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News Bloomberg: Square Enix CEO told analysts that the company is overhauling how it makes games and plan is to announce new structure by spring this year.

Wonder what this means for the development of games like KINGDOM HEARTS IV and Dragon Quest XII, wonder if anything will be internally delayed due to this structure change.
Probably not since those games are specifically what they say they want to fully focus on from now on.

They'll restructure around those projects if anything, and probably aim to get them out as soon as possible.
 
I'm not forecasting success (or failure) but this is what Squeenix needs to do. Whether it's corporate-speak for something else, I wouldn't be surprised
 
Square probably should make fewer smaller projects, it doesn't make sense.

They've pumped out so many, mostly full price, pretty average games that all roughly share the kind of target audience. It doesn't work, no one is buying 4 of those a year.
 
if it means getting more existing and future final fantasy games and other square enix franchises for nintendo platforms... 🤞
 
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Hopefully this means better quality control so they can avoid releasing absolute stinkers like Left Alive, Balan and The Quiet Man.


The smaller titles they released in the last few years were mostly great, it would be a shame to see their output decrease in the A and AA space.
 
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My soul will not rest if this somehow messes with the release of FF7R Part 3. I know Final Fantasy would probably be the last SE franchise to go, but if they go bankrupt or something before it comes out i will die an unhappy man.
FF7 Remake was literally Square's "in case of emergency, press button to print money plan" that people clamored after for years, I wouldn't worry about it in the slightest.

I have nothing but animosity for how Square has squandered the FF series, their isolated platform release strategy, the connected multimedia blitz of unmitigated trash, and their nonsensical lack of parity between releases of sometimes literally the same game- I'll be interested to see if they can right the ship, but I honestly don't care, they left me a long time ago.
 
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Bad, since there are rumors of this restructuring being linked to Square-Enix getting bought out by Sony.
It ironically would probably help with S-E’s not so great PC releases. Obviously Switch would suffer in turn, though. Still, I don’t put too much trust into these rumours.
 
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These acquisition rumors are nothing. They don't come from any massive publication that could actually know about this stuff (think Bloomberg), but from Era users pretending to somehow have access to the most secretive info of both Sega and Square. I'll believe it when I see it.

SE's console efforts require an overhaul though, that much is clear. A slimmer pipeline with higher quality control and higher marketing budgets, multi-platform and self-published as much as humanly possible. That's what they need on the console side of things to strengthen themselves.

Another can of worms, and what the core console gamer isn't necessarily considering, is their mobile segment. It's a big money maker for the company and it's been in decline for a while now. They went for the same shotgun approach that they employed on their AA console side of things and are now axing titles left and right, so I can't help but wonder what they'll be doing there. Will they try their hand at higher-effort initiatives meant to compete with the giants of the market? Simply keep up their strategy of launching and axing an avalanche of smaller projects? Or will they be (somewhat) down-scaling operations altogether.
 
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I hope they don't stop developing smaller AA games completely! Harvestella was really fun and I love how experimental and original a lot of these games were. Like others said, they just needed more space. Felt like from 2020-2022 they were releasing these games every other month.
 
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Square probably should make fewer smaller projects, it doesn't make sense.

They've pumped out so many, mostly full price, pretty average games that all roughly share the kind of target audience. It doesn't work, no one is buying 4 of those a year.
Hi, it's me, no one.
 
They’re going to space out their smaller releases by making fewer of them. As you say, they’ve already indicated that they will focus on bigger games going forward and it only makes sense. It’s smarter to focus their internal resources on games like FFXVI, FFVIIR, KH4 etc. because that’s actually what people want.
I'm not convinced that this is true—the heavier and heavier leaning toward AAA development, with its constantly increasing development cycles and constantly rising costs, especially with the diminishing returns of sales in their AAA offerings (FF7R1 sold very well, but 7M isn't impressive on a scale that can prop up an entire division spending that much money)

We need smaller stuff
 
These acquisition rumors are nothing. They don't come from any massive publication that could actually know about this stuff (think Bloomberg), but from Era users pretending to somehow have access to the most secretive info of both Sega and Square. I'll believe it when I see it.
They're also totally divorced from the current reality and demonstrate a mindset that is firmly stuck in a late 90's/early 00's understanding when Squaresoft could do no wrong. Which would completely track with the rumor originating from an enthusiast forum rather than actual knowledge or backed by any sort of analyst reporting.

Anything is possible, but Sony buying S-E is wishful thinking at best.
 
