Posted Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 02:05 PM PDT by Brian Hoss
Former focus on "global audience" problematic.
Square Enix continues to grapple with its position as a worldwide publisher. In spite of owning a massive back catalogue of hits and studios across continents, the publisher issued notice last year that several titles, including 'Tomb Raider,' 'Sleeping Dogs,' and 'Hitman: Absolution,' failed to come close to their sales targets. Since that time, 'Tomb Raider, has been rereleased while games like 'Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII,' 'Thief,' and 'Bravely Default' have all produced interesting sales results.
In particular, 'Bravely Default,' a RPG for the 3DS, has Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda thinking. The game sold more than 200,000 in North American after only three weeks. Thus, in an interview with Nikkei Trendy (via Siliconera), Matsuda drew some conclusions from the different paths of 'Bravely Default' and 'Hitman: Absolution.'
"There’s a difficult element to developing global titles, so we’ll be making them without focusing too much on the 'global' aspect."
"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."
"On the other hand, there are games like the JRPG we made for the Japanese audience with the proper elements, Bravely Default, which ended up selling well all around the world."
"Due to having split [the development mindset] according to regions around the world, we weren’t able to see this clearly up until now, but fans of JRPGs are really spread around the world. Through the means of various networks, the latest information that is announced in Japan is instantaneously being spread across fans throughout the world. Whether it’s North America, Europe, or South America. There really isn’t much of a gap [in the relay of information]."
"With that in mind, and all of the collective fans, there’s a sense of mass, which loses the image of a niche market. For the new games we’ll be developing from this point on, while this may sound a bit extreme, we’ve been talking about making them as heavy JRPGs. I believe that way, we can better focus on our target, which will also bring better results."
"If you focus too much on the global aspect, you might lose sight of who you’re actually making the game for. For example, if you look back at 2013, we’ve had some home console games made for a global audience that struggled."
"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."
"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."
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