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Square Enix Games Will Now Focus on Core Gamers

To gamers who remember Square and Enix as separate entities, the Square Enix merger resulted in a company that lost sight of its roots. The Final Fantasy games of recent years haven't lived up to the series' name. Of all things, Square Enix's acquisition of Eidos may have been its best business move in years. 

In an interview, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda explained that the company would be shifting its focus back towards core gamers, and away from a wider audience. "Not just limited to games for smartphone or console, but we do have some global titles lined up," Matsuda stated. "However, regardless of whether they're for smartphone or console, there's a difficult element to developing global titles, so we'll be making them without focusing too much on the 'global' aspect." 

Matsuda fessed up to the company's mistake in developing for a general audience. "For example, in the past, when we developed console games with a worldwide premise, we lost our focus, and not only did they end up being games that weren't for the Japanese, but they ended up being incomplete titles that weren't even fit for a global audience." The president pointed to Hitman Absolution as an example of the company's loss of focus on the core audience. "The development team for Hitman: Absolution really struggled in this regard. They implemented a vast amount of 'elements for the mass' instead of for the core fans, as a way to try getting as many new players possible. It was a strategy to gain mass appeal. However, what makes the Hitman series good is its appeal to core gamers, and many fans felt the lack of focus in that regard, which ended up making it struggle in sales." For reference, Hitman Absolution sold 3.6 million units (as of March 2013.) Though the figures aren't staggeringly bad, Square Enix clearly expected the game to perform better, due to the popularity of its predecessor Hitman: Blood Money. 

No doubt the president's comments are a result of a combination of factors: Hitman Absolution's missed sales targets and Bravely Default's strong sales (the game moved 200K units in its first three weeks).

What does this mean for Square Enix's future? "So, as for the AAA titles we're currently developing for series, we basically want to go back to their roots and focus on the core audience, while working hard on content that can have fans say things like 'this is the Hitman, we know.' I believe that is the best way for our development studios to display their strengths," stated Matsuda.  

  • bebangs
    most especially Final Fantasy series. This isnt the Final Fantasy we know.
    Reply
  • Free2play_noobs
    Who cares about their crappy Kingdom of Hearts & Final Fantasy.Eidos is the real boss & their IPs .& I just want to see them separate from Square.because Square is destroying them by Square's delusional unrealistic goal Thief,Project IGI,Deus Ex what a memory .Those ,Just Cause,Tomb Raider ,Sleeping Dogs are the franchise that i want to see in continuation.
    Reply
  • jossrik
    I'm hoping that this comes through in the next FF title, and I'd like to see the next Kingdom Hearts come out good, from what I'm seeing, it's not looking great.
    Reply
  • 10hellfire01
    It's good they're coming out individually and acknowledging their mistakes; I admire that. It's better than the pure ignorance and arrogance thus far. Nadella has been doing the same with Microsoft, so it's been a good run this week in my opinion.They have been more hit & miss--more of the latter however. Sleeping Dogs was very good and so was Deus Ex: HR. The rest though I couldn't care for at all (I've been meaning to try out Tomb Raider though since a sale ages ago). Hitman: Absolution was sort of the game that had me lose any faith in them at all; I wouldn't have ever bought it but a friend decided to buy it for me.
    Reply
  • mamasan2000
    I feel the whole 'focusing on an audience' is where gamecompanies make a wrong turn.Either the game is engaging and fun or it isn't. Regardless of audience.Focusing on an audience limits what you can do with a game and hence, limits the fun, the crazy but brilliant ideas etc.
    Reply
  • palladin9479
    They need to focus on making fun engrossing JRPG's instead of these pseudo sci-fi games that the FF franchise has turned into. The jobs system is the core of FF, it's the whole reason the original Final Fantasy was so popular and saved their company. People still love that style of gaming, Bravely Default is an old school FF game in all but name and it's stupendously popular. Story lines with real character development and an easily identifiable "bad guy" are what made their older games so popular and fun. That and large amounts of stat whoring.
    Reply
  • leeb2013
    Focus on the core audience, but he didn't mention who that is! Console, mobile or PC?
    Reply
  • ohyouknow
    They need to focus on making fun engrossing JRPG's instead of these pseudo sci-fi games that the FF franchise has turned into. The jobs system is the core of FF, it's the whole reason the original Final Fantasy was so popular and saved their company. People still love that style of gaming, Bravely Default is an old school FF game in all but name and it's stupendously popular. Story lines with real character development and an easily identifiable "bad guy" are what made their older games so popular and fun. That and large amounts of stat whoring.
    Truth.
    Reply
  • palladin9479
    13025294 said:
    Focus on the core audience, but he didn't mention who that is! Console, mobile or PC?

    Those are platforms not audiences. I happen to have all three.

    What they are talking about is to stop trying to make generic games with features that appeal to multiple markets and instead focus each franchise on the game-play style it is best suited for. For Final Fantasy it means a return to hard core turn based or ATB JRPG mechanics where you have a central group of characters that embark on a quest to default "the big bad" and save the world. For SoM it means a return to action RPG mechanics mechanics that involve co-op battles. For games like TR it would be a 3D action platform with small elements of puzzles as you advance through some dangerous dungeon or another. Kingdom Hearts would be a JRPG with a lighter tone and gentler theme, more casual and less mechanics focused then the FF series.

    SE has been making the horrible mistake of thinking western gamers have radically different tastes then Japanese gamers and trying to make products for what they think are "western tastes", it's been failing miserably. SE isn't a western game developer, they need to stick to what they do best and just open sales up outside of Japan as gamers across the world will buy their products specifically for that flavor.
    Reply
  • Achoo22
    If they're holding up the newest Hitman as an example of their biggest failures, then it is very clear that they have no clue how to succeed.
    Reply