With Square Enix’s recent announcement that Hitman would be taking an episodic release route, and Final Fantasy VII Remake will be sold in multiple parts, Jim Sterling brought up a report from 2013 where he revealed that “one particular publisher” was having conversations about selling games in pieces.
Now, with the report coming true, Sterling caught up with the original sources for his latest episode of The Jimquisition, revealing why Square Enix has made this move:
I’ve been told the game [Hitman] was going to be an online-only experience at first. See, at the very end of the last generation, Square Enix, and apparently other major publishers, had no faith in consoles. We were wrapping up a very long generation, audiences were stagnating, and companies were worried.
My sources tell me that publishers were convinced, prior to the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One, that consoles were done. Free-to-play games, mobile games and… the PC were considered the future. Nobody wanted to invest in new intellectual property, and Square Enix especially wanted to make its old IP online-only experiences, expecting micro-transactions and piecemeal episodic content to be the only way to go.
Sterling then touched on the amount of remasters and re-releases early on in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s lifecycle, saying, “This is the result of the publishers having no faith in consoles because sales were down towards the end of the last generation.” While community managers tried to tell higher-ups that people were tired of the lengthy console cycle, they were apparently ignored.
According to his sources, Just Cause 3 was originally planned to be an online-only multiplayer experience for PC with no campaign. Mentioned above, this was the plan for all of Square Enix’s games due to their lack of faith in single-player experiences and $60 games.
As for the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Sterling says it “was going to be a bigger game than it will be, and it has instead been altered to be a Mass Effect-style trilogy.” However, he adds that this particular piece of information is a bit outdated.
Because of the panic experienced before the PS4/Xbox One launch, Square Enix “allegedly cancelled several games we don’t know about… and constantly meddled with games like Deus Ex, Just Cause 3, and Hitman.” Thanks to the success of games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Fallout 4 though, publishers are more confident investing in new IP and “the faith’s come back.”
You can watch the full Jimquisition by following the link below.