Yoichi Wada On Final Fantasy XIII’s US Launch

By Spencer . March 25, 2010 . 7:17pm

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At the Final Fantasy XIII launch party we had an impromptu chat with Yoichi Wada, CEO and President of Square Enix. The conversation started with the topic of the night, which was of all things Final Fantasy XIII.

 

Final Fantasy XIII will be released in North America tomorrow. How do you feel about the launch?

 

Tonight, everyone welcomed our game with a warm heart. I have a feeling it’s going to be successful in the US market.

 

After this, Final Fantasy XIII will re-launch in Asia with Chinese and Korean subtitles. How did this deal come about?

 

We always wanted to do a Korean and Chinese version. It just happened this installment was the one we were able to do it. It is within our plan to localize other titles with Asian languages. Whether or not we make an Asian version for each game will be a decision that we make at a later time.

 

How did the deal come about to bring Final Fantasy XIII to Xbox 360?

 

The Xbox team has been asking us to have a [Final Fantasy] game developed on our platform. Also, the Xbox 360 console is available in many homes in US and European markets so that was not really a hard decision to make.

 

Speaking of the European market, how come there is a Final Fantasy XIII limited edition package there, but not one for the US?

 

I pretty much leave it to the regional heads’ decision on how products are being sold. I believe the European region had some demand.

 

What is one thing you would like to change in Final Fantasy XIII?

 

I believe this is a well done game, however there are points we could improve on. In order to realize those improvements we would have to incur more development costs. Therefore, I would rather not elaborate on that.

 

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Now, that Final Fantasy XIII is finished, there are a lot of other Square Enix Japan titles such as Blood of Bahamut, SaGa 2, Estpolis, and Four Warriors of Light… are any of these coming to North America?

 

We released some of those titles already, but the sales figures weren’t very good. So, we’re not sure. We will continue to bring other Square Enix titles to the US market, that plan hasn’t been changed and we’re doing it already.

 

Since Square Enix and Eidos are under the same umbrella has the release schedule for those games changed?

 

The only thing we’re going is we’re going to make sure there are no conflicts timing wise. There is nothing major changed in terms of schedule.

 

Everyone on the panel tonight kept discussing Final Fantasy VII. What are your thoughts on a remake, maybe one for PSP one if development costs seem too high on PlayStation 3?

 

Right now we don’t have a clear direction, but many fans have requested we remake Final Fantasy VII. We’re going to explore the possibility – whether or not we’re going to do it, if we’re going to do it, and the platform.


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  • BK0000

    Those idiots better release Four Warriors of Light here in America. That game looks a hundred times more fun and interesting than XIII.

    • vall03

      its the only FF game Ive been waiting… :(

      • gar3

        You and I think alike on this one. Four Warriors of Light is the only Final Fantasy game I’ve been waiting for :-(

    • kylehyde

      Same here.

      Actually, SE only shipped 150,000 copies, and the game sold out in less than 2 weeks

      http://www.siliconera.com/2009/11/12/final-fantasy-gaiden-the-four-warriors-of-light-sells-out-in-japan/

      So if the game fail to see biggest sales, is because they took very bad decision on the number of copies that should be shipped.

      • Tokyo Guy

        Yes 4 Warriors of Light was interesting in that it was really in-demand for the first few weeks (stores even had “Sold Out-Sorry” signs, yet once it restocked it seemed no one bought it. The game has long been forgotten really, though interestingly enough it hasn’t been slashed in price, though the buy-back pay out is quite minimal.

        • kylehyde

          Well I don’t remember well what games came after the release of this title, but many tend to lose steam very quickly. Maybe when they restocked it was too late, maybe when that happened it had to compete with other titles that have the spotlight on that moment. We’ve seen in many occasions that a title gets the #1 in a week and in the next week another game gets that position and in the subsecuent, probably other one will be the #1.

          Also the reshippment process are not very easy, even big companies like nintendo has problem to restock their hardware. All this could be the indicator of two things: Square enix screwed the things and they losed a really nice chance.

          • Tokyo Guy

            Hmm…IIRC there weren’t any big titles the next week. But to be honest with you, the whole “restock” issue is quite subjective to location. I live in Tokyo (as if one couldn’t guess) and given the number of people here, a game released in a limited quantity really will sell out quickly, simply because of the supply/demand issue. On the other hand, in smaller areas with less people, it’s quite common to see many of these “hard to find” things in stock. Many of the private sellers on Amazon Japan, for example, are from the countryside. Their stores don’t sell out of the item and thus they can list them so that people in the major cities will pay through the teeth to get one because they can’t.

