Tomb Raider dev trimmed, makeover planned?

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

129 Comments

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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gamespot2DBOne

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ps2 version of This game is very diff.here's what i noticed.no sharks,no insects,when swimming u cant swim up to the surface/boat.they changed sections of this game example: frist level.there is no MAP.framerate issues.the game gets laggy.they toned down the graphics so the game could work on ps2 with lag? haha,hmm,

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Slagar

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The sales of Tomb Raider Underworld have little to do with the style of game, and LOTS to do with the quality of game released! There is a lot wrong with Underworld, and it's no fault of the "formula" they're using. If they want better sales, try releasing a game without glitchy character animations and a ridiculously bad camera. These two aspects went waayyy backwards from Anniversary and Legend, and it really detracted from the overall experience (because, at heart, that's what TR games need to excel at). There was no weapon/item progression, no costumes to unlock, really no reason to play it through a second time. Also, gameplay and story-wise, I felt they went a little too far in the direction of Soul Reaver - fighting undead and stomping on them to finish them off? It got pretty cheesy and tiresome. Seriously though, if they had kept it in development and polished it a bit, this game would've sold well. I hope the next game in the series isn't rushed out the door; I'll be thinking carefully before I buy it.

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zacattack214

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You know, even though Angel of Darkness had immense performance and gameplay issues, it still had the best formula in my mind. If they want to keep selling Lara Croft games then they need to take her out of the tombs and into more contemporary environments. When every Tomb Raider game takes place in the same old location, people are bound to get bored--you have to give them some diversity. Legends worked because it had the city levels intermixed with the classic styled ones. There has to be some modern appeal in there.

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Seth_GRAVIJAH

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Wait, they won't complete the trilogy ? TRU isn't perfect (how many swears I thrown to my TV... lol) but I'm spending really good time on it. I don't care the fighting tiger thing, but the puzzles and level design in general were really interesting and motivating. Well, let see what will comme with this... as usual, we know what we loose, not what we gain...

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DA_JUGGERNAUT

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I am a fan of the TR franchise. I even liked TRU. But the fact is that I am not going to pay 60 or 50 for something that is short and glitch ridden. Eidos knows this so they really brought this upon themselves because they cannot give these franchise players (Hitman, Kain, and Raider) what they really need in a solid all around game. I feel they need to give them to someone who can. But what do I know, I'm just a fan.

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QVT

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The fact there are still supporters for Legacy of Kain on here makes me smile.

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fiskefyren

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shes an old gal now... please just let her die and rest in piece and try to come up with something new instead of redoing the same **** for the next 33 years? :)

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fiskefyren

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oh oh! i know! how about not making a pile of steaming ****?! that will make your games hit "goals" :D true story!!!

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IIISpartan007

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ok barez has a EXTREMELY good point. They need to finish the legacy of kain series PLEASEEEEEEEE that series was fantastic and i have been praying they would start it up again. Let Lara be she aint hot anymore i never liked her in the first place. id rather fight vampires and soldeirs than flippin tigers and bears oh my.

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ok_barez

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Best to say some thing to EIDOS guys, plz plz plz, let lara go for a couple of years and re open the Legacy Of Cain Series, That Fantastic Twisted Flowfull BEAutiful Epic Action Advanture game that we all have memories of.

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Kiriyama12

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I don't know, it actually came out good, or at least better than i expected, still probably a little short.

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SirCroft

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Eidos is ruining the series with their rushed games and low budget.

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rohr2

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Hello Deus Ex anyone? It was freaking amazing. The story was the best part. but seriously get some great games out like hitman or thief or legacy of kain

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haishido

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@Cube-Gage You may be onto something there. It sounds realistic to have Drake and Lara in the same game. Ideas like this could give a rescue hand to the Tomb Raider franchise. **Cough** Eidos, CD, You reading this?

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haishido

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First the hedgehog and now Lara. I know game developers mean well when they put these "Next Gen" games out, let's face it: It may be time to give it a rest. Like Tyson said after losing his match, "I'm not going to embarrass this sport anymore" before announcing retirement. In this economic time frame, each underachieved game only puts your company's foot in the grave. Can't afford to lose multi-millions on something that doesn't produce results anymore. If the team wants to take another shot, they should make the next installment as if it were their last.

