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Tomb Raider studio will continue Perfect Dark work despite being sold by Square Enix

Taking the Initiative.

Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics will continue to assist with the development of Microsoft's big budget Perfect Dark reboot, despite the company being sold by publisher Square Enix.

Microsoft's main Perfect Dark studio, The Initiative, confirmed yesterday that its co-development agreement remained in place with Crystal - despite the latter changing hands.

On Monday, Square Enix announced it was selling off its western development studios - including Crystal Dynamics, Guardians of the Galaxy studio Eidos Montreal, as well as Square Enix Montreal - and IPs including Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief and Legacy of Kain for just $300m.

Cover image for YouTube videoPerfect Dark - Official Announce Trailer - The Game Awards 2020

The Initiative, Microsoft's Santa Monica-based team set up to work on the project, has close ties with Crystal. The studio was founded by former Crystal boss Darrel Gallagher, and also counts Tomb Raider reboot director Daniel Neuburger among its ranks.

Ahead of the sale, Crystal Dynamics had confirmed it was also now working on a fresh Tomb Raider game made in Unreal Engine 5 - though details are thin on the ground as to when that would appear.

"This new engine translates to next-level storytelling and gameplay experiences, and that's why we're thrilled to announce today that we've just started development of our next Tomb Raider game, powered by Unreal Engine 5," Crystal Dynamics said last month. "Our goal is to push the envelope of fidelity and to deliver the high-quality cinematic action-adventure experience that fans deserve from both Crystal Dynamics and the Tomb Raider franchise. We can't wait to take this journey together."

In a note to press regarding its soon-to-be-acquired studios, Embracer said it saw "an opportunity to invest" in franchises such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex - potentially pointing to a new title in the latter series as well.

In the meantime, Crystal Dynamics is still supporting Marvel's Avengers (the next character is Jane Foster, well-timed with the new Thor movie).