Not really much new from what they've already said really. What they are planning makes a ton of sense, just depends on how it shakes out.

On the AAA side, their profile is pretty slim since selling off Eidos. You basically only have two franchises(FF and KH) that could be reasonably considered AAA at this time. New IP efforts haven't landed. Meanwhile they tried to pump up DQ, but growth has been slow. They are seemingly doing the same with Mana now. Not sure where Foamstars falls in terms of budget.

On the AA and small games side, they've been releasing way too much, and with not a lot of quality control. There are absolutely some games that could have been trimmed over the last couple years, and some of those resources and marketing budgets could have gone elsewhere. Like Octopath Traveler 2 should have had a lot more marketing going for it, considering the quality of the game.
 
Meanwhile they tried to pump up DQ, but growth has been slow
XI was at 6 million sales as of 2020


It's doing fine. It's basically up there with some recent Final Fantasy installments (XV and VII Remake), Kingdom Hearts III, and Nier Automata.
 
I'm not convinced that this is true—the heavier and heavier leaning toward AAA development, with its constantly increasing development cycles and constantly rising costs, especially with the diminishing returns of sales in their AAA offerings (FF7R1 sold very well, but 7M isn't impressive on a scale that can prop up an entire division spending that much money)

We need smaller stuff
I could see an argument that their larger games are overbudgeted but they're also solid and reliable performers. Getting their pipeline in order so they can get FF, KH, DQ and Nier (or similar) out with a good cadence while keeping budgets in check should be their main aim. I'm not sure how smaller games could sustain their development teams either. The current strategy is clearly not working.
 
I could see an argument that their larger games are overbudgeted but they're also solid and reliable performers. Getting their pipeline in order so they can get FF, KH, DQ and Nier (or similar) out with a good cadence while keeping budgets in check should be their main aim. I'm not sure how smaller games could sustain their development teams either. The current strategy is clearly not working.
What I mean is that their mainstays may no longer be "reliable" performers. Nier Automata was 7 years ago and hasn't had another really big release since, and Final Fantasy is on a general downward trend—by all appearances, XVI has sold more in line with an N64-Wii era Zelda game, and we haven't heard a damn thing about it since it topped... what was it, 3M? FF7R1 obviously did better, but that's not consistent performance

I agree that their current strategy isn't working, but I don't think the solution is going to be doubling down on the leviathan development that carries such enormous risk per title and has resulted in lower and lower domestic sales over time. Japanese sales do merit some consideration, here, because domestic engagement with their software helps to drive people toward Square as an employer—a potential problem which is being faced by every Japanese AAA studio outside of Nintendo, and being actively addressed by very few (mostly Capcom)

I agree that the way Square handles smaller games right now doesn't work, but I'd argue that part of why it doesn't work is that Square manifestly doesn't care very much about those smaller games. I'd suggest a more radical solution: stop using "Look as Expensive as Possible" as their primary AAA aesthetic driver. We need more reasonably budgeted, scoped, and developed Final Fantasy games, not a doubling down on the principle that's making them experience a brain drain and inconsistent sales on their flagship titles

See? I'm a big boy. I didn't ask for an Ogre Battle collection or anything
 
I could see an argument that their larger games are overbudgeted but they're also solid and reliable performers. Getting their pipeline in order so they can get FF, KH, DQ and Nier (or similar) out with a good cadence while keeping budgets in check should be their main aim. I'm not sure how smaller games could sustain their development teams either. The current strategy is clearly not working.
Hey remember the days when you got a new Final Fantasy every 2 years and you liked it?

Yea, that's not happening ever again but it'd be nice
 
XI was at 6 million sales as of 2020


It's doing fine. It's basically up there with some recent Final Fantasy installments (XV and VII Remake), Kingdom Hearts III, and Nier Automata.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it did poorly or anything, just that growth from DQIX to XI was slow. It took a lot of time and extra platforms to get to 6 million, which is not much beyond what IX sold. Ideally I'm sure they love to get it closer to a AAA franchise WW that can hit those numbers a lot quicker and at full price.
 
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it did poorly or anything, just that growth from DQIX to XI was slow. It took a lot of time and extra platforms to get to 6 million, which is not much beyond what IX sold. Ideally I'm sure they love to get it closer to a AAA franchise WW that can hit those numbers a lot quicker and at full price.
Well sure, but trying to get DQ to sell better in the West is a project that's been ongoing ever since NoA notoriously took a bath over the first game 😂

And the same is true of Nier Automata which cracked 7.5 million with the help of the Switch port. FFXVI will get a nice kick in the pants too once it breaks out of the Sony ecosystem this year. Currently the only non-MMO FF game to beat OG FFVII's sales I think is XV although VIIR-1 is getting pretty close.
 