            Beyond that however, I think that 4 Warriors of Light was never destined to be a smash hit, it’s just that Square shipped a bit too few copies. Maybe it would have sold 155,000 the first week, but because only 150,000 shipped, it was thus “sold out” and implied there was huge demand.

            I will also say that time is the test of all things. Consider when Dirge of Cerberus released here, it sold like mad. And yet by the next week, it was overstocked everywhere and copies were flooding the used game stores. Why? People realized it was an awful game. But the first week it’s brand new and thus all the hardcore gamers will run out to get it. I’ve no doubt that the people who bought 4 Warriors the first week were hardcore Square/FF fans, and thus what we saw after the restock was the general interest level of the mainstream DS owner, i.e. under their radar.

    • Vanilla

      Me four! ;^;

    • Code

      rar, I concur, I would like this to be released!

  • Cloud_ST

    Tipical Corporate interview,you gotta dig deep for any kinda of actual content their response might have.

    • Vino (Tim N)

      For an impromptu chat/interview, to Imperial Hot no less, I think it went well, and he gave some decent responses.
      Everyone must have been asking the same questions though.

      • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

        Perhaps, but I believe we were the only ones to do an interview. Looking back, there are so many questions I wish I asked.

  • Hraesvelgr

    @”sales figures weren’t very good”: Stop expecting main Final Fantasy-level sales from every game you release, then.

  • Aoshi00

    Too bad they aren’t actually dubbing the Asian ver in Chinese… not crazy about playing this game for a third time though… Just remake VII like Lost Odyssey, but knowing S-E they will mess w/ the gameplay..

  • Tokyo Guy

    You know, I hate to “flog a dead horse” but the comment he made about the games being released overseas-or rather NOT-once again smacks of the widespread ignorance Square Enix reeks of when it comes to foreign markets. As I’ve said in many other topics, every foreigner I know who works at SE frequently complains how the big-wigs there feel they “know” foreign markets and thus are qualified to make the big decisions. (Clearly the small ones, such as allowing the local heads decide on LE sets and such, is ok however).

    NOT releasing games like Estpolis or 4 Warriors of Light is just plain idiotic. Both of these titles, while not without their own flaws, are some of the best products released from the damn company in recent years. As far as Saga 2 and Bahamut go, both were such commercial failures (I’m talking price cuts the week after release) that it almost seems as if SE doesn’t even know what the hell the Japanese market wants either. Though to be fair Saga has NEVER sold well ever and applying a Musashinden-paint coating won’t change that, and Bahamut was just a total joke of a game IMHO (what wasted talent) in light of the horrible gameplay and premise.

    I think as time has passed, people have seen Square for what it really is: a “niche” company. By this I mean it tries and tries to make so many different types of games yet by and by the only ones that ever amount to anything are the ones that otaku will cling to and mainstream gamers will oogle at: RPGs, but even then we only have two franchises: Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. Then with Enix, along comes Dragon Quest.

    I’m quite annoyed that this company, responsible for “outside” RPGs like Chrono Trigger and Xenogears, let both of those series fall by the wayside in favor of crap that never should have been made (Sokagi anyone? Driving Emotion Type S?). All these years later we have Square basically making games that either take off or sink horribly. Where the hell is a Chrono 3? How in the world does something like Blood of Bahamut even make it through the approval process when gamers have been asking for this one for over a decade? Yet (at the time) we got a poor sequel to Musashinden and a HORRIBLE Seiken Densetsu 4 instead.

    And to be perfectly honest, if Wada genuinely means that Square will “evaluate” the prospect of a Final Fantasy 7 remake then he really has no business running the company. Does something like this need to be “researched” in order to determine if it’s a good idea? HOW many years have people been asking for the damn thing?

    I’m sorry for being so hostile/negative here, but I’ve been downright horrified by the manner in which Square transformed from it’s SFC-era form to the post-PSOne incarnation. While I do think there is a push to make new franchises (see Code-Age Commanders) the company really needs to actually try so introspection. Purchasing Eidos and Taito won’t really change the fact that the core company has some major problems.

    • kylehyde

      Amen for that.

    • epy

      *Does his best to not be rude*

      I don’t like Mr. Wada. I don’t think the direction he is choosing for SE is appropiate in the japanese or overseas markets. I do not think he knows what most fans want and he reminds me of Bobby Kodick. I think he is not very smart.

