Square Enix President and CEO Yosuke Matsuda is looking at the future, and today he gave some interesting information in an interview on the Japanese website Nikkei Trendy.
Matsuda-san talked about upcoming titles for this year like Final Fantasy Agito and Seiken Densetsu: Rise of MANA, defining them a good start for 2014. He also mentioned the good progress of the beta of Nosgoth and confirmed that a new Tomb Raider is in the works.
As for domestic development, he said that there’s remarkable confidence in Final Fantasy XV and and Kingdom Hearts 3. And while he can’t talk details at the moment, he thinks SE will be able to share more in the future, like at E3.
Matsuda-san continued with a very interesting statement about the global appeal of JRPGs:
He mentioned that in the past console games developed trying to grab a global audience ended up losing their focus and not only ended up not having appeal towards a Japanese public, but they missed their worldwide target as well.
On the other hand, there are games like Bravely Default with solid JRPG elements made for the Japanese market that sold well worldwide. Since the development was focused too much on regional differences Square Enix didn’t realize until recently that Japanese RPG fans are spread all over the world. When the latest information is released in Japan, fans everywhere in the world can receive it instantly (you’re welcome, Matsuda-san). No matter if you’re in North America, Europe or South America, there’s no information gap.
According to Matsuda-san, if all those customers are summed up, they are a good number, and it looks less like a niche market. He believes that for games developed in the future, having powerful and rich stories that are very JRPG-like can create good results if they’re focused properly on the right target.
Matsuda-san also admitted that Square Enix may have been too focused on globalizing its target, losing focus on who they were making games for. He brought Hitman Absolution as an example for 2013. The game was created with the idea of having a wider appeal and gain popularity with new users, however the best part of the Hitman games is that they are solid hardcore games, and many fans were frustrated when focus on that was lost, causing Absolution to struggle with Sales.
The new AAA Hitman curently in development will be the result of learning that lesson, starting by targeting core fans again. Matsuda-san thinks that by following that direction the Development studio will be able to recreate the quality of the original games.
It’s definitely interesting to see that Square Enix is realizing that JRPGs can have a broader appeal than just the Japanese market, and even more exciting to hear that more will come. The recognition that going for an audience wider than cpre fans isn’t always the best path is definitely the cherry on top of a delicious cake.
Bring them on, Matsuda-san. My body is always ready for more.
[Thanks for the tip: Eternal]