New Square Enix president promises a review of the company

Yosuke Matsuda says he'll look at the publisher and squeeze out what doesn't work.

by

New Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda has promised a fundamental review of the publisher.

"After having succeeded the important role as the president, I plan on reviewing all Square Enix duties, business and assets on a zero-based budgeting standpoint," Matsuda explained in a briefing to investors (via Siliconera).

Matsuda became Square Enix president last week following the resignation of Yoichi Wada amid the announcement of "extraordinary losses" in the company's financial report. Wada had held the role for over a decade.

"I'd like to fundamentally review what works and what doesn't work for our company," continued Matsuda, "then cast all of our resources towards extending what makes us successful and thoroughly squeezing out what doesn't."

Phil Rogers, the current CEO of Square Enix Europe, will be promoted to company director and assist Matsuda.

Yoichi Wada will remain at the company in a non-managerial role. "I will be retiring from the line of management, but I plan to work on site as a way to pay my debt to the company," he said.

Last week Square Enix blamed the poor performance of its titles in America and Europe for its unsatisfactory revenue, and instigated a major restructuring process that the company expects will lead to a loss of 10 billion yen for the financial year ending March 31.

The publisher is currently working on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and HD versions of Final Fantasy X and X-2. A new Final Fantasy announcement has been promised for E3 2013, and Square Enix is also in charge of Eidos Montreal's next-gen reboot of Thief, which is due for release in 2014.

Discussion

321 comments
malfestus
malfestus

Yoichi Wada was running the company into the ground, and Square Enix needs to stop doing Reboots if they aren't going to keep what the fans loved about the franchises they reboot.

gbernalesp
gbernalesp

I think that saying that Tomb Raider is a failure implies that Square Enix have done very little analysis in this issue., because:

1) They haven't considered online downloads, which nowadays is an essencial sales channel, 
2) It has only been a month since the game release
3) All the costs associated to game development, characters, technology, movements, etc, can be considered as an investment for the continuity for the franchise, therefore the future Tomb Raider games would have a considerably lower cost of production making them very easy to be profitable. They could release one title per year like Assassin's Creed, making the subsecuent games very profitable.

Considering all this I think the only explanation for Square Enix declaration is that they needed an excuse to change the CEO, and they blame it on an excellent game who already has sold millions of copies. I hope this doesn't stop the production of future Tomb Raider games.

JRLennis
JRLennis

I want to believe that Square-Enix will get back to their roots, but I think the more likely course Matsuda will follow is one in which the big-budget single-player experience will be a thing of the past.  If even well-reviewed (mostly) single-player games can't sell at the level competing multiplayer games can, then why keep making them?


Of course, I know what the score is.  Square-Enix's problems have been years in the making, and they are due more to their own mistakes than anything their competition has done.  The reason sales are low in North America is because Square-Enix's reputation in the west is pretty much shot.  They could be forgiven for Final Fantasy XIII, but Final Fantasy XIV was an unmitigated disaster.  Worse than that are the inexplicable delays in Versus XIII, which is so many years behind schedule now that people have stopped caring.  Worst of all is the assertion that they cannot remake Final Fantasy VII until a new title can surpass it in sales; a statement that is as mystifying as it is defeatist.  The name Square-Enix has become synonymous with bad PR, and that is a very hard thing to recover from - especially in the United States.  When the name of your flagship product elicits scoffs rather than elation you have a serious problem.

I would go so far as to suggest a name-change may be in order, in addition to whatever other reforms Matsuda is contemplating.  Nothing but the most radical of changes is likely to right this ship.

CecilChups
CecilChups

I expect them to only make Final Fantasy games now. Since those games sell the most for that company.

Game crash. Hurry up please.

1blackone
1blackone

Don't the people at Square ever wonder why Tecmo Koei and Konami RPG franchises have been able to catch thier relative footing during the combination of a global economic recession and a migration from western gamers to western studios?


Because those companies never tried to desperately-patronizingly- pander and flail at a fleeing fan-base *co-Capcom-ugh*. They stuck to their roots.

