Breaking News: Somebody Loaned Square Enix a Brain
Wow, where did this come from?
For years, fans of the former Squaresoft and especially the revered Final Fantasy franchise have looked on with consternation as Square Enix made one bad decision after another. These decisions, aimed at embracing a global audience, resulted in massive losses incurred in 2013. Now, after the success of a little game called Bravely Default, the company is finally starting to see the light.
During a recent Nikkei Trendy interview (as translated by Siliconera), Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda said the company "lost its focus" when they tried to create games for a worldwide audience:
"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. On the other hand, there are games like the JRPG we made for the Japanese audience with the proper elements, Bravely Default, which ended up selling well all around the world."
But that's not all. Matsuda took it a step further and arrived at the most logical conclusion. Consumers have been screaming this for years, and it's ridiculous that it took this long for Square Enix to figure it out. But figure it out they have.
"If you focus too much on the global aspect, you might lose sight of who you’re actually making the game for."
Basically, he said they want to "go back to their roots" and focus once again on the core audience; i.e., the followers they earned producing actual role-playing games and in general, products that did indeed cater to a more niche audience. That audience never disappeared; they were just left in limbo while Square Enix tried to drag in a bunch of gamers who were never interested - and never would be interested - in things like JRPGs.
A fool's errand, I've always said. And if the recently released Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster also sells well in the Western regions, it will be more proof that in fact, fans never wanted such drastic changes to a legendary series. All you did was alienate them, while unsuccessfully targeting an audience who never cared in the first place.
Ah, but that doesn't work, now does it? Now maybe we'll get a Final Fantasy that can actually qualify as Final Fantasy. And more games like Bravely Default can't hurt, either.