Publisher Square Enix has announced that cumulative sales of last year’s acclaimed reboot of the iconic series are closing in on 6 million units. The company says that puts the game on track to become the best-selling Lara Croft game of all time.
With the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One this month, there’s a lot of focus on next-generation games, but that shouldn’t overshadow the fact that many of the year’s best titles were made for current generation systems.
The end of a console cycle typically is a boom time for gamers as video-game developers take advantage of their knowledge of the systems and look to send them out with a final hurrah. In many cases, those same games help supplement the launch of new consoles as well.
Whether you’re buying for the person on gaming’s bleeding edge or who’s happy with the game system that’s already in their house, there are plenty of good choices.
Female characters have had a rather dubious run in the video game world. When they aren’t damsels in distress, they’re oversexualized stereotypes meant to titillate rather than foster a sense of empowerment in players.
There have been exceptions, of course — Half-Life 2’s Alyx or Samus from Metroid — but progress has been slow. In the past year, though, the exceptions are starting to become … well, if not the rule, less of the exception.
The game is “Tomb Raider,” launched March 5, and critics are already singing its praises as a masterful reboot of the 17-year-old franchise. In the relatively short history of videogames, that series, perhaps more than any other, has shown that players are more than willing to accept a female lead character in a fantasy action game.
But when it comes to games that are set in more realistic scenarios, women are rare — and they’re never cast as the primary hero.
With retail brick-and-mortar sales of new video games down 30 percent year to date, few analysts — and even fewer investors — have much faith that things will rebound into positive territory this year.
Even with heavyweights like “Halo 4” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” hitting stores this holiday season — and the launch of a new Nintendo console system — the hole seems too big to escape. But when it comes to 2013, things are a bit more optimistic.
But with game sales on track right now to hit a six-year low, developers and publishers certainly want this year to end on an uptick, right? Well, of course, they do, but more and more, 2013 is looking like the year where things are going to get really interesting.
In June, the Syfy Channel and THQ debuted “Red Faction: Origins,” a television movie that not only received decent reviews, but was also the test pilot for a potential series. Days later, the latest game in the series – “Red Faction: Armageddon” – landed on store shelves.
Just shy of two months after that, though, all talk the TV series had stopped and THQ had put the game franchise on ice. And that death knell called into question the effectiveness of the transmedia movement.
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been a few solid hits that got their start in the console world. Popular franchises tend to come with a built-in audience, and when Hollywood supplements that with a big star it can be an immensely profitable venture — often spawning one or more sequels.
If you’re a fan of ‘Star Wars’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’, you’re intimately familiar with Hollywood’s practice of repackaging hit films, adding a bit of polish or new content and enticing you to pay for yet another ticket or version of the DVD.
It’s one of the best ways for studios to make money off old franchises — and now the video game industry is starting to follow in its footsteps.
GK Films, the Hollywood production studio behind “Rango” and the Angelina Jolie vehicle “The Tourist,” has acquired the film rights to the short-shorts-wearing, butt-kicking heroine from publisher Square Enix. The company is aiming for a 2013 release.