Square Enix Wants Their AAA Titles to “Focus on the Core Audience”
When Bravely Default launched for the 3DS in North America earlier this year, it moved an impressive 200,000 copies in just the first few weeks, with the game also being well received in Europe. This came as a surprise to Square Enix, with the Bravely Default Twitter account actually believing that “overseas expansion was impossible” for the game.
Recently, Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda was interviewed by Nikkei Trendy (via Siliconera), where he talked up how they have “some global titles lined up” for both phones and consoles. However, there is a “difficult element to developing global titles, so we’ll be making them without focusing too much on the ‘global’ aspect.”
After discussing how developing games with a worldwide premise resulted in Square Enix losing their focus, the games not being fit for a global audience, and ultimately resulting in low sales, Matsuda said:
Due to having split [the development mindset] according to regions around the world, we weren’t able to see this clearly up until now, but fans of JRPGs are really spread around the world. Through the means of various networks, the latest information that is announced in Japan is instantaneously being spread across fans throughout the world. Whether it’s North America, Europe, or South America. There really isn’t much of a gap [in the relay of information].
With that in mind, and all of the collective fans, there’s a sense of mass, which loses the image of a niche market. For the new games we’ll be developing from this point on, while this may sound a bit extreme, we’ve been talking about making them as heavy JRPGs. I believe that way, we can better focus on our target, which will also bring better results.
Bringing up Hitman: Absolution as an example, Matsuda believes the game’s elements brought in for mass appeal led to it struggling in sales, when instead they should have been focusing on the core fans. Due to this, Matsuda said that their strategy for games in development right now would be to “go back to their roots”:
So, as for the AAA titles we’re currently developing for series, we basically want to go back to their roots and focus on the core audience, while working hard on content that can have fans say things like ‘this is the Hitman we know’. I believe that is the best way for our development studios to display their strengths.
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