In the case of Tomb Raider
, it is my understanding that what happened was that Eidos, which was a new publisher at the time, was starving for a sequel. They had signed the development team (I don't remember what/if their name was) to a deal wherein TR
was Eidos' Intellectual Property (this is somewhat common practice I think). When the development team didn't want to "belt out" another game right away, opting instead to work on another game and make some improvements/changes to the TR
engine/idea before a second game, Eidos canned them and brought in another designer. In fact, they have done this (changing the development team) for each of the TR
titles, which is why we had five games in five years, none of which made much effort to innovate the game, genre or engine.
Now, if Eidos owns the IP rights to the Deus Ex
"franchise" it might be entirely possible that Spector could get the boot. However, since:
1. Eidos learned some hard lessons from the Tomb Raider
fiasco (marginally better games breed lower sales and a bad PR image).
2. Spector delivered Deus Ex
to high sales and high critical praise in a timely fashion, and
3. Ion Storm-Austin hasn't been as problematic,
it stands to reason that they won't do anything bad to the Deus Ex
As for Thief
, I dunno. And I wonder who owns/controls Anachronox
at this point.