Square Enix’s Plan Is To Focus On Ten Strong Series

By Spencer . May 13, 2011 . 2:28pm

After posting major losses, Square Enix’s goals for the current fiscal year are developing more games for smartphones and social networks, revitalizing their key MMOs (read: fix Final Fantasy XIV), and establishing 10 strong IPs.

 

Before Square Enix merged with Eidos, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts were the company’s three pillar franchises.

 

This is how Square Enix views their strong IPs now.

 

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The list of current franchises isn’t much of a surprise. Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts remain key series. Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Hitman all have new games slated for release in the not to distant future.

 

It appears Square Enix is hedging their bets because they have five IPs in development they hope will grow into strong franchises and six currently strong IPs. That’s a total of eleven strong IPs, one more than their goal. Final Fantasy IV designer and Nanashi no Game creator Takashi Tokita revealed to Siliconera he is working on a new IP, but it isn’t clear if his project will be one of Square Enix’s pillar series.

 

In addition to Deus Ex, Eidos Montreal is developing Thief 4 and an unannounced game. Wimbledon leaves us puzzled. I think this may be referring to Beautiful Game Studios, makers of Big Hit Baseball and the Championship Manager titles, which is located in Wimbledon. Square Enix’s LA Studio is notably absent from the list as well as Eidos Shanghai, another fully owned Square Enix studio.


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  • Ereek

    A new Ogre (Battle, Tactics), maybe?

    . . .please?

    Yes, I know it doesn’t fall under “original IP.”

    • Testsubject909

      We indeed need to know more about the previous episodes prior to the march of the black queen

    • TrevHead

      As someone who loves the old langrisser style SRPGs ive yet to play a Ogre game, maybe I should… 

      • Hraesvelgr

         Yes, you should.

  • IceRomancer

    All I care about is ff type zero and versus. And eventually a kingdom hearts 3?

    • http://twitter.com/anselpol Anzel Valderrama

       2012 = KH3, FFVersusXIII, FF:VII Remake for NGP(this is coming believe me) as FF:VI Remake for the 3DS(FF:VII for NGP since VII is from PsOne, FF:VI for 3DS since VI is from SNES) :)

      2012 might take for ever but where in May now! :D

      • http://profiles.google.com/dnlblue Daniel blue

         “FF:VII for NGP since VII is from PsOne, FF:VI for 3DS since VI is from SNES”

        Is that all the reason you have to believe a VII remake will be on NGP? FF IV has just been re-released for PSP, you know.

        • http://twitter.com/anselpol Anzel Valderrama

          Just wait and see mate. 

      • http://twitter.com/IXRoxasXI Rei Fal’Cie Sanchez

        you’re sad 

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Was there really a need for that?  

  • [The Hunter] Doomrider

    Excited about the prospect of a new IP by Eidos Montreal. Even more excited about new IPs by the main studio. However, considering their recent losses, I fear the new IPs will be geared towards the masses (not that this means the result will be necessarily bad, of course), so as to minimize any potential future losses. I expect Square to play on the really safe side of things for some time.

    Goodbye Nier. Goodbye Matsuno.

    (I hope it won’t be the case)

  • http://twitter.com/mangeezer jerry

    Why does every IP have to be a strong IP? Do we have to spend 20 million on every game and expect it to sell 5 million copies? Why can’t we have more 1 million dollar games that only need to sell 200k? 

    Just sad to see S-E embracing the AAA craze, can’t say I’m optimistic about their future :(

    • Testsubject909

      It’s because people love to see big numbers. They can’t wrap their ideas around making a killing via smaller profits accumulating over towards a larger win with lesser pay which, itself, is also a gamble.

      And it’s easier to make larger known brands that will sell on brand name alone. Like FF… 

      • http://twitter.com/mangeezer jerry

        But is it really easy to make a big name brand? S-E is obviously trying to make Hitman bigger then it ever was, throwing tons of money at it, hiring top-notch Hollywood talent, etc. But for what? The Hitman fanbase that they’ve established over the past 4 games is plenty big enough that you would have a huge profit margin if they would just give the fans what they’re craving for – it would easily be a million seller. But now that’s not good enough because they’re pumping so much money into it. Now they need to sell multi-millions which might be easier with higher production values and Hollywood talent but it’s no longer a guarantee that the game will have that huge profit margin. Just seems like they’re chasing after the monster hit – the Call of Duty or Assassins Creeds – when they might be better off being efficient and conservative for the most part, maybe pumping 20 million into 1 or 2 projects but 10 AAA projects is a bit much, yeah?

