Few companies have so fully embodied the shift in global games development from the West to the East as Square Enix.
Once famed for its Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest RPG series, in recent years the company has put more effort into Westernised titles such as Deus Ex, Tomb Raider and Hitman.
But it looks like that might be all about to change thanks to the surprise success of 3DS RPG Bravely Default.
“In the past, when we developed console games with a worldwide premise, we lost our focus, and not only did they end up being games that weren’t for the Japanese, but they ended up being incomplete titles that weren’t even fit for a global audience,” Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda told Nikkei, as translated by Siliconera.
“On the other hand, there are games like the JRPG we made for the Japanese audience with the proper elements, Bravely Default, which ended up selling well all around the world.
“If you focus too much on the global aspect, you might lose sight of who you’re actually making the game for. If you look back at 2013, we’ve had some home console games made for a global audience that struggled.
“The development team for Hitman: Absolution really struggled in this regard. They implemented a vast amount of ‘elements for the mass’ instead of for the core fans, as a way to try getting as many new players possible. It was a strategy to gain mass appeal. However, what makes the Hitman series good is its appeal to core gamers, and many fans felt the lack of focus in that regard, which ended up making it struggle in sales.
“So, as for the triple-A 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.”