The new Tomb Raider game will be published by Amazon

Tomb Raider
(Image credit: Crystal Dynamics)

Back in April, Crystal Dynamics announced that it was working on a new Tomb Raider game using Unreal Engine 5, which is said would enable it to "push the envelope of fidelity, and to deliver the high quality cinematic action-adventure experience that fans deserve." A new addition to a hugely successful game franchise wasn't exactly the most unexpected bit of news ever, but today's announcement caught me a little by surprise: It's going to be published by Amazon Games.

"Amazon Games is committed to bringing players games of the highest quality, from the best developers, across all variety of platforms and genres, and we’re honored by the opportunity to work with this storied developer and franchise," Amazon Games vice president Christoph Hartmann said. "Our team is incredibly excited about collaborating with the talented and visionary Crystal Dynamics team to bring the next chapter of Lara Croft’s saga to players around the world."

The announcement doesn't contain any details on the new game, describing it as "a single-player, narrative-driven adventure that continues Lara Croft’s story" with "all the elements that have made Tomb Raider one of the most revered franchises in gaming, giving players control of the confident and multidimensional hero Lara Croft in an environment that rewards exploration and creative pathfinding, with mind-bending puzzles to solve, and a wide variety of enemies to face and overcome." That sounds good, but it could also apply to pretty much every Tomb Raider game ever.

What makes it a little surprising is that Crystal Dynamics is owned by Embracer Group, which has plenty of publishing capabilities of its own. Crystal Dynamics was still owned by Square Enix when the new Tomb Raider was announced—Embracer didn't begin the process of acquiring the studio until a month later—and it's possible that the Amazon publication deal was already in place at that time. Something similar happened with the new Tales from Borderlands game that came out this year: A publication deal with 2K Games was already in place when Embracer snapped up Gearbox, and that held despite the change in ownership.

"Crystal Dynamics has an extraordinary opportunity following our acquisition by Embracer to redefine what a publishing relationship is for Tomb Raider," Crystal Dynamics studio head Scot Amos said. "Transformative is what we're looking for, and with Amazon Games, we found a team that shares our creative vision, ambitions, and values for a Lara Croft universe across the spectrum of possibilities. They're uniquely positioned to rewrite what publishing and development collaborations are, and we’re eager to forge this new path together, starting with building the biggest and best Tomb Raider game yet!"

The new Tomb Raider is a big pickup for Amazon Games, but it's not the only one: Amazon announced at last week's Game Awards that it will also be publishing Bandai Namco's Blue Protocol in the second half of 2023. Hopefully it will have better luck as a publisher than it's had as a developer. The fantasy MMO New World is perfectly fine but not exactly setting the world on fire, while its third-person hero shooter Crucible was cancelled before it even got out of closed beta testing.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.