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          It’s about what you want to invest in, imo. Smaller projects are great (see TWEWY) but they aren’t long-term phenomena that a company can bank upon time and again. Investing in a big-budget franchise is like a gamble…you’re investing in something in the hopes that you’ll be able to nurture it into a recognizable brand in the long term. Smaller games don’t get that kind of attention at all from the consumer or from the media.

          Once you have a brand that can endure the test of time, you can bank upon it to bring you profits (like FF or Dragon Quest). Once you have that, it allows you to experiment with that brand and do different things with it (again, FF/DQ with the different spin-off titles).

          Having your profits be stable also allows you to experiment freely and creatively with smaller, original games like TWEWY, instead of having those be constrained by the “will this sell” concerns. 

          If you look at it that way, wanting to invest in big-budget hits makes sense because you’re trying to create a stable future for the company, both financially and creatively.

          • http://twitter.com/mangeezer jerry

            was actually referring more to mid-sized games, not small stuff because you wouldn’t mention the small stuff anyway. Though I do think a good business model should incorporate a wide range of things unlike what Activision is doing by completely ignoring the mobile and social gaming markets 

            I agree that FF and DQ are a good thing. So are spin-offs like Rocket Slime

            As for the “will this sell” concern, wouldn’t it be better to have that concern over a game that you didn’t sink that much money into? A huge project like FF14 bombing would be an epic disaster. A small project bombing would hardly be a bump in the road.

            Though obviously SE wants more FFs and DQs. Personally I think that’s better achieved through marketing rather than bloating up the budget with Hollywood talent and CG that’s made to dazzle your eyes off but adds no real substances to the game. Look at Portal 2, charted 2nd place in the NPD and there’s a game that focuses almost entirely on compelling gameplay rather than Hollywood talent so you definitely don’t need to be EA or Ubisoft or Activision to make a big hit – whatevs just saying that I want more mid-sized games that focus on gameplay rather than what I was just saying

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Portal 2 is a very different case from Square Enix, though, hahaha. Valve are a western (primarily PC) developer, and Steam has done a great deal of good for both their exposure and for their finances. Valve are a platform holder and should be treated as such.

            I agree, a good balance between big-budgets and more controlled budgets is key, and I think that’s what Square’s trying to achieve. Their games on the portables have been nothing short of stellar this entire gen, and they churn them out at a steady pace, so I think they’ve already got the “controlled budget” (and time) part nailed down.  :)

            Now they need to figure out how not to have a repeat Final Fantasy XIII situation with their console games coming out of Tokyo!

    • puchinri

      My thoughts exactly. And it is fairly disheartening.

    • lostinblue

      Yeah, they don’t seem to have learned much from the FF spirits within megalomaniacal fiasco.

      They’ll stay afloat due to big franchises/ip and the like but not without a lot of mismanagement and misgivings.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

      Since this presentation was for share holders and investors, not press or video game fans, it’s business oriented. Square Enix was telling the audience how they are going to get maximum return – and that’s from long term core IPs. I don’t think Square Enix is going to cease developing mid-budget games or Taito titles. Dungeon Siege III exists, for example.

      People vested financially with Square Enix probably just want to hear about “AAA” or the big bucks. They aren’t as interested in hearing about actual game development since finance is their “game” per se.

  • PrinceHeir

    legacy of kain or fear effect anyone?

    as for existing IP’s that need sequel. Chrono Series, Saga series, Xenogears, Mana series.

    just pick any of thos square :P

    • Croix

       In my honest opinion, the more recent Mana games (Children, Sword, and Dawn) just haven’t been as good as the older ones (Legend of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3). If they could recover the essence of what made those games good, then I’d be all for it, but I’m not so convinced, sadly.

