Square Enix has great games but doesn't know how to sell them, says former exec

Eidos Montreal founder Stephane D'Astous said "last year was supposed to be a home-run season"; downplays Thief development issues.


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Square Enix has great games, but doesn't know how to sell them, according to Eidos Montreal founder Stephane D'Astous, who left the company on Friday.

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The publisher "has some things to learn about how to sell their games," D'Astous told Polygon in a new interview.

"We are in a situation that we have great games that could have sold more," he said. "They need to attack that very, very seriously," he said. "Last year was supposed to be a home-run season, but we didn't hit a single home run; maybe a double or a triple, but they weren't home runs."

Hitman: Absolution (3.6 million), Tomb Raider (3.4 million), and Sleeping Dogs (1.75 million) all failed to reach sales targets for Square Enix. President Yoichi Wada resigned in March amid the company posting an "extraordinary" financial loss.

D'Astous cited this financial shortcoming as a reason for leaving the company, as well as "divergent opinions" on what must be done to turn the ship around.

"The lack of leadership, lack of courage, and the lack of communication were so evident, that I wasn't able to conduct my job correctly," D'Astous said. "I realized that our differences were irreconcilable, and that the best decision was unfortunately to part ways."

D'Astous also discussed reports that Eidos Montreal's latest project, Thief, has struggled through a troubled development. He said these reports were "blown out of proportion."

"Thief has been a long project," he said. "Some of your articles [about the game's development] were a little bit harsh. If you take into perspective every different element, it was blown out of proportion in some aspect. Every triple A has its up and downs and I guess we were exposed more to the public when we were at the bottom of the barrel. That was a long time ago."

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