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shyshyshy

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Let's just hope, the ps2 version would water-down what others are complaining so much on the current gen. At least on the PS2, people would readily forgive TR:U of its short-comings as compared to current gen. Legends and Anniversary were amazing games, people just don't have the patience anymore to play these kinds, not when there are games that boasts uber frames per minute and tv busting graphics like Gears of War, Assassin's Creed, current FPS's. The current gen just couldn't balance out TR compared to today's games. IMO players are so aclimatized to the idea that games should evolve fairly quickly. In the olden days, during the less than 100 bit era, it would take so long before gamers would welcome a new formula, like Mario for example. I mean how long did you think Mario spent knocking boxes with his head and fart-as*ing his enemies? It took years and even until now, it still does work. But the gaming niche has clearly declined as compared to contemporary gaming genre. And old formulas don't always win hearts. Tomb Raider is clearly a too-familiar formula that desperately pleads the gamers to stick with it because it still does do the trick. But like most formulas, ideas and what not...they get old quickly nowadays especially when the general public begins to think that todays consoles can do almost anything. I wonder what they really want Lara to do when in fact she can do almost anything. (Not everything the developers wouldn't want--please let's set aside wet fantasies for a while he he he) They want new things and they want it now. Of course, TR: U has its share of problems but what games doesn't...no matter how miniscule it is. I don't think this has anything to do with how poor the sales are. I must admit, the graphics are at par with other game outings but it just couldn't beat what todays gamers' view as being "innovative" already (whatever that is). Innovation is indeed abyssmal.

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pikadeth

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Part of the problem was that they released an okay game at a time when the market is flooded with great games.

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Temtamperu

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Maybe the reason people arent buying tomb raider is because it got old, they release one nearly every year and its the same drool over and over. Put lara on a shelf and get some new ideas maybe?

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slainta

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Agreed to push back Legacy of Kain, About TR CD has to fix the camera anc control movements once for all. Also the framerate is bad. Why Uncharted at its debut has been so smooth and TR after 12 years has to suffer from camera/glitches/control problems? Also I think Eidos should focus on the next-gen systems. Making it totally multiplatform as we seen doesn't always pay. Chose quality over quantity net time.

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Jigen78

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Eidos and CD, it's time to give Lara a rest and bring back the Legacy of Kain series. I'd take another LoK game over any other Eidos IP right now (yes, Thief, Deus Ex, Tomb Raider and Hitman included).

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xdeiri

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lara really needs a face left

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Ridonkeykong

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The combat was the only negative for me. It was just lame. I enjoyed the rest. I hope they don't screw it up.

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cube-gage

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Why dont they call up Naughty dog and say hey lets make a game with drake and lara in, perhaps competing against each other I dunno, hype would be massive for a move like that. Or send Tomb raider to the past (not sure if they havent already done that) But really they need to make a new franchise. I think there is definately more room for another shooter, especially a war based one as call of duty cant rule an entire genre, there is no competition, depending if MOH comes back with anything good. Or how about an action game that takes place on the high seas, perhaps during the British Empire, kind of like assasins creed, infact to be cheeky they could even hav sir francis drake as the main character lol. Allowing the gamer to choose many destinations. I dunno.

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DontEatCream

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You know what they need? Another Hitman game. Tomb Raider has never been my cup of tea, and I know a lot of gamers feel the same way. Hitman, on the other hand, has always been better received, at least for me. It's been a while since Blood Money came out. Bring on the new Hitman, Eidos!

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Polaris_x1A4

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Michael Keaton was not a sad Batman! I liked Keaton's character. It was Kilmer's or Clooney's Batmans who were more sad.

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BloodMist

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Underworld was such a really, really well made game, easily the most polished TR to date, in every aspect.It added a bunch of nice new puzzle elements and acrobatic moves, made Lara more responsive than ever before, she almost moves like The Prince now, without any of his signature moves of course, i just mean in pure responsiveness, and even improved the gunplay a little bit, not that that was ever the focus of the series, nor should be.It was NOT the exact same game, and it's rubbish to say so.Damn you people for not buying it.

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thingta42

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Bring on Theif 4!

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biggest_loser

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They need to take a couple of years to think the next game out. They were already talking about the next game while Underworld was being made. It has become too samey. Its time for a new publisher. And yes 'they' should be kept the same size. They're great, don't change those!!

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brendanhunt1

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And theres only about 7 different enemies

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brendanhunt1

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Its the gameplay and enviroments

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Lum_Yatsura

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1.5 million is "lackluster"? You have to be **** kidding me! I'd be grateful to sell a marble in this economy.

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Klarden

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Yeah, sure... let's make the same mistake as with the Angel of Darkness. Stupid ****s

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stalepretzels

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Eidos. Stop wasting your time with tomb raider. MAKE THIEF 4!

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suzabbe

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I'm a huge TR fan, and quite frankly, forgot all about this release until I was at a BestBuy and noticed it on a shelf in the back of the store. Other releases had my attention at the time, and since I bought it, I still haven't even opened the cellophane to be honest.

