Tomb Raider dev trimmed, makeover planned?

Crystal Dynamics reportedly lays off 30 as Eidos considers a new image after Underworld fails to meet goals.

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Tomb Raider: Underworld's lackluster performance has left Eidos smarting. Earlier this week, the British publisher revealed that sales of the game, while respectable at 1.5 million units worldwide, failed to live up to the company's internal expectations. As a result of the lackluster sales, Eidos said it would be trimming its full-year revenue forecast by £20 million ($30.39 million).

Lara's image is about to be turned upside down...again.
Lara's image is about to be turned upside down...again.

The game's performance has apparently negatively impacted developer Crystal Dynamics. Over the weekend, Joystiq received word that the Redwood City, California-based developer served approximately 30 staffers their walking papers on Friday.

Confirming the layoffs, an Eidos representative told the gaming blog, "We have increased the focus on the Tomb Raider franchise at Crystal Dynamics, regrettably this has resulted in the reduction in headcount." Eidos had not responded to GameSpot's own requests for comment as of press time.

The tepid reception also has Eidos considering a paradigm shift for the Tomb Raider franchise. The Financial Times reports that Eidos is contemplating a second reboot for the series, one in which its iconically buxom brunette is transformed into a more female-friendly icon.

"We need to look at everything, as we develop the next game," Eidos chief financial officer Robert Brent told the news magazine. "Look at how Batman changed succesfully, from the rather sad character of the Michael Keaton era to the noir style of The Dark Knight."

Eidos' first reboot of the series came with 2006's Tomb Raider: Legend, which saw the puzzle-oriented adventure game take on a decidedly more action-centric bent. The move translated into a significant increase in sales for the series, with the Crystal Dynamics-developed game going on to sell in excess of 3 million units worldwide.

Along with telegraphing Eidos' next move with the Tomb Raider franchise, Brent also provided more color on why Underworld failed to live up to expectations. "Europe was fine, but America was not as anticipated," Brent 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."

For more on Tomb Raider: Underworld, check out GameSpot's full review.

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