Square Enix Japan-America Collaboration Working On Triple A Core Game

By Spencer . September 1, 2010 . 1:41pm

imageAt the CEDEC conference in Yokohama, Square Enix announced their Japan studio and an American developer on the West coast are collaborating on an upcoming game. Yosuke Shiokawa who was the director on Dissidia: Final Fantasy is the creative director on the unannounced title. Yuki Matsuzawa is the concept artist.


While Square Enix didn’t reveal any details, a slide outlines the project’s parameters. Translated bullet points are below.


  • Unpublished new large scale project
  • Japan-America development collaboration
  • Worldwide development
  • Intended for core gamers
  • Metacritic score over 90
  • AAA game


During the talk differences between the East and West were discussed. At first, Shiokawa thought Western gamers wanted realistic characters and a macho guy for an action game. To his surprise, the team thought those characters looked dull and uninteresting. Shiokawa changed his train of thought from fantasy vs. realistic to “believable” characters.

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  • Simon

    Intended for Core Games, does that mean its not gonna some cool JRPG? Probably something like FF13?

  • DDanny

    A male character that’s not some flat chested girl or a steroid addict? What kind of preposterous blasphemy is this??!
    Honestly, I’ll be happy if they make the guys look like guys and just give them enough muscle so they can swing a sword properly.
    But really, I don’t see people here thinking macho guys are dull and uninteresting, regardless of how unrealistic they seem to be.
    Hoping it’s some cool RPG too.

    • Code

      I played the Lord of Arcadia demo, I’ve seen a realistic interpretation of muscle required to swing ridiculously large swords and I can say whole hearted — do not want.

  • SE trying new innovations does not bode well

    • ShinGundam

      Sounds like Square soft ;(

  • Exand

    I find it sad Metacritic has become a barometer for measuring how good a game is. It’s such a crappy rating system.

    • Hraesvelgr

      I will add to this by saying that it’s sad that any reviews are how companies measure their games. To me, Square (Enix)’s best games have always been their slightly lower rated ones.

      • Totally agree, and some of the games that need to be played people aren’t even completely aware of. Where’s my Secret of Mana 2 rerelease? My Final Fantasy VI rerelease? Give me reasons to worship the computers you built your games on again Squa… oh wait, its not Square anymore. :(

        • thebanditking

          Sadly, Square is not them selves anymore, though I would say its safe to assume thats because of key people leaving, and the “Japanese Bobby Kotick” Yoichi Wada leading the company, rather then the merger with Enix.

    • Ereek

      Not to mention that something like Metacritic isn’t always “accurate,” so to speak. Not all sites review on the same curve. As we all know, a “70” on Metacritic is usually considered “average,” but what about those sites that use the entire curve (IE 5/10 being “average”) instead?

      Take for example, two RPG sites, RPGFan and RPGamer. RPGFan rates on a 70+ usually, while RPGamer uses the entire scale. A game that ranked 80 on a 70+ scale would only make it “good.” A game that ranks 80 on the full scale makes it “excellent.” Yet despite the rating actually having a higher value on one site, they’re placed at exactly the same point on Metacritic.

  • 9inchsamurai

    “Shiokawa changed his train of thought from fantasy vs. realistic to “believable” characters.”
    Wait, does this mean someone at SE actually GETS IT? There’s still hope yet.

  • Code

    Honestly characters/character designs, at least pre-FF12 never really had been an issue for me, it felt like perhaps FF12 onwards, minus a few projects here and there, the characters started to not sit well with me. rarr, but I can’t help but feel like Square is making me suffer well there trying to reach out to a newer audience. Projects like Nier, I’d have maybe given a shot much sooner if I hadn’t been so abruptly turned off by the main character’s design, rarr those eyebrrowwws >m<' sure it's shallow but when your watching games from a distance, if a game is off-putting I'm probably not going to follow it as closely. Although now that I've started hearing some great recommendations on it, it's something I'll look into more closely. I still wish I could play the Japanese protagonist more, he's got an eye patch and his eyebrows don't have muscles. Any ways if Square is starting to get "believable" and "realistic" aren't the same thing, maybe there's still hope!

    • FireCouch

      Nier’s face will only bug you for the first 3 minutes of the game. Then you say to yourself, wow, the guy looks like an extremely average person who just cares for his daughter. He’s one of the most realistic characters I’ve seen in a Japanese game in a long time.

      • Code

        Oh I know playing it I’d get over it eventually, watching a friend play for awhile thought wasn’t enough, it still ate away at me. I swear if you put a peanut between his eyebrows he could crack it open by frowning, that eyebrow ridge is made of pure terror. But yeah to be fair I am going to pick up this game sooner or later, admittedly I did pass on it because I wasn’t initially impressed by what I saw and if anything expecting it too fall under more of Square’s western oriented tripe, but from everything I’ve heard it’s an excellent title, and from what I’ve watched it looks AOK. I gotta ask though can you play/download Nier Replicant protagonist and use him instead?