They stayed with the Bright colors and anime aesthetic, tried an true eastern tropes (especially the "secret-princess" and "girl scientist" ones), even the basic " the old must sacrifice for the young" and the "friendship is power!" themes. 

Essentially stuck to their guns they allowed for their Japanese games to REMAIN Japanese. 

Hell, Nuni No Kuni turned it all the way up to Miyazaki level and its considered, ironically, a breath of FRESH air.

Just as a rule: Let western assets you've bought do what they want and make your Native franchises make the game they would have made 12 years ago. (minus the zany-token-ethnic guy trope, that one needs to have died with FF7)

Eraldus
Eraldus

Make the Final Fantasy series go back to it's roots!

Is that asking too much?

Rimsa_Laded
Rimsa_Laded

Tell em to stop publishing american games!

nic1357
nic1357

less iPhone/Crystal Chronicles crap, more Vagrant Story/Final Fantasy VI please.

Evil_Rage
Evil_Rage

They need to ditch the multiplayer nonsense with hitman and tomb raider. Seriously.  Single player focused games like hitman and tomb raider should NOT have multiplayer, they should have been expanded to be big open world sandboxes full of sidequests and a main quest, but lots of room to explore at the very least, especially with current PC technology. As for DLC there should be additional content like new areas to explore with new quests, new weapons, equipment like costumes, outfits, etc;  more content in general, not map packs.

El_Galant
El_Galant

I wonder what is going to happen to the next Hitman & Just Cause 3...

CItizenTaylor
CItizenTaylor

Just stop making bullshit Final Fantasies. And go back to releasing the next numbered one every few years, without sequels. Like you did when everyone actually liked you.

JulyAeon
JulyAeon

ditch the moronic marketing, bring back true genre, i am sick of lollipops being offered when i am hungry for steak ! 

Enforcer246
Enforcer246

All they have to do is just start making FF games with the same effort they put into FF10.

sabresieben
sabresieben

Step 1: Pull head out of arse

Step 2: Release Final Fantasy Versus XIII

Step 3: Profit

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

To me, Square Enix was always a synonim of high quality games; The problem is at the creativity sector, the series that made them famous, like Final Fantasy, has been on a route that the crowd didn't approve from the first game (XIII), and for some reason they did not just made a sequel for it, they made a triology. Then there was that MMO, XIV, which I don't even know how to get started with the huge ammount of resources needed to produce one, and they failed miserably, which to me is an insanity of how did they manage not notice how much it sucked! All this time and they did not try the game! Seriously! And what of Kingdom Hearts? Saying by the way it's like my favorite series after Mass Effect, the guys were doing perfect with the PS2, then came the GBA game (ok, they re-released it later for the PS2), but then there was a game for the phone, then on the DS, then on the PSP, now on the 3DS!! And they aren't spinoffs, they are actual part of the story! Very few people would get all consoles for a single game, which means the fans who were actually waiting to play it on their PS3s got a huge middle-finger. Also the gameplay on those platforms were horrible in comparision to a console gamepad, and the gameplay of that series was like the attractive factor for it. What of Versus? You have a huge fan-base raising their hands to the sky with money to get it, what do you do? NAH, let's invest on shit they don't really want!


Seriously Square, you disappoint me with every step you take, last decent game I played was Final Fantasy XII in 2006, 7 years without a single good work (okay Dissidia was 7.5~8.0 to me) will, no matter how great your company is, crumble. I really hope that you do this dev-cleansing there because there is certainly an ammount of airheads there beyond human comprehension. 

kohle36
kohle36

If SE needs an internal review to figure out what's wrong, they have bigger problems than NA and European sales figures

Breyant
Breyant

What doesn't work? Lightning.

What does work? Lara.

elessarGObonzo
elessarGObonzo

pretty much saying anything that doesnt make huge profit will be scrapped. what happened to video games being a form of art? anything worth a damn is still gonna be scrapped if it doesnt make the 1000% profit "target".

cspark809
cspark809

Honestly, I think the problem of square-enix is that they keep remaking or republishing same games over and over again. Another thing, at least eidos are trying to do something new, but look at square enix main flagship game Final Fantasy, thing just feel to old and it just not good.

tmthywtsn
tmthywtsn

Yes also review prior petitions from fans of Final Fantasy VII for a remake of the game.

