Square Enix Sets Up Shop in L.A.
Square Enix has decided to take an entirely new approach in its quest for appealing to Western gamers, specifically by creating a game development studio in Los Angeles, California. The traditionally Japan-focused developer is proud of the new business venture, and Development Manager Fumi Shiraishi was able to explain the overall goal of his studio.
“Square Enix isn’t necessarily shifting, it’s more of a growth. The stuff [games created by Square Enix in Japan] does what it is supposed to do…but the Japanese market isn’t growing. It’s a different approach entirely. We’re not deliberately focusing on the North American audience. We’re just trying to make a good game.”
Though Square Enix recently tried to appeal to a Western audience with the debut of The Last Remnant, the title was made by Japanese developers. The advantage that they see with setting up shop in L.A. is that the new team will be composed entirely of Western developers. Rather than trying to emulate the style of a ‘Western game’, Square Enix feels that it can tap those differences at the source.
But there are several hurdles that they need to overcome. The studio is actively looking for staff members, and the success of titles developed by this studio are, as of now, uncertain. Even the genre of their debut title hasn’t been decided yet, and Shiraishi admitted that Square Enix has behind in terms of multi-platform development. Shiraishi will be attending GDC ’09 later this month as part of Square Enix’s campaign to hire fresh talent for the fledgling studio.