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DrKill09

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Lara's looks are not why Underworld didn't do that good. It's cause the gameplay just isn't as good as Uncharted. Legends was a great game, but Uncharted is SOOOO much better. Maybe it's time Lara finally retire.

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TXMostWanted

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well they did release it during the holidays...Fallout 3, Gears 2, LBP completely slaughtered it. Whereas Legend came out in April with no shows popping up.

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DarthVeng_basic

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Legend was a great game, Anniversary was unpolished and very glitchy, Underworld more of the same as Anniversary without the Croft Manner section i really enjoyed from the two previous games. If they would have taken another 6 months to a year on Underworld to fix its many glitches it would have done much better. We really dont need a new TR game every year. Underworld simply wasnt the game is should have been. Make a better game and more people will buy it.

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Timstuff

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A lot of you seem to think that a makeover for Lara means smaller breasts, when as of late that's been the least of her problems. Crystal Dynamics has done a fine job of making Lara's chest proportions more believable, but unfortunately at the same time they've also made her outfits smaller and smaller. I mean, in Underworld she had a wetsuit with a bikini-cut bottom! Also, Lara's face has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny lately. Her head is abnormally large in proportion to her body, and her face is abnormally large in comparison to her head (except her nose, oddly enough, which is disproportionately small). The popular comparison seems to be "Bratz doll," and Eidos would do well to give Lara a makeover that makes her look more like a real woman. So basically, if Eidos wants Lara to be not just more "female friendly" but more believable to everyone, making her bust smaller is not the first place they need to look, since IMO it's already gotten small enough. She needs a more sensible wardrobe, and her face and head need to be proportioned more towards reality.

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dsimmons79

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Wonder when the publisher will realize that having the devoloper push out a sequal every year could be the cause to why the game faired poorly. It happened to the PS games for the same reason. Also they could of waited til the new year to release it. nov 18 was staring down the barrel of a butt load of games that were new or better sequals.

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RetroGamer34233

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I think what developers should do is be restricted to just one rehash of a series each console generation. So that would mean no new Tomb Raider until the next gen. Then, developers have a few years to develop new game mechanics, etc., so we don't have three titles of the same old thing. And waiting six or seven years between will give the game a fresh feeling.

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viatridis

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propably you are the boring one here....

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earlthecannibal

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Give up on boob raider already..it was a average game series at best and no matter what is done with it , it will still be a boring single player game no one wants to play.

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ultima012

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I think the biggest problem is the fact that not a lot of people care about Tomb Raider anymore. I used to be a huge Tomb Raider fan and after so many bad games in the series I just got sick of getting dissappointed. I played a little of Underworld but there was nothing to keep me interested in it so I never finished it.

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veitari

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"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." That will make no difference. Saying this as a woman, I've loved TR since I first played it. Giving her smaller boobs wouldn't make a diffeerence to any women I can think of except extreme feminists, and I can't say I see them as a big market. Besides it's the outfits that get smaller every game that make me roll my eyes. :P (Not that I care, to be honest..) If you really want to improve the series, take more time to make it, and have it last longer than 8 hours with no replay value.

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JBjazzbo

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they should wait a couple of years before they make another one... they should wait until everyone really wants a good adventure game and BAM! Release Tomb Raider: Missed me? or something like that.

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Galenti

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If they make Lara's boobs any smaller I'm ditching the series

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King_Jeremy_77

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I thought the game was fine.

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raahsnavj

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Has LC changed at all over the years? Hot gymnist turned treasure hunter runs around in skimpy clothes with two hand guns... Is that not EVERY TR game? I think people are just sick of the same thing that's all...

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Noutyboi

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No. Don't go change Tomb Raider even more to make it for everyone. It's an adventure/platformer game and as such should be aimed at the adventure crowd. Sure, the crowd isn't gonna be 10 million ppl but if they continue like this, every game is gonna be exactly the same. If the next game is going to be a generic 3rd person shooter with a lame coversystem and stupid acrobatic combat, and no puzzles or anything, I'ma ditch another great game series. Guess it's faith tho, since almost every single great game series of the past has been since ruined by the publishers in order to make them appeal to everyone and get more sales. Is this where the whole business is going? I hate to say that, yes, it is. At least with all the major publishers around. I probably won't be buying any games from these big guys for a few years ;( Luckily tho, there's still smaller developers and publishers that follow their own dreams and push the games forward and still make fun and enjoyable games for us.

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WalterPeck

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Who cares about Tomb Raider, I want Timesplitters 4!

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