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

This is our chance...

Things that don't work:

-Making mind-insulting iPhone microtransaction "games"

-Showing cool looking things and not releasing them.

-Releasing cool things and not localizing them.

-Releasing too many sequels of not so cool things.

franzito
franzito

Now they want to "squeeze out what doesn't work"... why not start with greedy executives? Because I hardly believe the people who makes the game happen (dev team I guess) is to blame. This a managerial problem, it's far from the simplistic and naive "they did bad games and now they need to launch good ones"! Dig deeper.

vivalatour
vivalatour

I am disabled and unable to perform my previous profession as a carpenter so you will have to excuse me , and I would greatly appreciate it if you don't try to squeeze me out ! or I will give you karate chops across your neck !

slainta
slainta

Wanna fix SE problems? Hire more people in the RPGs team. Deliver FF vs XIII NOW on PS3. Give back the Japanese soul to FF games. Enough with western crappy music for starting. Make KH 3, do some reboots of the best IPs SE has got. Like Soul Reaver.

Taz_12_Dave
Taz_12_Dave

Looking forward to the next Tomb Raider game.

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

bring FF back to its roots.  take out the teenage pop star influence, the linear gameplay, and make it a true open-world, historical fantasy that it used to be.

JustArtificial
JustArtificial

FF7 remake. As much as I am a fanboy of that game, no one can deny just how much money that game will rake in. Of course, remake 6 (though better than how they have done).

It may take a long time to make. It may be so good, that no other game can compete with it. But it's an awful excuse, to say "we won't remake it, because we know we can't make anything better".

Not only, listen to what everyone wants. Tomb Raider SINGLE PLAYER DLC. Hitman Absolution CLASSIC MAP PACK. Sleeping Dogs NEW GAME+ (which adds value to every aspect, DLC as well, which would entice others to get the DLC).

Albaficas
Albaficas

stop making crappy FF wannabe western

bring back the magic FF used to be before ff12


cant wait the new FF announce they promise for ps4 hope its the exclusive ff which is versus

jurk182
jurk182

Yeah I'm sure it was the  US games that lost the money and not the eleventy trillion dollars they spent on Final Fantasy XIII II 4 Part 9.

rann89
rann89

New president? Time for mass layoffs.

moe050
moe050

FF13 being linear didn't really bother me... but if it's linear it NEEDS to be one hell of an amazing story with awesome characters and things consistently occurring. if not, you get a bunch of underwhelmed annoyed customers.

if push really comes to shove... it's time for that official remake of 7 lol (and hopefully 8 if that that case lol).

seriously, get a memorable, awesome MC and Antagonist.

the reason why so many people are interested in FF Versus.... because Noctis looks like a total BEAST and badass (+ awesome trailer).... that's why.

when characters gained voices, the necessity for a very good story and awesome characters increased. it's hard for me to articulate this point, so i'll digress... but this played it's part too.

Zeronz112
Zeronz112

Stop making retardedly linear FF games a 4 year old could play. Atleast on FFVII or VIII you can fly around in the ship, walk the main map and explore different cities, sure the maps weren't very "open ended" but it wasnt a straight line like playing final fantasy XII. Having linear games with no story choices was acceptable in 1998 because the technology wasn't all there to make such a huge game with multiple endings and scenarios. There is NO excuse for such things in todays markets. Having a FF game where you can actually MAKE CHOICES, and craft your OWN story would be amazing, instead of all this "go here, do this and only this"

Start doing HD remakes of your previous best sellers that now look like crap, (PSX days, final fantasy VII-IX, Chrono cross), and not the games still playable by todays standards(the HD remake of FFX and XII they are making.) Stop putting out MMO's that no body cares about, and PUT OUT A DAMN TRAILER OF KH 3! sure fire way to get your company "back on track"

gosoloboy
gosoloboy

Bring back Brave Fencer Musashi from PS1! Not the PS2 Crap!