      The Xeno series is somewhat out of their hands, since the core people behind it are no longer with Square if I recall correctly.

      As for the Chrono series, I would like nothing more than to see another installment, no matter how related or unrelated it may be. But if I had to choose, I’d probably go with mostly unrelated yet creative and innovative the way the prior two games were (and Radical Dreamers, for those in the know on it).

      • PrinceHeir

        i agree, especially Danw. wtf happen to that game?!?!

        yeah, i guess i’ll just have to wait for Monolith Soft’s next game.

        actually that would be a great idea. a game that isn’t connected in the past titles but share similar ideas, world, mythology and such. kinda like Xenogears-Xenosaga. 

      • lostinblue

         If you liked Chrono Cross, I can’t recomend Baten Kaitos Origins more.

        • Croix

          I did play Baten Kaitos, but I didn’t really care for the card system in it.

          • lostinblue

             Not Baten Kaitos, Baten Kaitos Origins ;)

      • http://flailthroughs.blogspot.com Flailthroughs

        Though it’s well-liked, I can see in Seiken Densetsu 3 the beginnings of the calcification that brought down the Mana series. Something about Secret of Mana is very easy and fluid, and while I still like SD3 and Legend of Mana, every Mana game since Secret has missed on that mark to increasing degrees, in my opinion.

        • Croix

           I really, really liked the way the world was laid out in Legend of Mana. It was both open-ended and filled with well-developed storylines. The characters all had unique personalities, but you weren’t stuck following any single group of them. I especially liked the pirates and all the random places they would turn up in the game.

    • TrevHead

      I would kill for a new Legacy of Kain game, it has a strong cult following so it wouldnt be a flop if SE didnt go overboard with the budget 

    • lostinblue

      Anything Xenogears would absolutely have to go through Monolith.

      Mana… The whole team moved on, they’re Brownie Brown now and the creator is the Grezzo founder (the dudes that are doing the OoT port).

      As for Chrono… There is no team per see anymore (the rest of the chrono cross team is with monolith, they’re the Baten Kaitos Team) but Yasunori Mitsuda, and Masato Kato are freelancers and there’s some people within square that worked on chrono trigger (like horii) so perhaps they can recapture the feeling in a easier way. Getting Toryama back to work on it might also work if they’re trying to recapture the feel of the original although I like the Chrono Cross art better.

      Saga is up to Akitoshi Kawazu, so they can do them whenever they want to. On the Kawazu topic as flawed as it was I enjoyed Crystal Bearers I’d like to see him being allowed to continue doing them.

      I’d also like to see them revisiting old games and explore the possibility of sequels, like Live a Life, Alcahest, Bahamut Lagoon or Vagrant Story…

      • gatotsu911

        Just to clarify: the portion of the Chrono Cross team that isn’t now at Monolith Soft is part of the Final Fantasy XI/XIV team.

        Really, I just want Square to get their spit together and start showing genuine passion for their games again.

        • lostinblue

          Sure, a part of virtually every Square RPG team is still there; with that said it’s fair to say that the driving forces behind Chrono Cross are with monolith right now. And they kinda proved it with Baten Kaitos Origins who is a spiritual sucessor of sorts at it’s best. Awesome game.

          Just the fact they did *that* proves they could do a game like Chrono Cross and make it stand up to it.

          The obligatory thing for a Chrono game is Masato Kato and Mitsuda so they could arrange a team for them inhouse. Problem is that like you point… lack of passion right now; Monolith would be a safe bet to put the franchise on.

      • PrinceHeir

         yeah i doubt we’ll see another Xenogears game

        wow so no Mana now huh? :(

        new Chrono game could actually work, they just need to rehire the other free lancers that worked on this project. oh and that includes Sakaguichi, and put Uematsu on board as well.

        yes New Saga game needs to be done :P

        will check those game for sure :P

        • lostinblue

          It could work, of course, like a mana game could. I’m just pointing out that the remains/driving forces of those teams still exist and are elsewhere.

          Sakaguchi would be a no-no, because of Mistwalker. but mitsuda, horii, kato and uematsu could be easy to assemble, they’d need a good team in order to materialize the product though. Hence why I pointed out Monolith. I loved Chrono Cross, I wanted more and they gave me just that with BKO a few years back. They’re certainly qualified.