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Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it did poorly or anything, just that growth from DQIX to XI was slow. It took a lot of time and extra platforms to get to 6 million, which is not much beyond what IX sold. Ideally I'm sure they love to get it closer to a AAA franchise WW that can hit those numbers a lot quicker and at full price.
To be fair, IX got a LOT of marketing from Nintendo in particular in the West, which bolstered sales in a big way.

XI didn’t get that luxury until the Switch port, and even then it wasn’t anywhere near the level IX got.

XII is going to be interesting because we still have no idea what form the game is even in, let alone what consoles it will be on or what marketing will look like. If it were a major title for the Switch 2 with strong marketing, we could see some strong numbers I think.

Edit: Worth noting that if it launches as a PS5 timed exclusive, chances are good it would just follow the same trend that XI did… since it had the same pattern. That would be unfortunate for growth. I doubt they’d do that, but… you never know.
 
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it did poorly or anything, just that growth from DQIX to XI was slow. It took a lot of time and extra platforms to get to 6 million, which is not much beyond what IX sold. Ideally I'm sure they love to get it closer to a AAA franchise WW that can hit those numbers a lot quicker and at full price.
That would make sense if the other square franchise could hit those number quickly too but that’s not happening, all their big franchises are selling in that same ballpark of 7-10 mil with heavy discounting, and their last 10mil seller was 10 years ago. Square AAA output has been really underwhelming sales wise, especially ff16 which was tailor made to be the big breakout hit for the franchise and let’s just say it wasn’t. The problem is that their AAA projects are not selling up to the standard of the industry while costs are rising, so they either need a huge hit or they probably need to scale back.
 
What I mean is that their mainstays may no longer be "reliable" performers. Nier Automata was 7 years ago and hasn't had another really big release since, and Final Fantasy is on a general downward trend—by all appearances, XVI has sold more in line with an N64-Wii era Zelda game, and we haven't heard a damn thing about it since it topped... what was it, 3M? FF7R1 obviously did better, but that's not consistent performance

I agree that their current strategy isn't working, but I don't think the solution is going to be doubling down on the leviathan development that carries such enormous risk per title and has resulted in lower and lower domestic sales over time. Japanese sales do merit some consideration, here, because domestic engagement with their software helps to drive people toward Square as an employer—a potential problem which is being faced by every Japanese AAA studio outside of Nintendo, and being actively addressed by very few (mostly Capcom)

I agree that the way Square handles smaller games right now doesn't work, but I'd argue that part of why it doesn't work is that Square manifestly doesn't care very much about those smaller games. I'd suggest a more radical solution: stop using "Look as Expensive as Possible" as their primary AAA aesthetic driver. We need more reasonably budgeted, scoped, and developed Final Fantasy games, not a doubling down on the principle that's making them experience a brain drain and inconsistent sales on their flagship titles

See? I'm a big boy. I didn't ask for an Ogre Battle collection or anything
I don't really think we can take FFXVI's somewhat muted sales performance as an indication of how well Final Fantasy can do under more ideal conditions but either way it doesn't look like they're going all in on AAA development. It's more likely that we're going to see fewer titles across the board with hopefully higher average quality. Which also means fewer projects like Forspoken and Babylon's Fall, obviously.
 
Bad, since there are rumors of this restructuring being linked to Square-Enix getting bought out by Sony.
? Square has been collaborating a ton with Nintendo this entire generation, no way Square leave right before they make a console powerful enough for all their modern games
 
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In all seriousness I am the mark that SE tries to hit with their AA releases so this really bums me out if they are moving away from those. 2022 was a really fun year with Harvestella, Valkyrie Elysium, Star Ocean 6, Centennial Case, Stranger of Paradise, etc. Stack on top of that the remasters/remakes of like Live A Live and Tactics Ogre and it was just a sweet time to be into those kinds of games. Too bad most of these had terrible marketing and release windows cannibalizing each other. Asking full price for all of them to already skeptical people didn't help either. Every single one of those games is actually just good to outstanding, so it's a real shame most of them ended up being rejected critically or commercially. I do agree they need to tighten up and spread these out more, but it's a shame if those get killed off for the most part. I already fully expect budget experiments like Dungeon Encounters to never see the light of day too, which is just depressing.