moe050
moe050

the things missing from FF right now are awesome/epic characters i think and this needs to come from both sides - good guy characters and/or bad guy characters. the #1 reason FF7 was so amazing is because of 1) Sephiroth 2) Cloud and the band. 8 was successful due to 7's popularity and because people began to see Squall was an amazing character with depth, who grew (personally, he's my favorite FF character). 9 got back to roots and therefore had a classic lore - additionally it had the interesting Zidane, the strange Kuja (who "owned" by destroying a world lol), and Vivi (who people fell in love with). 10 had great characters in Tidus, Yuna, Auron (sp?)... and was the first PS2 FF so there was a lot of anticipation... especially considering the previous 3 games before it. I can't really speak much on the FF titles before 7, but I know that there's plenty of memorable characters in those games.

12... people loved it almost only because the "feel" of the game. Balthier was cool, but he wasn't THE main character... Vaan was, and I swear he didn't even begin to leave a positive lasting impression on me. coincidentally, this is the first one I didn't finish... tother things got in the way, but that's part of the point. no way who i have allowed things to get ih the way with previous titles.

13 had cool characters but they weren't nearly as impactful as past ones mentioned. there was also no enemy/thing/presence to really focus on. considering how long it took for a new FF to come out, this isn't good. sooo many years without an epic bad guy is far too long, and hurts the series. i liked lightning, but considering the main ppl buying and playing FF titles are males it may be a good idea to get back to a male as the lead character. when people play RPGs one of the things they like to do the most is relate to the main character. this is a lil harder to do when you're a guy controlling a female lead - even if she is a badass.

other people have mentioned good points, but I think the characters themselves need to be gotten back to.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Step 1: Cancel FF14 immediately.  Don't spend a single cent more on that black hole.

Step 2: Cancel all FF13 games immediately and do not produce any more.

Step 3:  Localize your games.  Type-0 and Bravely Default haven't been released why?

Step 4: Stop making retarded HD collections of every game you've ever made and make new games.  Where is Kingdom Hearts 3?

Step 5: Stop making shitty mobile games designed around microtransaction bullshit.  What are you, EA?

Step 6: Stop porting games you've already ported 5 times already.  Do you need to waste more time making FF4 available on yet another platform?  How about porting games that people haven't played before, like, I dunno, Seiken 3?

Step 6: Make solid RPGs.  A new Secret of Mana game would work.  Or a new Chrono Trigger?

Step 7: Stop calling games which sell millions of copies failures.  You look like idiots.

Step 8: Stop spending 90% of your budgets making new engines or amazing graphics.  Your development costs are too high.  You could make a 2D game every once in a while.

JamDev
JamDev

@Evil_Rage Tomb Raider and Hitman are not the problem, SE were just trying to shift the blame. Their losses have come from their Japanese franchises, their western franchises have actually been profitable.

lightningff
lightningff

@Evil_Rage i 100% agree they should have ditch multiplayer in tomb raider in favor for a longer story singe player campaign and a larger world to explore.

lightningff
lightningff

@Breyant no lightning does work it's just the stupid nostagic ff fanboys that cry over everything because its not like there beloved ff7 and they just can't take that lightning is a better character then their cloud and shes a girl and that hurts them. But Lara is still a much better character and se need to start fouse more on her. Square enix saying the tomb radiar has poor sales is nothing more then them trying to shift the blame to some one eles, se just stop blaming everyone else for your Mistakes.

nic1357
nic1357

@queuing_for_PS4 you should be directing this comment towards Eidos seeing as they developed both games.

slainta
slainta

@queuing_for_PS4 Sorry buddy, but it is actually Uncharted the copycat of the original TR games. Well, with the addition of far too much shooting. And I say this as a Playstation fan. 

JamDev
JamDev

@jurk182 Exactly, people are really buying this bullshit about TR and Hitman not meeting targets as if that's where their losses come from. Both games sold well and were profitable, it's the abortive attempts at making a FF MMO and the endless development and resources they are throwing at the FF series in general that's killing them.