  • badmoogle

     10 strong IPs and how many spin offs and remakes of those IPs SE?

    • http://twitter.com/anselpol Anzel Valderrama

      THIS! 

  • http://profiles.google.com/dnlblue Daniel blue

    I pray to the Almighty Gaming God that Square leaves one of these new IPs in the hands of Yasumi Matsuno. They let him do the Tactics Ogre remake, so there’s still hope he’ll stick around. I miss his projects.

    I’d also say he’s the only designer at square enix with any sort of common sense nowadays, and would be a great change of pace to the current style-over-substance philosophy that plagues the company.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NMYX5ACULPPL45VRW6X3ZVRRVA Darren

    ’nuff said

    • http://twitter.com/Ale598 Ale598

      meh 

    • Zero_Destiny

      Something is incredibly wrong with this plan. There’s not nearly enough Dragon Quest in it. :P SE for shame. I thought you liked making money. Slap some more Dragon Quest in there. lol

      lol In all honesty I get tired of all the side games. But there not all bad. Some games like Four Heroes of Light, Crystal Chronicles, and Tactics are all pretty good. With the later one being a classic.

  • http://twitter.com/Ale598 Ale598

     SE I know you’ve made some mistakes in the past but don’t worry, I will continue supporting you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_S2UKKIGGOA4V5EIFXAD7BQQOV4 Heehee

    Wimbledon? A tennis game?

  • kroufonz

    just release versus and give me VP3 squareenix!

    and that two tokyo studio newnew ip better be HD JRPG!

  • http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/21421.html?type=4 Kashell

     Pfft. Like this will make their image better? Square should go back to being Squaresoft. At least back then they weren’t so…ARGH.

  • AnimeRemix

     Square Enix needs to make a sequel to The World Ends With You…

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

       I would love to see a sequel to that. I keep meaning to replay the original.

      • RablaAndrews

        Apparently theres talk of a 3DS game.. 

    • Nyron

       No they don’t. TWEWY is the only IP they haven’t screwed up by milking the crap out of it.

      How about thay just make more new games as good as TWEWY instead?

    • Catnipcookie

      No I agree with Nyron. Leave it alone. TWEWY is fine without any number 2 or the title being changed to The World Ends With Us, or some crap.

      • AnimeRemix

        The World Begins With You. <—I think that title suites the sequel.

        And naw… I can't just be left alone with a game so… Amazing… It's fun to replay it over and over and notice things that I didn't notice when I first played it, but I wouldn't mind SE continuing the story some how. =P  

  • http://twitter.com/EldritchHarhaar Chad Erdman

    I’m looking forward to seeing that Thief game.
    There is just something about sneaking around in medieval times in first-person that clicks with me.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QQS3VDEDG5D26QJWLHKM2E3FUY gama

    all i know is i been with Final Fantasy since i was what hmm 8 years old maybe 9 years old, i am way older then FF since 1990 or so anyways thru out the long ways and how they are heading with FF  just hope it ends at 15 if not everything after that i dunno anymore.  i hope sakaguchi bring the last story to NA and keep making good RPG stories like always. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QQS3VDEDG5D26QJWLHKM2E3FUY gama

    what about mana series and chrono series any plans for these series? F kingdom hearts seriously these newish generation titles suck #($#$. keep it old school SE! 

  • Kris

     Okay, I’ll bite. Why do they say they want to establish 10 strong IPs when they have 11 listed in their chart? Maybe one’s just insurance?

  • AzureNova

    Where in God’s name and all that is holy is a Parasite Eve game for the PS3 on this list >_<

  • http://twitter.com/Yottamol MC

    Square Enix also has a studio in Beijing

  • https://twitter.com/#!/JadenPrinceton C.Guzman

     Sigma Harmonics anyone?…well, then again I don’t really know how it ended but I thought it was a pretty good game (from what I played). I just wish it were in English (thanks horizontal boxes.)

    • lostinblue

      That one had all the carvings of a one off.

      I’d be more interested in that “horror game with a dragon quest clone” they did, it looked so badass.

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