Square Enix CEO Comments on Current State of Western Titles; Considers Tomb Raider and Deus Ex “Very Important” IP

Square Enix CEO Comments on Current State of Western Titles; Considers Tomb Raider and Deus Ex “Very Important” IP

Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda provided a look at the current state of Square Enix's Western titles that touched on Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and more.

Within the past few decades, publisher Square Enix has spent significant resources into developing its branch of titles coming from Western developers such as Tomb RaiderDeus ExLife is Strange, and more. While the recent buyout of Hitman developer IO Interactive (leading to the company’s independence from Square Enix) has had some concerned over the success of Square Enix’s Western titles, Square’s CEO provided a more in-depth look at where the company’s major Western IP and franchises are at now, and where they might be headed in the future.

Speaking in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda provided more concrete details about the state of Square Enix’s Western divisions, with Matsuda touching on a few of the company’s more high profile IP in particular, as he stated that “there are actually lots of misunderstandings” as far as the financial and business-end success of the company’s Western titles.

The first of these was Tomb Raider, as Matsuda explained that “Tomb Raider is a very important title and very important piece of IP for us, and nothing has changed about that.” This is of course in reference to the most recent “core” installments of the franchise — 2013’s Tomb Raider and 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider — which have faired extremely well critically, but fell a bit short of Square Enix’s lofty sales goals for the titles when they first debuted.

However, Matsuda explained in reference to the series’ sales success that “the fiscal year prior to the one where I became president [in 2013] was one where overall our earning numbers were not very good,” which preceded Tomb Raider‘s release in March 2013, where Matsuda said that company had “very high expectations” as far as sales. However, Matsuda admitted that “looking back on that now, I think the target we set our ourselves was extremely high,” as the title “didn’t quite sell as much as we had anticipated.”

Ultimately, Matsuda explained that the rebooted Tomb Raider series altogether has sold over 18 million copies, with Tomb Raider totaling over 11 million units worldwide while its sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, has reached over seven million units sold worldwide since release.

Aside from Tomb Raider, Matsuda also touched upon the Deus Ex franchise, with the series’ most recent release being last year’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Matsuda also echoed that Deus Ex is “a very important franchise” for Square Enix, and addressed directly that “we have never said anything about discontinuing” the series, following rumors from earlier this year that suggested the franchise might be cooling down after suspicion that Mankind Divided underperformed.

Ultimately, Matsuda explained that “the issue is we do not have limitless resources” when it comes to taking on new projects, and said that “the fact of the matter is some titles have to wait their turn.” For now, it appears that seems to be the case with Deus Ex as far as a new title, and that the reason there isn’t a new title in the franchise right now is “just a product of our development line-up because there are other titles we are working on.”

Despite the company’s lack of official announcements regarding Deus Ex and setting a course for where the series is going, Matsuda did state that the company is “internally discussing and exploring” what may come for the series’ next installment.

Of course, one of the biggest contributors to Square Enix’s increased workload at the moment is the upcoming The Avengers project that Square Enix announced in collaboration with Marvel earlier this year, which sees Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics joining forces to develop the title and (likely) utilizing a significant amount of resources from both studios.