Sections

Wada partially blames FFXIV, and “weak communication,” for Square’s financial loss

Saturday, 14th May 2011 15:54 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

After announcing its financials for its last fiscal year, Square Enix boss Yoichi Wada told investors that the firm’s internal revamping will probably take one to two years to accomplish.

Going over the company’s ¥12 billion ($148 million) loss, Wada said ¥4.5 billion of it stemmed from domestic development as well as the reworking of its Final Fantasy XIV MMO, and the cancellation of multiple titles.

“Our game development has become weaker than expected,” said Wada. “Revamping it will take one or two years.”

Wada also chalked some of the losses up to “weak communication,” as he claimed some of the publisher’s creative leads failed to pass along his opinion to their subordinates. He also said there was a bit of a problem with the delegation and division of labor amongst the tech staff, who only wanted to work on their own duties and were overly protective of their roles.

To help get the firm out of the red, Wada said Square is considering a new billing platform, and plans to focus more on social network and smartphone titles. Wada said he was not sure whether those who work in the packaged end of development could make the switch; therefore, the firm plans on using external developers for these new titles.

Square also plans to double its major brands to around 10, and the development of new IP will take around three to five years.

Thanks, Andriasang.

Latest

16 Comments

  1. onlineatron

    Aka BAD GAMES.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Alakratt

    how about adding FF13 and all of those 360 exclusive shit titles in there huh?

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    @2

    FFXIII wasn’t a flop if anything it did as well as the previous FF sales. It should be pointed toward FFXIV for not knowing what the hell they were doing. Redevelopment and while doing redevelopment having no subscriptions to cover the costs of the original development so it all tacks on to the loss.

    http://www.destructoid.com/final-fantasy-xiii-sales-break-the-5-5-million-mark-173958.phtml

    #3 3 years ago
  4. TheWulf

    Personally, I blame every title that they’ve put out since Final Fantasy IX, they forgot what fantasy was at some point, or indeed, how to portray the fantastic. I used to love the Science-Fantasy genre that the Japanese are so good at, as seen in Final Fantasy IX, Skies of Arcadia, and stuff like that… and I used to buy every game like that, even if it was grind heavy.

    The problem is is that games that were as outright, unashamedly crazy as those just don’t exist any more, either that or they’re not being translated, and they’re just keeping their more ‘sane’ output for the Western world. But this is where marketing logic once again fails.

    Anyone who wants a more normal experience is going to buy a GTA or somesuch anyway and not a Final Fantasy, so the task of a Final Fantasy should be to be a typical Asian experience, not a Western one. But by making everything so average and uninspired out of the fear that it might alienate the Western audience, where apparently they feel most of their sales are, they’ve lost sales.

    I just really hope they can figure out why this is before too long. Then they might start putting out games that I actually want to play again. Imagine that.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. TheWulf

    @3

    It was a flop compared to the sales of IX and Final Fantasy games before it. In fact, I remember reading a while back that after somewhere around IX, each Final Fantasy game started selling less and less. To be honest, I think it’s fairly obvious as to why that is.

    I really hope Square-Enix figure out soon what I’ve had figured out for a long time.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Cygnar

    In my opinion, Square-Enix has a mistaken concept of innovation. Nary a Final Fantasy title in recent memory has failed to offer different mechanics from other games in the series, but very few of these differences have struck me as particularly meaningful in terms of gameplay. The sphere grid system, for example, seemed more like an oddly-shaped skill tree to me than anything else. The changes in XIII were also baffling to me at times. Did filling up a ‘victory’ gauge in fights against summon monsters really change the experience for anybody? Did XIV’s use of confusing terms (e.g. “Miqo’te” instead of “Mithra”) make the game feel different, or just sound different?

    While there are usually at least some refreshing changes, such ‘paradigm shifts’ and so on, to me it seems that these positive changes are consistently mired in other confusing rearrangements of familiar gameplay mechanics. While many of the current single-player Final Fantasy titles have stayed away from the combat system of VI, how many of the games since then would really have needed a different system? When I buy an RPG that promises a new experience, what I am looking for is something more than an unfamiliar way to do the same things I have been doing in the series for the last decade.

    Square-Enix can be honest with its customers and promise the familiar Final Fantasy gameplay it usually delivers, without having to worry too much about its bottom line. There are plenty of fans, I’m sure, who would be more than happy to play a Final Fantasy XV with the same combat system as VI, and they would not need it dressed up in confusing language to enjoy it. If the game is enjoyable on its own merits, no one needs to be ‘tricked’ into thinking it is something new and different. Not every FF title needs to sound completely different in terms of gameplay in order to remain worthwhile.

    As far as innovation is concerned, Square-Enix seems to spare no expense in terms of time and money in order to come up with outlandish characters and settings. However, in my opinion, it would do Square-Enix more good to make a familiar-looking game with new and different mechanics, rather than a familiar-playing game with new and different names for things. There is no problem with S-E taking risks, but there are safer risks to take than others. I hope the company learns something from its current slump.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Phoenixblight

    @5

    Oh yeah?

    THen when FFX was released why did it meet its expectations.

    http://www.gamespot.com/news/2843955.html

    http://www.1up.com/news/final-fantasy-xiii-breaks-franchise

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Fantasy_IX

    Which states that FFIX sold 5.3 mill units by 2003 thats 3 years after release. Where FFXIII beat that within its first year. Want to pull some more “facts” out of your butt?

