It would seem to safe to assume that there's always a Tomb Raider game at some stage of development, but Crystal Dynamics just confirmed it. At the tail end of today's 'State of Unreal Engine' stream, they said that they've "just" started work - and in Unreal Engine 5, obviously.
"We have just started development on our next Tomb Raider game, powered by Unreal Engine 5," said Dalas Dickerson, Tomb Raider's franchise manager at Crystal Dynamics. "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."
That's a lot of marketing speak, but there's no more detail about the game than that. The "just" suggests, well, that they've just started work, which presumably means it's a long way off.
Big games leaping from in-house engines to Unreal Engine 5 is becoming a trend. The previous trilogy of Tomb Raider games were made within Foundation, an in-house engine, and a couple of weeks ago it was announced that the next game in The Witcher series would likewise jump from an in-house engine to Unreal Engine 5.
You can't assume anything about a game by the engine it's made in, but one of the clearest advantages of using popular middleware is that it makes recruitment easier. Lots of people working at other studios, or leaving school, already know how to use the Unreal Engine. They don't know how to use the engine you made yourself.
Here's hoping the next Tomb Raider game is about more than pushing forward and being occasionally gored. While we wait to find out, you can watch the entirety of the State Of Unreal Engine 5 stream below. The engine is out now, and it's got graphics in it.
As a presenter, Tim Sweeney's not exactly John Noakes, is he?