, “And it’s lovely to be able to say that, actually. I really love that it’s true. We’re a very product-focused company now, and this combination feels right.”

Good things can only come from a thing such as this. Let’s hope we’ll all feel just as well about the combination.

[Gamasutra]

Yoichi Wada: Square Enix-Eidos IP swaps possible June 12, 2009

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In an interview with Gamasutra during last week’s LA gaming expo, Square Enix president Yoichi Wada talked about the possibility of swapping Eidos and Square Enix IPs.

“I think that’s possible. But what’s more important is that the two companies, for example, are going to be creating a new IP together.”

While the prospect of the Final Fantasy Versus XIII team developing Lara’s next outing would no doubt be…interesting, to say the least, Wada pointed out that swapping of IPs doesn’t have to be limited to exchanging game development responsibilities. “Square Enix not only has IP for games, but there’s also IP for animation or manga, as well. So those IPs might be leveraged, for example, by Eidos — in order to turn them into a game.”

“Or it can be vice versa as well: the game IP that the Eidos team has might be transferred over to the Square Enix team to turn it into a comic book, for example, or animation, or figures as well. And so those are some of the areas that this question concerns, as well.” — Reminds you of something?

So what will it be: More Lara dolls or a Square Enix-developed Tomb Raider game?

Tomb Raider dev house faces another workforce cut June 10, 2009

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Following last January’s workforce cut at the Tomb Raider dev house, Crystal D yet again faces another round of “resource-focusing”. This time, 25 employees are being laid off. Eidos cites the company’s “continued drive to focus resources at the studio” — as they did last January — as the reason for the layoffs.

“We can confirm that Crystal Dynamics has made a reduction of approximately 25 people at the San Francisco studio. This decision is a reflection of the continued drive to focus resources at the studio. We would like to thank all of the employees affected by this difficult decision for their hard work during their time at Crystal and we wish them all the best in the future.”

Let’s see then just how focused the next Tomb Raider game will be.

[Kotaku]

Eidos reveals E3 line-up; New Tomb Raider gets top-secret treatment? May 30, 2009

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Eidos has issued a press release revealing their E3 line-up, which includes Batman: Arkham Asylum, Just Cause 2, and Mini Ninjas, with no signs of a public Tomb Raider reveal. Oh, but that’s not stopping the blogosphere from speculating about Lara’s return.

Twitter has spawned a new ‘net-culture of insta-news and one-liner blog-rants, and has also become, of all things, an all-around rumor-generator that tickles everyone’s inner fanboy senses…and, sad to say, we’ve fallen victim to it.

Following a tweet-tease from Eidos community manager Keir Edmonds about “a special announcement in the next couple of days,” another twitter who claims to have insider info on the upcoming E3 points to a new ‘Raider being announced at the expo.

While Edmonds’ tweet could very well be about any of Eidos’ other major titles, the anonymous E3 tipster specifically makes mention of a new Tomb Raider title that will “revolutionize” the series, echoing Eidos pres Ian Livingstone’s excitement about “remarkable things” that will “surprise people and reinvigorate the franchise.”

Of course we’re filing this under rumors for now, and while we are hopeful, we’re definitely not counting on it. There’s also been mention of the next Hitman title, and even that‘s not part of Eidos’ official line-up. Oh well, there’s your bull(sh*t)dozer.

Eidos to push for more “character-driven” games May 28, 2009

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 Eidos CEO Phil Rogers, in an interview at Square Enix Holdings, has reiterated the British firm’s vision for their games: “to create innovative, high-quality, character-driven games and gameplay experiences.” Rogers says this vision has served as “a good driver, a good focus for us” towards “a content-creation business with supreme sales and marketing talent around that.”

Our radar’s picking up signal of a more Lara-driven Tomb Raider game, folks — as should a “high-quality” one but…we’re getting nothing. We’re sticking to Square Enix’s mission towards consumer happiness.

Square Enix wants to give you an “unforgettable” tomb-raiding experience May 28, 2009

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Square Enix big boss Yoichi Wada has a vision for the future of Tomb Raider (among other Eidos IPs) — a game that will “spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable tomb-raiding experiences.” But just how does he plan to achieve that?

In a joint interview with Eidos CEO Phil Rogers, Wada says the company puts prime on “understanding each and every one of our customers.” That means the Wada-man counts you and I in in shaping the future of Tomb Raider, but…really now? If anything, they’ve at least fulfilled the fangasmic dream of seeing Lara Croft with THE Final Fantasy pres.

Loads more through the official firm interview.

Here’s where Lara could be staying during E3 ’09 May 19, 2009

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It’s the E3 2009 floor plan. Best keep an eye on Eidos booth still. Click to enlarge. The rest? Here.

Laraverse round-up: Tomb Raider dev house is 43rd world’s most successful game studio May 12, 2009

Posted by tombraiderfanboy in Crystal Dynamics, Eidos, Future Games, Lara Croft, Underworld.
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The 2009 edition of book series Develop 100 has ranked the Tomb Raider dev house as the 43rd most bankable game studio of the world, beating the likes of Bandai Namco, Bioware, Bungie, Rare, and, yes, Square Enix. Published by Develop, Develop 100 ranks the world’s most successful game studios based on a variety of criteria, including critical success or review scores, industry standing, and sales data of their respective games.

Tomb Raider Underworld, the most recent title developed by Crystal Dynamics, only sold an estimated 1.5 million units as of January 2009 — a sales count, despite surpassing the million mark, deemed disappointing by Eidos for Lara Croft’s eighth outing. This was followed by 30 Crystal Dynamics employees being laid off “to eliminate redundancy and give the studio tighter focus moving forward” and a directive for a Lara Croft make-over for the next game. Underworld has since reached 2.6 million units sold, ranking the game sixth lowest-selling  of all nine major outings of the franchise.

The game, however, has received generally respectable reviews, garnering 75 out of a possible hundred on Metacritic, which has led Eidos to give Crystal Dynamics directive to solely focus on the Tomb Raider franchise. Ian Livingstone, Eidos life president, has hinted that Crystal Dynamics is already hard at work on the ninth entry to the series, saying that “remarkable things” being added to the game will make you say “Oh Lara, I love you so much!”

In February, a Crystal Dynamics representative said that “it’s too soon to say anything about the next game,” and while Lara’s next game does seem to still be tightly under wraps, Eric Lindstrom, former creative director at the Redwood-based team, hinted in November 2008 that there have been talks of adding a multiplayer feature to the next game.

This was substantiated by Crystal Dynamics’ March ’09 job openings, which included an Online Programmer, whose job is to collaborate with “designers, artists, and other programmers” — as the job description puts it — “to develop and iterate on an online functionality including areas like multiplayer, user content sharing, community features, game metrics, etc.” While there is no solid indicator of what Ian Livingstone exactly means by “remarkable things,” perhaps a safe bet would be the added functionality of multiplayer in the Laraverse.

As E3 2009 closes in, we are still left guessing if Lara will even be making an appearance at the expo. Of Eidos’ portfolio, only Deus Ex 3 has so far been confirmed to be shown at the event. While fans of Tomb Raider are no doubt enthused at the prospect of a ninth Lara game, Crystal Dynamics would do well to focus on the more essential part of making a game — its development, rather than its advertisement.

Stay tuned to Tomb Raider Fanboy for all the latest and newest and Lara Croft and Tomb Raider.