Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tomb Raider Anniversary to be Xbox Live download?

Ever since it was announced last year, Xbox 360 owners have wondered why Tomb Raider Anniversary, the remake of the original Tomb Raider, wasn't going to be released on Microsoft's platform. After all, Legend was released on the 360 last year to positive reviews and solid sales.

Today, some new ESRB listings discovered by Kotaku, shed some light on why that may be. 5 levels from the game are individually rated T for Xbox 360, suggesting that they will be made available as individual downloads, instead of released as a complete game.

If this is the case, it will mark the first time that a major game has been released for a console exclusively as a download.

While part of me is glad to see the game is coming to 360 after all, the cynical, digital distribution hating part of me has a feeling it's not going to be ideal.

On both PC and PS2 the game retails for $29.99, a low price for both platforms. So we can extrapolate that a 360 retail release would cost $39.99, covering the next-gen premium.

Now the real question is, what is Eidos going to charge per level for the game? The way I see it, the game should be sold for less than what a retail game would go for since all you're paying for is a download (one that is going to take up probably 3-5GB of space of the 13GB available on the 360 HDD). Perhaps they'll sell the game for less to those who buy all the levels as a package, while charging slightly more for the individual levels?

Any way you slice it, I'll always prefer to have my games on disc so I certainly don't want to have that option taken away, especially if they intend to charge the same or even more than what the game would've cost at retail. I have a feeling that, altogether, the game is going to cost at least $40. Given the choice between a $40 disc and a $30 download, I'd still take the disc. Given a $40 download and nothing else, I'm probably going to go with nothing. I just really don't like the idea of publishers doing away with discs so they can then charge more for the download.

I'm also curious to know how they'll handle the achievements for the game. Will it get a full 1000 points, befitting a major release or will each download have it's own separate achievements?

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