If this all happens and we just end up with more Babylon Falls and Forspokens I am going to maybe lose my mind for a second. It's not like their other AAA games are particularly great either, but I can at least live with those + Asano being the core pillars while maybe more Harvestellas sneak through.
 
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Hey remember the days when you got a new Final Fantasy every 2 years and you liked it?

Yea, that's not happening ever again but it'd be nice
That's basically what we've been getting with Team Asano/CBUII. Octopath, Bravely Default II, Octopath II all came out within a seven year period. Add in Live-A-Live and Triangle Strategy and they're actually more productive than Square was at its height.

Looking at the article itself, it seems like it's hinting at an overhaul of the mobile game development pipeline, since as far as I'm aware most SE mobige are outsourced and that's what SE claims they're addressing. As has been mentioned, their mobile output is fairly scattershot, and they've got several that they feel are underperforming.

I hope that this is about mobile and not about their smaller dev teams. Team Asano, the SaGa folks and others are making games I actually want to play.
 
I don't really think we can take FFXVI's somewhat muted sales performance as an indication of how well Final Fantasy can do under more ideal conditions but either way it doesn't look like they're going all in on AAA development. It's more likely that we're going to see fewer titles across the board with hopefully higher average quality. Which also means fewer projects like Forspoken and Babylon's Fall, obviously.
Yeah, I think the strength of their big IPs is still there. A FF17 that doesn't take 7-8 years to come out and is a multi-platform launch (assuming that that's actually what made 16 do "just ok") could pull solid numbers.

I'm seeing a lot of the old "AAA is unsustainable" horn being tooted when that's definitely not been the case for a publisher like Capcom, for example. SE's big-budget, Japan-made games outside of Forspoken have all been ok to good/great performers.

I don't know where folks are getting this impression of AAA meaning doom for Square other than projecting what's happening to other publishers, and doing so with a helping of confirmation bias no less.

@Jimmy Joe I definitely agree with you on AAA being risky. I see where your argument comes from and I think there's plenty of truth to what you're saying. Yes they need to scope AAA stuff carefully, yes they need to remain an attractive employer to Japanese developers, but keep in mind that AAA is also the avenue with the highest possible returns on the single-player non-gaas side of gaming. That's why publishers that have the means to chase the high-budget dragon do go after it.

I'm rambling once again but I'm all for SE being more picky with what they put out, whether it's AAA or mid-sized. To put it in a very monkey-brained, down to earth way: If we get 2 AAA games a year instead of 1 and 3 mid-sized AA titles insted of 6 I don't think the world will come crashing down, quite the opposite if anything.
 
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Looking at the article itself, it seems like it's hinting at an overhaul of the mobile game development pipeline, since as far as I'm aware most SE mobige are outsourced and that's what SE claims they're addressing. As has been mentioned, their mobile output is fairly scattershot, and they've got several that they feel are underperforming.

I hope that this is about mobile and not about their smaller dev teams. Team Asano, the SaGa folks and others are making games I actually want to play.
Mobile would make some sense. They had a string of shutdown announcements in the final months of 2023 and there hasn't been any announcements of new titles to fill those gaps as usually happens with that revolving door of a business model. Or at least no announcements that have reached English sites that cover the JP market.
 
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Could be good news, could be bad news. Are they going to focus more on large FFXVI/FFVIIR type of high-cost blockbuster titles, or put more focus on regular smaller budget games like those from Team Asano and mobile output. Where they don't really need the type of huge sales numbers to recoup the costs of development and long development times.
 
Could be good news, could be bad news. Are they going to focus more on large FFXVI/FFVIIR type of high-cost blockbuster titles, or put more focus on regular smaller budget games like those from Team Asano and mobile output. Where they don't really need the type of sales numbers for something smaller than something larger just to recoup the costs of development.
I think this is aimed less at Asano’s stuff, and more Harvestella, Voice of Cards, Diofield Chronicle etc. SE have been very prolific the last few years, and while I haven’t played anything they released that I thought was bad, I suspect they want to consolidate stuff a bit to have more quality control to allow new IP to launch in better condition. Rather than launch a barrage of new games and then have half of them immediately disappear without a trace and the other half have a list of issues in reviews. There was no reason for Diofield to be in the state it was, as an SRPG from SE it should have been a lot more polished.
 
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