A new adaptation of the iconic Tomb Raider franchise has been announced by Amazon Prime, with acclaimed actress and screenwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge attached as screenwriter and executive producer, alongside Amanda Greenblatt and Ryan Andolina.
However, the connection may run even deeper, with multiple channels reporting that the global giant has purchased the rights to the franchise from Embracer Group outright. If true, this would make the Tomb Raider series the second largest acquisition in Amazon history, following the television rights for Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. However, as GamesRadar notes that it’s currently unclear whether this deal encompasses other forms of media outside of the series and the upcoming game.
The Tomb Raider franchise follows globe-trotting archaeologist Lara Croft as she hunts for artefacts and becomes embroiled in ancient conspiracies, travelling to some of the world’s most exotic locales as well as legendary or fictional locations such as Avalon and Atlantis.
The series has become a multi-platform hit, with mobile games, console titles, and three live-action films. Although the last main-series game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, was released in 2018, Amazon announced in December that it would publish an upcoming multiplatform reboot by Crystal Dynamics.
The elephant in the room
Of course, it would be remiss not to mention HBO’s The Last of Us when discussing adaptations. Based on the Naughty Dog franchise, the series has seen critical acclaim and dominated online discussion since its premiere, with many hailing it as having broken the so-called “video game curse” (although it should be noted that several successful adaptations, such as Detective Pikachu, have also been made prior to this.)
Many television and film producers are recognising the potential of video game adaptations not just as a money-making opportunity but as a storytelling medium in its own right, and one that’s rife for exploration. As one of the most instantly-recognisable franchises in video game history, Tomb Raider may well have been seen as a prime candidate for future development.
Paying up front to own it outright clears the board for as many shows, movies and game spin-offs as Amazon can devise with a console and PC title already in the works at Amazon and rumours of a fresh mobile take in the air.
It’s possible that Amazon is hoping it can bring the franchise to multiple screens in ways that will engage fans like never before.
We listed Embracer Group as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.