Eidos considers Lara revamp to reverse sales slump

After warning that sales of the latest Tomb Raider game were below expectations (despite shifting over 1.5m units globally), Eidos has admitted it might once again redesign the title’s iconic heroine Lara Croft.

The move would come as the publisher looks to attract a wider audience, our sister site Develop reports.

Last week
the firm revised its full year revenues (for the year ending June 30th 2009) down from a projected 180m-200m to 160m-180m as a result of the Tomb Raider: Underworld’s ‘disappointing’ performance.

The game was, according to a report in The Times, expected to sell 2m copies around the world, but sold 500,000 units less.

According to CFO Robert Brent, the missed target was due to lower than expected US sales.

Europe was fine, but America was not as anticipated," he said.

"You would normally expect Tomb Raider sales to be split half and half between Europe and North America, but this time America was considerably below that.”

Eidos shares fell 30 per cent on the news, and now the firm could revamp its leading franchise’s heroine to revive sales.

Brent likened Croft to evolving pop culture characters, such as superheroes, as a means to keep her appealing – potentially, The Times speculates, to make her more appealing to female gamers.

We need to look at everything, as we develop the next game. Look at how Batman changed succesfully, from the rather sad character of the Michael Keaton era to the noir style of The Dark Knight," said Brent.

The comparison to Batman is fitting for Eidos. The London studio it part owns, Rocksteady, is developing a game based on the character, and the comic book hero’s owner DC Comics is part of Warner Bros, the media firm regularly tipped as prime for a take over of Eidos.

News of the Lara makeover come just hours after the publisher also confirmed it was laying off staff at Crystal Dynamics, the studio developing games for the franchise, to focus the team purely on Tomb Raider titles.

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