      Therefore, I fully concur with Mr. TokyoGuy’s post.

      • Tokyo Guy

        Well thank you, I’m really glad to hear that others actually agree with me. Were I to have posted this anywhere else, there would have been legions of rabid fanboys pouncing on me.

        I’ve long since thought that Square has some of the most talented people in gaming working for it, but some of the worst management in the industry. It’s not just about localization issues really, but all kinds of things, many of which I touched upon in the earlier post. The company seems to drive out all of its talent (see Sakaguchi, Takahashi, Uematsu, etc) and IIRC now it doesn’t even employ any in-house composers anymore.

        Where it’s going is a real mystery, but the most unfortunate thing is that it’s in no danger of going away. If you ask me, facing bankruptcy or fatal sales returns would be a real wake up call for this company to get its act together and start working with its eyes open. As things stand though, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest can be whored out for eternity and they will continue to sell millions upon millions.

        And just as a note about the Final Fantasy 7 remake, personally I don’t give a crap if it’s ever made and it would be nice if people stop obsessing over it. Just let Final Fantasy 7 die already. Square has overtaken Capcom as “the patron saint of ports” with the billion ports of Final Fantasy 1-6 as is. Focus on a NEW Final Fantasy game instead of an old one. I dare say that the game will be “flawed” because it will never please the die-hard FF7 fans for any number of reasons and as someone else mentioned, Square WILL modify something less it be bashed for rehashing the same “old” gameplay. And seriously, why waste the money on it when that kind of budgeting could be used for something like, I don’t know…making a game like Final Fantasy 13 more fleshed out?

        • http://www.younganimal.com/berserk Mr_Qoo

          Lovely posts, Tokyo Guy. Just thought I’d toss a side note in here; perhaps a side question would be more correct. What happened to the ENIX side of Squaresoft & Enix? Did people forget Enix had some amazing games outside of the Dragon Quest realm? Not that it’s bad to bring all the DQ’s stateside–I love it, but still… It’d be nice if they gave all us nostalgia junkie’s a bit more to chew on.

          • Tokyo Guy

            Well remember that Enix has never actually made anything, they just published. IIRC, the original DQ games were made by Chun Soft, for example, who then decided to basically do nothing but make Mysterious Dungeon games (and Homeland). But yes, I agree that Enix had (published) some unique games like Robotrek and 7th Saga.

            The thing I really don’t get about the merger is that I’ve never understood why Enix went for it. Square basically was desperate to salvage itself after the monumental failure of The Spirits Within. Why it is that they agreed upon a merger as opposed to Enix buying the company is beyond me.

            In the end, however, I see absolutely nothing beneficial whatsoever (from a gamer perspective) coming out of this merger. If anything, it’s just the Enix side learning how to whore out games from the Square side. Enix has always cashed in on DQ, but since the merger things have really been taken up a notch.

          • http://www.younganimal.com/berserk Mr_Qoo

            True enough. I guess I should have said Chun Soft, Quintet, and Tri-Ace (though Tri-Ace has received love for releases, just not the quality I’d prefer). It just feels completely Square. As you mentioned, Enix published things and it seems like there is none of that anymore. I’m glad Sega brought us Resonance of Fate, actually. It gives me hope again in Tri-Ace.

            It’s funny how most people think Square was the one saving Enix.

            … I miss Actraiser.

    • Hraesvelgr

      In regards to Chrono 3, I recall Shinji Hashimoto saying that if “people want a sequel, they should buy more!” and, when told that it’s a popular series, “That’s not what the sales tell me!” Frankly, their ever increasing arrogance and haughtiness since the late 90s has started to get on my nerves.

      Back in the day, Square had a number of great franchises and even tried to do new things. Hell, I didn’t like any PSX Final Fantasy titles (outside of Tactics), but most of their non-Final Fantasy games that gen were at least pretty good. Since the days of the PS2, though, it seems like they just want to drive every franchise they have into the ground by making terrible games and the canning them.

      Wouldn’t be surprised if they were just left with Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts in a few years.

      • Tokyo Guy

        Oh I know…I love how they go on about sales to justify their conservative budgeting, yet then go and approve crap like Blood of Bahamut or Seiken Densetsu 4. You would think that somewhere along the development phase play testers would have said “this game is awful” which begs one to ask the question “What the hell are the play testers are SE doing?”. Although given what I’ve heard of certain aspects of the company, it wouldn’t surprise me if the executives don’t listen to anything anyone says period and thus push the software through just to tack on another release.