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Alakratt

    @7

    comparing a console exclusive (FFIX) to a multiplatform release (FFXIII) is not really fair. Besides, FFXIII was the first next-gen FF, so everyone’s curiosity got the better of them, it was not until after they bought it that they realized how shit it was. Let SE pull a FFXIII again and see if they reach the same sales numbers. Here’s hoping FFXIII-2 isn’t linear as the first one.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Phoenixblight

    @8

    First Link provides infor for FFX and that it done better than FFIX.

    Wulf was saying that the franchise has been selling less after FFIX and I was just providing evidence proving otherwise. I am not going to debate over what FF was better. Each one offered its own unique game and thats how I see it. I enjoyed FFXIII for what it was and I will still be buying Versus and XIII-2. No FF has been a crushing disappointment so far other than FFXIV but thats a MMO.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. DaMan

    Actually, comparing multiplat FF 13 to old PS ones is totally fair, since the install base of 360 and PS3 combined are about the same as PSX / PS2 one was back then.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. jevonski

    @DaMan:

    I dunno on the one hand I think that’s right and on the other I think that back then games weren’t as mainstream as they are now with the internet and tv broadcasting ads and such.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. silkvg247

    Time for a rant. Square, maybe you should employ me as your new head of direction person because even I can do better than this.

    You should have re-made FFVII – it would have netted you millions. And by re-made I mean “don’t fuck up the perfectly fine combat system or story, just add CGI and update the graphics/sound”.

    FFXIII fails are as follows.

    1, Would have done better without the lousy combat system. Yes I would like to control my entire party. And yes, I’m fine with turn based, given that as an RPG fan that’s what I grew up on. Not this “hyper-random constant formation switching random roulette over if the AI does anything decent batshit fuckery mess”.

    2, The fact you tried to please both traditional story driven RPG’ers and nonlinear RPG fans was just ridiculous. You can’t split a game into two halves like that, it makes no sense. You end up alienating both audiences. Just stick with what worked and got you this far, amazing story, who cares if it’s linear (many good games are!). There’s a reason FFVII is the best loved in the series by most. The story, the characters. If it’s interesting then people will enjoy it.

    FFXIV I haven’t played personally but it looks like you made the following mistake; you kept every single flaw present in FFXI (which I have played) and added more. You didn’t look into western based MMO’s to see what works over here. You once again designed the game / controls / interface based on a console port rather than PC. BIG, HUGE MISTAKE. As for gameplay.. Although most people have a love/hate relationship with wow it wouldn’t have hurt you to take some basic principles that “work” from it. To be honest, a “difficult” version of wow, in a FF setting, would have been a far cry better than what you’ve released.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Deacon

    @12 – I think we’d all be a little disappointed if the first real FF of this gen had the very same ATB that was in FFVII.

    For myself, the battle system was XIII’s only saving grace!
    I must confess it was the only thing that kept me into the game, especially after the story dried up about a third of the way in.

    You’re absolutely right on point no. 2 though.
    The linearity wasn’t the problem, despite people slamming it for that.

    I still thoroughly enjoyed the game. As I have every other FF.

    I’ve always thought a Fran + Balthier game would sit pretty well amongst fans. Perhaps a prequel to FFXII and (if they really want to innovate in an RPG) perhaps even coop.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. silkvg247

    @ 13 – I’m 30+ hours into the game and still don’t get on with the combat system. I can come out of some fights with 0/5 stars even though I’m using the right characters, weapons and tactics as per various online guides. Why? Because it’s too flippin’ random. And then there’s the totally random deaths when your tank fails to taunt and every enemy decides to hit the main character.

    They tried to make the combat feel more like an action game, when in actuality you sometimes have so little control over the outcome it constantly frustrates. I would have preferred either turn based, or full action (as in you completely control your character, can hack, slash, cast spells etc).

    Personally I don’t see anything wrong with turn based, as I view RPG’s as a genre that I like to sit back and enjoy leisurely rather than stress over pressing the right buttons at the right time (as per almost evey single other genre out there). FFVI had a good mix of turn based and random arcade-style button pressing which I was fine with. Turn based but optionally pressing buttons to increase damage I’m also fine with.

    Out of interest what are your favorites in the series? Mine are FFII(IV) and FFIX, in that order. FFIX might be the last one I can truly say I “enjoyed” as it didn’t try to innovate, rather went back to it’s true fantasy roots and took all the best bits from it’s prequels.

    FFX was a massive dissapointment though I can’t pinpoint why (it probably has a lot to do with the main chara being a teenage brat), XII moreso because they decided to try and make it non linear so I lost interest right away – even though Fran/Balthier were awesome.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. OlderGamer

    How about FFLegends HD? Put out PS3/XB30/Wii collections Stick three or four games on each realease, repeat till done. Put out all games upto ps2 games this way then do PS2 games couple at a time.

    How about making consoles/PC your main focus instead of handhelds?

    How about just listening to fans? Find out what they want.

    How about explore PSN/Wii/Live for HD rereleases?

    #15 3 years ago
  16. silkvg247

    @15 – The trouble is they’ve already remade the originals so many times. There’s a limit to how many times their fans will purchase the same game with prettier graphics.

    That said, I’d certainly buy a bundle containing HD remakes of the SNES games (IV,V,VI). I’d also buy HD remakes of the PS1 games, even as individual packs (7,8,9).

    Everything after or before those 6 was a bit “meh” for me personally.

    #16 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.