The next Tomb Raider game won't be a Tomb Raider game at all. Square Enix today announced that it will release Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light through digital distribution channels later this year.
Development duties for the game have been entrusted to Crystal Dynamics. The San Francisco-based studio was long known as the developer behind the Legacy of Kain and Gex franchises, but in recent years has been credited with reviving the Tomb Raider brand, one which original publisher Eidos (which has since been acquired by Square Enix) acknowledged had been tarnished. Crystal Dynamics breathed new life into the series with the 2006 revamp Tomb Raider: Legend and has since focused on the franchise, with Tomb Raider: Anniversary and Tomb Raider: Underworld coming from the shop in the following years.
Square Enix hasn't revealed any details about the game or to which platforms it will come. However, Crystal Dynamics general manager Darrell Gallagher said in a statement that the game is "completely new and very different to what people might be expecting."
This won't be the first time Lara Croft has gone downloadable. Tomb Raider: Anniversary received a retail release for the Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 2, PSP, and Wii, but the game was also cut into pieces for Microsoft's console and released as a series of downloadable episodes for the previous year's Tomb Raider: Legend.
For more on Lara Croft's last outing, check out GameSpot's review of Tomb Raider: Underworld.