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Square Enix focusing on JRPGs again

by William Schwartz

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Once upon a time, in a generation long ago, there was a company known as Squaresoft that primarily developed Japanese RPGs. Ranging from Final Fantasy to Chrono Trigger to Xenogears, Squaresoft was a haven for JRPGs. However, things began to  change after Squaresoft lost money due to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and with the merger with Enix. Square Enix began to focus on expanding their audience, which wasn’t as successful as they hoped. However, following the huge worldwide success of Bravely Default, Square has said they are starting to focus on “heavy JRPGs” again.

Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda told Nikkei Trendy, “Not just limited to games for smartphone or console, but we do have some global titles lined up. However, regardless of whether they’re for smartphone or console, there’s a difficult element to developing global titles, so we’ll be making them without focusing too much on the ‘global’ aspect.

“For example, in the past, when we developed console games with a worldwide premise, we lost our focus, and not only did they end up being games that weren’t for the Japanese, but they ended up being incomplete titles that weren’t even fit for a global audience,” he added.

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Matsuda pointed towards titles like Hitman: Absolution as an example of Square Enix losing their way by focusing on expanding towards a global audience. As such, Square will focus on creating content for their core audience. “Due to having split [the development mindset] according to regions around the world, we weren’t able to see this clearly up until now, but fans of JRPGs are really spread around the world,” Matsuda explained.. “Through the means of various networks, the latest information that is announced in Japan is instantaneously being spread across fans throughout the world. Whether it’s North America, Europe, or South America. There really isn’t much of a gap [in the relay of information].”

He finished by saying, “”With that in mind, and all of the collective fans, there’s a sense of mass, which loses the image of a niche market. For the new games we’ll be developing from this point on, while this may sound a bit extreme, we’ve been talking about making them as heavy JRPGs. I believe that way, we can better focus on our target, which will also bring better results.”

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