Microsoft already off to a good start for the holiday season with the release of Forza Motorsport 6 and the forthcoming Halo 5: Guardians for Xbox One, but it’s also got another ace up its sleeve with the exclusive sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider set to arrive next month.
In anticipation for the return of Lara Croft, Microsoft is working alongside the developers at Crystal Dynamics to set up a pair of Instagram accounts that highlight her backstory, which will tie in with the forthcoming sequel.
Accounts include the Tomb Raider Journal, which shows doodlings from Croft in a special book, chronicles her many adventures. The page is currently set to private, but anyone who requests a follow should be able to access the account on Instagram and see the extraordinary amount of detail that has gone into these journal entries.
The second is Tomb Raider Research, which is a peek at Lara Croft’s virtual bulletin board. It features a number of items from her previous years, including a graduation picture, drawings from previous expeditions, a mysterious family photo and a number of newspaper and book clippings. Each one looks to also tie in with what’s happening in the world of Rise of the Tomb Raider, even if the general focus remains on adventure.
Lara’s previous “reboot” adventure, simply called Tomb Raider, released in 2013, introduced a tale of a younger Croft, experiencing her first adventure after crash-landing on an island filled with dangerous creatures and hunters alike. Throughout the game, players learned new skills with her, eventually making her into the rough-and-ready treasure hunter she’s grown up to become.
The game was a big success with both critics and audiences, selling millions of copies. That prompted Microsoft to sign a deal with Square Enix, giving it a one-year exclusivity window with the Xbox One, which was announced earlier this year.
It looks like these Instagram promotions may be the start of an bigger Rise of the Tomb Raider marketing campaign. Following the release of Halo 5, expect big TV and advertising exposure, and a big push for the special Xbox One bundle that will release this holiday season, which packs both the previous game and Rise of the Tomb Raider in with the Xbox One gaming system for $399.
Kassi Horn, associate director of social media, for Ayzenberg, spoke about this new promotion.
How did the idea for the Instagram Tomb Raider Experience come about?
It was a very collaborative process between Microsoft global teams and agency partners to identify the best way to extend the Rise of the Tomb Raider narrative in social. Looking at audience research, broad appeal of the Tomb Raider franchise, and desire to execute on a global level, we landed on Instagram as the right place to bring this next chapter of Lara Croft’s story to life.
Why was Instagram an important platform to promote Rise of the Tomb Raider?
There are a number of reasons we selected Instagram to tell this story:
- It s proven to be one of our most engaged channels for Xbox so we know there is a robust community of gamers with an appetite for visually immersive content.
- Instagram is all about discovery. And so is Rise of the Tomb Raider. Creating this experience is largely about giving fans a new ways to discover Lara Croft as she ‘Discovers the Legend Within.
- It s also an important channel for our global counterparts, allowing us to share this narrative on a much bigger scale and work with Crystal Dynamics to engage Tomb Raider enthusiasts around the world.
We re seeing more of an attitude shift towards Instagram as a robust storytelling platform. How did you work to incorporate the story of Rise of the Tomb Raider into this execution?
Drawing on inspiration from other successful executions, for example Rick and Morty s Rickstaverse and Old Spice s Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story, we really took a step back and thought about what makes Lara who she is the harsh environments, the answers she seeks and the courage that keeps her going and how we could use Instagram functionality to connect the dots. We wanted to give fans a glimpse of the stunning gameplay visuals and what they can expect from Rise of the Tomb Raider, at the same time driving them to dig deeper into Lara s transformation and the journey she s about to embark on. It was also important that we create a truly integrated campaign that would align to the digital experience http://discover-the-legend.xbox.com and its Sky/Earth/Fire elements. For those who want more, we hid a Private channel within the experience, giving fans a reason to check back as new entries are added to Lara s Journal: https://instagram.com/tombraider_journal.
In what ways is this experience being promoted?
Promotion from Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics, paid social activation, amplification from Microsoft regional teams. We are also working with Microsoft PR to identify additional opportunities. This is one piece of a much larger machine, with more exciting news to come in the lead-up to launch!
Those anticipating Lara’s return and who isn’t, really won’t have to wait long, as Rise of the Tomb Raider debuts on November 10th.