        And I love how companies like SE are too conservative to make a NEW game yet they have no problem porting the old one over and over again as if to spit in our faces. Consider Chrono Trigger DS: what was its point? Simply to release a “new” game in 2008 and do so with the least financial cost possible. And the fanboys all cried out in happiness at getting a portable Chrono when they should have been asking why the hell there was no Chrono 3. I mean seriously now, even Nintendo finally made Mother 3…

        I will say that Square use to be my absolute favorite company, at least up until the PS2 era began. I remember waiting for each new game it would announce (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Seiken Densetsu 3, etc) and feeling confident it would be worth waiting for given the undeniable talent at the company. It’s sad to look at it today and see the shell of what it once was. Of course this is just my “jaded” opinion; I’ve no doubt that people who were introduced to Square with Final Fantasy 7 or 10 wouldn’t feel like this.

    • PuddlesPuddles

      I consider myself a Square Enix “fan” because they’ve made many of my favorite games of all time. But I agree with everything you’ve said. Their decisions about what games to produce, and what games to release overseas, have been questionable in recent years.

      While I have zero interest in a FF7 remake, it is very strange that they haven’t made one yet, considering the obvious interest by fans around the world. I liked the original, and if I ever feel like playing it again, I’ll just pop it into my PS2. I’m not a big fan of remakes. But this would be a big seller for them.

  • Piyopiyo

    I really did enjoy the collectors edition, but the box itself was pathetic and flimsy. I had been hoping for something a little better and more stable.

    Although I’m one of those sad people hoping for a remake of FF7, I find it a shame that it’s being discussed at this event. Let XIII have the spotlight =P

    FF7 on the psp though…I don’t think it’d fit on 1 disc and I currently don’t know any psp games that are on more than one disc. But I suppose it could be possible. Definitely wouldn’t mind it.

  • Vino21

    “I pretty much leave it to the regional heads’ decision on how products are being sold. I believe the European region had some demand.”

    Basically, even he admits that SE USA is composed of stingy, cheap as hell bastards…

    The FF12 Limited Edition was piss poor….

    • Tokyo Guy

      LOL I actually was under the impression the FF12 LE was just some crap put together by EBGames, not Square. Kind of like they “ordered” it. Because wasn’t that LE only sold at EBGames (and Gamestop perhaps)?

  • http://www.myspace.com/omoshiroipinoy YeaitslenN

    Everyone an their mom wants a ff7 remake. I personally loved 8 hah

  • stealth20k

    Square is taking the stance of screwing the ds owners now….. I doubt we will even get dq 6.

    Square jumped the shark and I refuse to buy another game form them

    • Tokyo Guy

      DQ6 was already announced for release in North America a long time ago, don’t worry. As far as Saga 2 and Blood of Bahamut go, consider yourself lucky-some of us bought them under the impression they would be good and found ourselves wasting a lot of money…

  • stealth20k

    They announced it, and then never mentioned the US version again. I dont know why people arent more angry. Square is spitting in our faces and wont even directly answer a question

    • Tonedeaf

      The Japanese version of DQVI was only released on January 18 of this year. Maybe they feel the already-made US announcement will hold us fans over until the localization progresses enough to give us a release estimate and screenshots?

      As for the rest of the discussion, I’d say Square NEEDS to release Estopolis (AKA Lufia). My brother wants Lufia as much as I want Golden Sun DS, but it’s not the end of the world for either of us if Blood of Bahamut or FF Gaiden isn’t localized. We both really liked FF legend II, so a Saga II localization would be appreciated, but the Japanese sales seem to disagree from what I’ve read here, so I won’t blame them if they don’t bring it over. Blood of Bahamut and FF Gaiden can rot for all I care, but if they are released over here I’ll pick up FF Gaiden and probably change my tune.

      And that FFVII remake should be a port with analog stick support and HD graphics, not to mention voice acting. No gameplay changes whatsoever. Knowing Squenix though, they’d likely remake it in the same sense that Sword of Mana is a remake of FF Adventure. That is, change the gameplay to “modern standards” (making a new battle system or using the FFXIII one instead of old-school ATB, and possibly getting rid of towns), and turn the story to crap (Making tons of changes that are inferior to the plot points they conflict with in the original game.*)

      *I’d describe what I mean, but I don’t want to get into another rant about why Sword of Mana is a piece of shit.

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