So Wada is out and Square Enix plans to spend around $100 million for the sake of necessary restructuring. Well…yay?

So obviously, big changes are afoot at one of the industry's largest publishers. But what do you think will change? Do you see any significant shifts or alterations in the company's approach to the gaming business? Do you believe Wada has been partly or even mostly to blame for the downward trajectory of the company this past generation?

It'll be interesting to see what happens. On the one hand, it's clear that most all Japanese game makers and producers are obsessed with creating games that are appealing on a global scale. And rightly so. They've been falling behind for years and if they wish to remain viable, they really do have to accept that video games have indeed become a worldwide phenomenon. So it's perfectly understandable that they'd wish to adopt Western traits because after all, many of the most popular games in the world are made by Western designers. It's quite rational.

However, some of Square Enix's decisions have been anything but rational, as many Final Fantasy fans will tell you. It's odd: Games with Square Enix's name on the box actually have been pretty darn good; Tomb Raider , Sleeping Dogs , Hitman: Absolution , Deus Ex: Human Revolution , etc. It's only when they make their own games – ala Final Fantasy – where everyone starts to get confused. So the question is, will this management restructuring allow Square Enix to finally find their groove again? The upcoming Lightning Returns is just one giant cry for help, as far as I'm concerned; it's like a desperate scream- "We have no idea what we're doing, we have no idea what the fans really want, and all we know is that we have to get Westerners to buy it." It's just so sad.

But maybe things will just keep getting worse. Unfortunately, if they didn't get it before, why should they start to get it now, just because we've got new executives in charge?

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WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

While I hope this interlude provides an opportunity for them to look at the past and see what worked then, I get the impression that there is a fundamental flaw in the company's attitude toward the current gaming world that goes beyond Wada's general incompetence which propels their particular form of senseless game development further and further into obscure and unsettling territory.

Everyone knows how they can become successful again except for them. So if this restructuring doesn't include – oh maybe reading a few internet boards – I can foresee them breaking down like THQ and Final Fantasy being sold (hopefully to someone who knows what to do with it).

city96
city96
7 years ago

I can't understand this gen, they all buy CoD. Complain about lack of quality, annualisation. Yet, when Square push out those three games; Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs and Hitman, not many go for them.

Those three games are amazing and I have had the honour of playing them all a considerable amount.

I really like Square, they have been pretty good. Just Cause 2 was a great title too, they have been doing well this gen.

Not good enough sales wise but they need a subtantial franchise to just pick up sales like Ubi have AC and EA have all of their cash cows.

ProfPlayStation
ProfPlayStation
7 years ago

I think what a lot of former Square fans will tell you is that these games ARE the problem. Not one of them is a Square or Enix game; they're from Eidos, and an Activision cast off. At some point SE decided that they wanted to be a mega-publisher, stopped making their own games, and bought a bunch of companies to do the work for them, instead. They lost all of their momentum and fan enthusiasm by doing so.

It's sad to say, but simply offering a one-shot great game doesn't usually get the job done. Ico was a sales flop. Uncharted 1 nearly bankrupted Naughty Dog. Heavenly Sword sold just barely enough copies. What Team Ico and Naughty Dog did was to continue to build on their reputation and quality work, which reaped long-term rewards. Ninja Theory went the other route, in trying one-shots again and again, and they've been floundering, primarily because they lack momentum. Ninja Theory does good work, but they do it in a halting and jerky manner that's hard to focus upon.

So far this gen, SquareEnix has been trying the Ninja Theory approach, quickly abandoning anything that doesn't immediately work. You can't bring long dormant second-tier series' back from the dead and expect a sales explosion, any more than you can expect an unknown property to fly off the shelves just because it's there.

Whatever problems Call of Duty has, Activision has been actively working on the formula for 10 years, now. You can't replicate that effort with gumption alone. SE stopped doing what they were good at, and they haven't been able to find a new direction ever since then.

Even now, fans are still clamoring for a return to Kingdom Hearts, classic Final Fantasy, and all the other classic SE games. That momentum and quality reputation is still there (though FF has been pretty damaged), yet the SE management have convinced themselves that it doesn't exist and won't work because…Call of Duty? I do dearly hope a leadership change can right things.


Last edited by ProfPlayStation on 3/30/2013 6:06:21 AM

Underdog15
Underdog15
7 years ago

Prof, I like your observations about momentum. I think you're right. Initial IP's rarely succeed on a financial level, but sequels seem to do it. People often complain about sequels, but now that you mention it, I see it too… It's sequels of AAA games that are the most successful.

Thumbs up for you!

shadowscorpio
shadowscorpio
7 years ago

So very well said ProfPlay. Square built a reputation that existed b4 Activision's. Then they just abandon it.

Let Activision do what they know how to do and Square should go back to doing what gave them a name and rep to begin with . You don't see Activision trying to dish out jrpgs do you???

bebestorm
bebestorm
7 years ago

Im hoping SE finally do a VII remake! Toriyama shouldn't be director for main Final Fantasy games & Kitase should go back to directing. Maybe they should collaborate with Sakaguchi. One good thing they've done is no more mobile/browser games. It's time for them to return to their roots. A lot of their ds/PSP should of been on PS3. Im hoping they get their act together.

Corvo
Corvo
7 years ago

If SE does fall like World said above (awesome Squall avatar by the way), Sony better buy FF. I don't care what they have to do they just need to own that. Sony isn't dumb and i know they would make Final Fantasies that would sell and would not only be a Final Fantasy game, but would also be new and innovative. I bet they would start on FF7 remake. Make that a ps4 exclusive or a vita/ps4 exclusive and thats almost guaranteed 2million sold. Just on my own speculation.

I do not want SE to fall off because i grew up with them, but its like a friend losing their mind and doing stuff based on what the IN thing is. I just hope this somehow makes them reflect on this entire wasted generation and somehow makes them realize how dumb they've been. Ni No Kuni has proven world maps are more than possible in todays tech and obviously SE would make it look realistic. Anyway…Back to Infinite

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
7 years ago

I just get this bad feeling that the new CEO will want to cater to the west as well though in a different way than Wada did.

ryu
ryu
7 years ago

leadership shuffle in SE was long overdue since FF11

FF7 remake ain't gonna save the business, nor picking up new studios either

it's time they invent some new genre again, instead of milk rpg like they were the king at it, that's 30 years ago

Underdog15
Underdog15
7 years ago

XI was and is a major cash cow and XII sold well and was fantastic.

dmiitrie
dmiitrie
7 years ago

I really don't think SE can fix themselves. Wada may have been a big problem, but he wasn't the only person in favour of their new, action-oriented direction. And unless there have been more firings that I haven't heard about, I don't see how things will change that much. For example, true turn-based combat is more than likely dead as fried chicken and, perhaps I'm just bitter, but that's just about the only thing I can think of that will make me go back.

___________
___________
7 years ago

eidos.
ironic the part of them that is "under performing" really is the only part that is actually successful!
all of eidos games have been received really well both critically and commercially!
$E should be thanking their lucky stars they bought eidos, otherwise they would be in some deep trouble by now!
and to be honest, as much as i want to see it, i really cant see the true $E titles being too successful.
sigh, f*ck FF, f*ck kingdom hearts, $E just give us a sequel to neir and will call it even!
deal?

ricksterj
ricksterj
7 years ago

Square Enix success? That ship has sailed.