        • FireCouch

          The DLC that is available lets you play as the Replicant Nier, but not for the story. When you buy the DLC, a journal appears in his house and when you read it you play as Nier when he was young. They are a bunch of special battles basically and some of the hardest battles in the game.

          So, long story short. No, you can’t be the younger protagonist in the main story.

          • Code

            Ah alright good to know, thanks >w<~! I'll get over it when I play it, and I understand not ALL characters have to be visually appealing that in fact can be the strength of the character design, but there's something about him that gnaws away at me, lol. But whatever I wanna find Nier now, interest rekindled~! I may have to go out tomorrow and look now.

      • “He’s one of the most realistic characters I’ve seen in a Japanese game in a long time. ” really? he looks fake as hell to me even faker then Tidus from ffX and i always thought video games was a fantasy/unrealistic thing but i guess everyone wants a real person in a game…

    • Aoshi00

      argh! Don’t let his face bug you. Old man Nier might not be remotely handsome, but he’s one of my favorite video game chars of all time I ain’t kidding. After I finished the US ver. I went to play Replicant and actually find the younger hero a lot more underwhelming, the relationship btwn him and Grimoire Weiss the book is less dynamic, mostly because the Eng. voice acting is just that good.

      • Code

        Wow that’s an impressive recommendation >w< you usually seem very in favor of Japanese VO when possible from what I've seen. I know there's just something visually strange going on with him, something about his radish shaped head, those muscle brows that haven't existed for 350,000 years, that thick tension that always appears to be in his face.I had the same problem with Bayonetta admittedly I find her height/proportions, so stretched, it’s unsettling and awayy at me — then Bayonetta also turned out to be completely badass from what I heard T_T’ I’ve been hunting for both Nier and Bayonetta off and on when I’m out, just because I’ve gotten so many stellar recommendations.

        • Aoshi00

          Nier does look strange at first, but once you start playing it, you’ll get into the story and care for him so much the face is the last thing you think about, plus he puts on a mask later on (hope that’s not spoiler) and looks extremely COOL, anyone would be proud to have such a dad I tell you :) Bayonetta’s proportion looks especially weird when she was in her nun outfit in the intro scene, otherwise she looks okay. Man, you can’t let those superficial things make you skip the game, Nier and Bayonetta are my favorite games this year, or in many years, they have to be played at least once (well, Nier for the multiple endings) I’m not that partial to Jpn dub, but I’m more familiar w/ Jpn voice actors. Sometimes Eng. dub is better like FF12&13, but FF10’s Jpn dub was better. Just need to add, in some cutscenes, old man Nier does look good. Those cutscenes have more emotional impact on me than FF13’s fancy ones.

          • Code

            Cool mask you say? I’m moderately intrigued~! But yeah I’m certainly not discarding them simply because of there visuals, although I do put some weight behind artistic direction, but yeah I wouldn’t let it get in the way of picking up good games >w<; My wallet is doing that amply well for me already x_x; As far as VA’s, pretty much the same here, I just figured you migth have a preference to Japanese VA’s I guess, since I’ve noticed on topics about VA in the past you’ve always mentioned about dual language tracks and stuff, plus your playing Persona 4 in Japanese, badass oOo~!

          • Aoshi00

            yep, this one. My jaw dropped the first time I saw him in that, it was that awesome. Seriously though, both Nier and Bayonetta had excellent art direction, just the design a little weird I suppose. I thought the same too like “what’s w/ his face?” but that’s before I played the game, also Bayonetta looks kind of tall, but sexy nonetheless.http://www.theicecave.org/damage_control/multimedia/nier360covers_032710.jpglol, yea I’m just more familiar w/ Jpn VAs so… I imported P4 long ago before the US ver came out, but I died a couple of times in the first dungeon, I was like this is too hard.. now I’m playing it again and get the hang of things, like when to teleport back, lvl up, get better Personas.. Mitsuo was pretty hard because I didn’t get Black Frost. Really good game though, turn based battle is the best. If I can manage to beat this, I’ll play it in Eng. again just to hear all the fun dialogue (the omelette tasting scene was so funny, well anything involving bad cooking is), I’ve played like 3 hrs of the US ver watching the intro and stuff. Logitech wireless PS2 controller is my friend :)

            P.S. you were right though, I do want to play Metroid Other M in Jpn, the Jpn Samus seems to sound better from the trailers I’ve watched. I guess I just want dual track for the “completeness” so I don’t need to buy the same game twice.. cost too much..

  • Awww man, they are at it again. Odds are it wont turn out to be this Triple A game they are so hoping for. They seem to screw up something in the end.

  • malek86

    “At first, Shiokawa thought Western gamers wanted realistic characters and a macho guy for an action game.”

    No wonder they can’t get things right.

    • Methylene

      Apparently this also meant no women actions characters and no one ‘slim’…

  • I really wish Square Enix would drop this whole “trying to please all the people all the time” attitude. They seem to think that “Western-styled” games are some kind of magic key to success. However you can define that, since games in the West extend to no shortage of genres – but they seem to think it means making EVERY game some sort of shooter- or action-hybrid.