Zeronz112
Zeronz112

@moe050 even if they don't want to remake VII  atleast make VII-2 or base it on Advent children, maybe even after that. I Guarantee almost everyone whose played VII will buy it if they did a half decent job on it. Heck i'd buy the HD remake on PSN if they wanted to be lazy and copy the mods already available on the PC version, just add some new background textures and they're done.

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

@Thanatos2k Everything you say here is right on the money..cant believe SE hasnt figured half of this out....

CItizenTaylor
CItizenTaylor

@lightningff No, Lightning and every other character in the XIII universe are whingy and pathetic.

guahiatt
guahiatt

@queuing_for_PS4 @Taz_12_Dave please, enlighten us.

For real, I'd like you to develop that statement

moe050
moe050

@Zeronz112 @moe050 yup. that should at least be the back up plan if they're really hurting for cash. it will work like a charm too.

and because of YLOD i was hoping for a KH HD collection but never got it -_-

i think most RPG fans like amazing graphics in CG scenes... but don't require regular gameplay to be super high level.... at least they didn't before getting spoilled by games that prioritized the look, over the characters, story, and "feel"


slainta
slainta

@IanNottinghamX @Thanatos2k Because half of it is crap. Cancel FF XIV? It is a joke, right? As for canceling FF XIII-3. They are nearly ready, should SE throw them away? 

Same for the "retarded" HD collections. They cost little and they can bring good revenue. I am personally looking forward for FF X HD, and so seem to be many other people. 

As to stop about producing new engines and make 2D games. The new Luminous engine is supposed to cut development costs by 30%. And please, if you want a company to fail just make them producing again ugly 2D games. The so over rated FF VI looks and plays like crap. 

CItizenTaylor
CItizenTaylor

@lightningffLike all the characters in XIII, all her lines are overly dramatic, badly written, and just plain derpy. Future female lead: just don't be like this. 

lightningff
lightningff

@CItizenTaylor i will agree with you that there a lot of pathetic characters in ff13 universe in fact lightning is the only character i like in the ff13 universe. I've played a lot of the older final fantasy games and i do know where you are coming from. But lightning is an awesome character she's such a badass, could you explain what makes lightning pathetic and give me some honest reasons not nostalgic fanboys logic. Also if a new ff comes out where there is a female lead again what would you what to see with the female lead character.

slainta
slainta

@Thanatos2k @slainta @dsmpunk We'll see. FF XIV didn't make it to PS3 before the failure, so many PS3 gamers like me are still much curios about it and ready to subscribe. And once it will come out it will get a completely fresh start, with a new name, new reviews and a base that bought the original game already. If it is much improved as it is obviously supposed to be it can still attract many gamers.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@slainta @dsmpunk FF14 is a disaster and they shouldn't spend one more cent on it and cut their losses.

A failed MMO has never recovered.  EVER.  It won't happen here.

slainta
slainta

@dsmpunk The've put too much money into FF XIV because it failed. That has been the main reason of SE financial losses. The director screwed up and has been replaced. FF XIV if properly done will bring excellent revenue, which will replace the ones of the popular FF XI.

And yes, I played FF VI with an emulator and I was just pressing space with the turbo on when fighting.  I started replaying it on PS3, I've got at half of it but it is too bleeding slow with far too many boring random encounters for my nerves. I can't judge the story much because after wasting hours fighting for nothing I lose track of it. Sorry but I gave up gaming for 10 years because I was sick of dated 2D slow junk. I came back playing only when the Playstation with its gorgeous 3D gaming finally saw the light. It was like resurrection to me.

dsmpunk
dsmpunk

They put way too much money into ff14 to let it die now. They made a shit game the first time around, but ARR is looking solid.  Lots of people cut their teeth on FFXI and they will get a lot of subs especially from jpn if they play their cards right.


Take FF back to its SNES roots and make some NEW JRPGs.  Why aren't they making new dragon warrior games on the big boy systems?  They seem to sell well on the mobile platforms.  There is an ENIX part of Squaresoft right?


Slainta - Did you play FF6?  Its an amazing battle system with some of the best storytelling in the series. It doesn't need a remake agreed, but its hardly overrated.  Of course opinions are like assholes.. :)