This year has been quite an eventful one for Square Enix, ranging from getting a new CEO,to the successful launch of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and finally revealing more on anticipated titles such as Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III. Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda recently talked about future plans in an interview with Famitsu magazine.
Matsuda previously spoke of Square’s intent to develop more smartphone titles. Now that the publisher will soon be releasing ports of Dragon Quest I – VIII for smartphones, Famitsu asks Matsuda to share his plans and strategy behind the recent move.
“Smartphones aren’t mainly used to exclusively play games, but there are many who enjoy them [on those devices],” replies Matsuda. “The Dragon Quest series are games that can easily be enjoyed by just about anyone, so we’d like to do just that, and have as many people as possible play it. With that in mind, I believe that it’s only natural to expand towards smartphones. Again, smartphone capabilities have increased, so they no longer have any problems playing games from those series, and we’ve also decided to expand now that these devices are booming.”
We’ve seen how impressive these titles look on mobile devices, such as Dragon Quest VIII, along with its one-handed control scheme. Famitsu asks if we might be seeing other series and games ported or remade for smartphone.
“Of course, I believe that it’s important to release our content for smartphones as they continue spreading [in popularity],” responds Matsuda. “Not just ports of games, but for example, the Final Fantasy series has Final Fantasy Agito in development for smartphones. For other franchises, too, we’re thinking about working on past titles and new ones [for phones].”
“Also, not just limited to smartphones, but we’re putting consideration into the type of games and their target audience, as we decide on the platform,” Matsuda continues. “Again, I feel that we also need to add more original titles for smartphones. Similar to Kaku-san-sei Million Arthur, if it becomes a hit on smartphones, then there’s a chance we may also release it for consoles, too.”
While it may seem like Square Enix have their hands full with smartphone titles, Matsuda also talks about how they will be releasing games for various platforms, from next generation consoles in PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, to handheld and PC, including titles that utilize cloud services, as a way to further expand their portfolio. Above all, he says that their most important focus will making games with Square Enix’s characteristics.
Famitsu points out that earlier this year, Square Enix had stated that their domestic development studios will be increasing their development in smartphone titles, so they ask Matsuda what will be happening to the many titles Square Enix offers, that have captured the hearts of fans through their beautiful graphics and strong storytelling elements.
“Domestic development will not be completely devoted to just smartphone devices,” emphasizes Matsuda. “For high-end devices such as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, we will continue focusing on them with our “flagship” titles. We’ve already announced Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, which our domestic studios are working on, and our foreign studios are working on a sequel for Tomb Raider.”
“I believe that such story-driven single player games are written in Square Enix’s DNA,” continues Matsuda. “On the other hand, for example, if we make a sandbox-style game, I believe we’d make it into something with an online feature.”
“However, even if the game is one that focuses on its storytelling, it won’t simply just end with us selling the package and leaving it, as I’d like to continue challenging [the market] with a new business model. The business of simply selling a single item package, has become very rough, so I believe that more ingenuity and innovation is required, now more than ever.”