Square Enix Sequels, Remakes Sell Well

By Spencer . November 7, 2008 . 8:15pm


Why does Square Enix keep revisiting old franchises and selling polished classics? People buy them. This sales chart is a slide from Square Enix’s second quarter financial briefing of fiscal year 2009, a quarter when Square Enix released more new properties than any other quarter since the merger. Four brand new and entirely unattached games to any existing Square Enix series were introduced in Japan: Song Summoner, Nanashi no Game, Sigma Harmonics and Infinite Undiscovery. Sales of Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride for the DS dwarfed all of them tallied together. Sales data for Song Summoner, an iPod game, was not released.


Actually, Infinite Undiscovery sold fairly well worldwide. Tri-Ace’s Xbox 360 game was on par with Final Fantasy Tactics A2 in North America and it just came out in September. However, even critically acclaimed games like the World Ends With You, which came out in North America this April, have a hard time standing up to legacy games like Final Fantasy IV. Since remakes cost less to develop and sell like hotcakes slides like these are a convincing argument for an executive board to stay on the remake train instead of developing new properties. Of course, Square Enix is still trying to make new properties. The Last Remnant comes out in just a few weeks.


Images courtesy of Square Enix.

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  • jeffx

    Do you think there’s any hope for Nanashi no Game in the US at this point?

    I’m surprised at the very low sales number for TWEWY in Europe. Though this may have to do with the game’s limited availability.

  • Keriaku

    I would love to see Nanashi no Game

  • JeremyR

    The thing is though, a game on the 360 takes a whole lot more resources and money to develop than a DS game like FFTA2 (especially given the latter was basically just a GBA game in terms of graphics and engine and such). So while they might have sold the same, I doubt Square considers IU to have sold well.

  • jeffx

    So I’m guessing “Others” includes titles like Space Invaders Extreme and Arkanoid? Legend of Kage 2 maybe? Seems like the USA sold nearly as many of these “others” as Japan did, I’m curious as to what they are.

  • alice

    That is a real shame considering how wonderful World Ends With You was, both from the perspective of it becoming a franchise with sequels, and from the angle of Square Enix trying something brand new instead of rehashing Final Fantasy again.

  • Aoshi00

    Yeah, just like movies sequels are your best bet as they pretty much guarantee good return if not profitable. I’m wondering how fun Nanashi no Game is, it got the atomsphere down.

    Personally Sigma Harmonics bored me to death w/ its far-fetched deduction.. It was nothing like Phoenix Wright and Time Hollow, also the traveling in the mention and collecting evidence was awkward and a pain w/ the stylus, instead of simply clicking on locations.

    I’m still waiting for my copy of Infinite Undiscovery, I hope it would be fun despite general so-so review.

  • Spencer

    @JeremyR – Very valid point, but maybe in Infinite Undiscovery’s case it isn’t as big of a deal since Microsoft paid for the initial development. Originally it was a Microsoft / Tri Ace project before it was given to Square Enix to publish.

    Others probably means Ultimate Hits re-releases previous software, some Taito games are probably thrown in here too.

    My guess for Nanashi no Game is Square Enix will see how Sigma Harmonics does first. We’re still not guaranteed to get Sigma, but it’s been trademarked… twice. Yeah, if you really try to “solve” Sigma Harmonics it gets ridiculous with the coin placement especially at the end. I think some people probably just go frustrated with “solving” and went with leveling up.

  • Pesmerga00

    @Aoshi00, Infinite Undiscovery can be fun if you go into it not expecting much. It’s definitely not up to par with other Tri-Ace games but, there are some interesting concepts implemented. It’s just that there are too many new concepts crammed in without fully exploring any of them. I was really anticipating that game, so it was kind of a let down. My next game purchase will be The Last Remnant, and I hope it has a little more polish than IU.

  • lostinblue

    Nanashi no Game and Sigma Harmonics are my most antecipated Square-Enix games atm, would be neat to have some kind of confirmation

  • Aoshi00

    @Spence – Problem is that I think the murder solving is supposed to be an integral part of the game, like collecting evidence before going to Trial in Phoenix Wright, yet the evidence gathering is so random and deduction so illogical, almost impossible unless one resorts to a FAQ which I dislike doing… I did level up a lot before facing the bosses, so Sigma frustrates me to no end. It’s a pity because it has such a beautiful soundtrack.

    @Pesmerga00 – Yeah, IU looks so good and I highly anticipated it too until I hear about the across the board negative and discouraging reviews. I was actually going to pick it up on day 1 and then realize it’s region locked, and now I just ordered the Jpn version. There’s still Star Ocean 4… Now I’m worried how Last Remnant would turn out, personally the FF12-like visuals does nothing for me, I would wait and see. GoW2 and Persona 4 are keeping me very busy at the moment.

  • jarrod

    They have some lifetime shipments listed too…

    TITLE (Platform) JP/NA/EU/AS/TOTAL

    Crisis Core FFVII PSP) 820k/610k/460k/30k/1920k
    Dragon Quest IV (DS) 1190k/90k/140k/x/1420k
    Final Fantasy IV (DS) 610k/250k/180k/x/1040k
    Dragon Quest Swords (Wii) 500k/110k/100k/x/710k
    Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (DS) 300k/200k/120k/x/620k
    The World Ends With You (DS) 180k/140k/50k/x/370k
    Chocobo Dungeon (Wii) 90k/70k/x/x/140k

  • Shuyin

    The chart isn’t surprising. Remakes and spinoffs based on an existing franchise sell well, thanks in part to the name of the series they’re based off. Put FFVII in any game’s title and it’ll sell (that’s not to say CC is a bad game).

    And no one should be surprised that SE has this business strategy. SE ‘s president is trying to run a business and from a business pov, it’s more profitable to make a remake for the DS (DQ4, FF4) with low-dev costs (that will bring high profits) than make a new IP that’ll need longer dev times and a higher budget.
    If i was the president of the company, after seeing that chart i wouldn’t green light any new IPs; i’d only make remakes, sequels and spinoffs if that’ll bring profits.

    On many message boards i’vee seen many ppl blaming SE for not taking risks anymore (like in the PSX era) with new IPs. While in a way there’s some truth to it, in fact it’s exactly those ppl’s fault. They complain, but they’re part of the problem too. They don’t buy the new IPs, yet they complain that SE doesn’t make anything besides sequels and remakes anymore.
    It’s not SE’s fault..if you were the president, you’d want to make money. And if sequels and remakes bring you money, you can’t be blamed for trying to run your company as you see fit. Instead, blame the ppl.

    The numbers speak for themselves: TWEWY (an original new IP that is also a very good game) sold 7 times less copies than a remake (DQ4). So why make new IPs?
    Using the same engine, they can make other remakes: DQ5, DQ6 (this applies to the FF remakes too). Also they’ll be ready in a relative short time, especially compared to the time needed to make a new IP. Not to talk about the actual budget of a remake and that of a new IP.

    @Aoshi00: A bit OT, but for me Time Hollow is a 6/10 game. For a book, it’s a 10/10 as the story is its main point. However, for a game i just can’t see it labeled as ‘a good game’. I see many ppl thrilled by TH, but personally i think it’s definetly not in the same league as Phoenix Wright and other visual novels.

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