    Doesn’t the greater popularity of their remakes over anything they’ve been churning out recently in some way indicate how wrong of a track they’re on? It seems to me like their old games that still earn the highest praise and still have a loyal fanbase are the ones that weren’t tailored to the West at all: FFV through IX, Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Front Mission, etc.

    • ShinGundam

      “Doesn’t the greater popularity of their remakes over anything they’ve been churning out recently in some way indicate how wrong of a track they’re on?”Actually, remakes are way under preformed beside DQ remakes.

    • Scallion

      I think the relative popularity of remakes they’ve been churning out show that Squeenix fanboys will pay anything to play a game they’ve played at least twice before all over again.Those games only seem to sell well with that crowd, anyway.Not hating–that’s just how it is.If Square moves in a different or new direction, the fanbase buys it anyway, and hates the hell out of it, and their first reaction is to pine for the old days when RNG ruled the world, rather than wishing for Squeenix to polish things or what have you. A lot of those new directions are almost certainly missteps, but far too often, the fans (and the devs) throw the baby out with the bathwater, it seems.Oh well.

      One moooore thing!
      Would it be too
      to ask
      for a minority (anyone who isn’t white or East Asian) to be something other than a bit or side character?
      Can gamers really identify with aliens and magic testube babies better than they can…well, take you pick?

  • MrRobbyM

    “Intended for core gamers”. So nothing like FF13?

  • BadenBadenPrinny

    Forgive me if I’m completely cynical from the start. This is my most hated Japanese company. (this gen anyway)

  • I hope by a game intended for core gamers with a metacritic score above 90 does not mean a game that is a first person shooter that is trying to bring a Japanese flare to the Modern Warfare genre…

  • Aoshi00

    Didn’t they add the macho Conqueror to Last Remnant saying it would suit Western gamers’ taste more? He was supposed to be the other playable character too in addition to Johnny Yong Bosch aka Rush.. The trailers looked so promising and then it felt flat :(… and then you have the lackluster FF13 (understatement)…

    On the other hand, you have Sakuguchi who just pours himself into making good games and jokes that he would retire if Last Story doesn’t sell well.. Where is the old Square soft… just make a good game instead of thinking East vs West, a good game is universal.

    • Code

      Exactly how I feel, they made some of my most memorable and the greatest games out there. I grew up with Square’s amazing titles and it feels like now a days Square has gotten all caught up in the politics of like you said east vs. west and lost something that special because of it. They had there own unique flavor which was great, and for some reason they felt like tossing that for the sake of chasing bigger fish.

    • Pesmerga00

      I’m putting more and more hope on the Gooch this gen. At least his bullet points don’t include “Metacritic score over 90”. I really hope this isn’t his last hurrah.

  • Pichi

    If its something I’m interested in, I’ll give it a chance.

  • Tokyo Guy

    Perhaps instead of focusing on “macho” guys for the West, the company should invest in someone with actual artistic abilities so that even if the characters are macho they don’t look absolutely revolting. Neir may have been an outstanding game but the main characters looked atrocious.

    • Aoshi00

      I liked the Nier char design like that though, thought the chars look fine and fitting for such a bleak world setting. Maybe Cavia (it’s not even S-E) aimed to do it that way to emphasize on how imperfect the chars are, at least they’re more interesting and memorable than FF13’s char design even though they all looked “pretty”

  • Scallion

    I’m slightly interested to see what mish-mash (I doubt it’ll be anything but) they come up with, but…
    A Metacritic score of 90?
    That is the dumbest goal I have ever heard of. Jesus.
    That’s like aiming for a testing standard in public school.
    You’re only going to do the things you have to do to make the grade.
    They can get their 90+ if they make a generic steaming pile, or if they make a creative masterpiece.
    What’s more, the things most reviewers score for don’t reflect the overall experience of playing a game.
    I’ve played some games with bad reviews, and games with bad scores and games that were legitimately bad, but I had fun with all of them.

  • doubleO7

    How does it already have a Metacritic score of 90+ if it hasn’t even been announced yet? Does Metacritic have a time machine or something?

  • They will probably hit 89 and half the team will commit seppuku.

    It will be the last time Japan and America collaborates on anything. Mark my words!

    I am interested though, lol.

  • Square is reviving Chrono Trigger!?

    • Guest

      haha yea they finally had a change of heart and teamed up with the American team that was making the 3D version that they shut down

  • gatotsu911

    Yeah, that the company would aim for a Metacritic score before even coming up with any other concepts for the product kind of sickens me. Sure, SquEnix has released some crappy games in the past, sure, but at least it had enough confidence in those products to release them in a way the developers felt was proper, rather than trying to bend to the whims of the joke that is games “journalism”. You can’t please everyone, SquEnix.

  • thebanditking

    The simple fact that they are shooting for a certain metacritic average is whats wrong with S-E these days. How about trying to make a good game first, rather then hampering creative freedom and stressing out the dev team by making them worry about what the average review score is. I don’t even know what this game is and I already know its going to suck.

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