Looking at Square Enix’s recent focus on mobile games, many worried about seeing even the publisher’s biggest franchises shift away from home consoles, but the new President Yosuke Masuda had reassuring words for us all today as part of an interview on Famitsu:
Our development in the country will never be devoted fully to smart devices. Flagship titles will continue to revolve around high end consoles like PS4 and Xbox One.
Our Japanese studios are working on Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, while we’re planning a sequel of Tomb Raider at our overseas studios. I think the DNA of Square Enix is in those story-driven single player games. On the other hand games sandbox games (games in which you can enjoy a vast open world), will continue to with the same style but featuring online gameplay.
Matsuda also mentioned that while he’ll keep those mainline titles on consoles, he wants to challenge new business models:
However, even in story-driven works I want to challenge new business models instead of just selling the package. I feel that the business of selling the boxes separately has become restrictive, and this kind of ingenuity and innovation has become necessary.
Finally, he commented about the PS4 and the Xbox One:
Both consoles are interesting, and they’re focusing a lot on the network. There has been an emphasis on free to play and developers that have become popular with free to play games on PC seem to be coming on board.
In other words it’s becoming possible to play on home consoles games that before you could only play on Steam. I believe that this can expand the userbase, and this will create new business opportunities even for us.
While I have to say that it’s a bit worrisome to hear Matsuda talk so much about free to play, and I hope that packaged games will remain part of the picture even on the long run (at least as an option), I can’t say I’m not happy to hear his commitment to home consoles. A world in which Square Enix releases game only on smartphones is a world I don’t want to live in.