The Square Enix You Once Knew is Changing
You see, SE knows it’s getting old and antiquated. They know they need to do something in the face of all these new fangled changes that are happening to the tech/media/entertainment industry at large. Square Enix Chief Executive Yoichi Wada tells Forbes all about Square’s new direction, where he admits that “Two things are clear: The distribution channels will change and the revenue model will change.”
So, what does Square Enix propose to do in the wake of these changes? Wada posed an example where, a game like Final Fantasy would be sold through digital distribution in $5 installments. Furthermore Wada reveals that his desire is to see the huge profit margins that companies like NCSoft, who make money selling virtual items in free-to-play games, enjoy. If Farmville can do it, why not Square Enix? Of course, this approach seems completely antithetical to what Final Fantasies are all about (or have become): huge production values and level of detail that you often only see in Hollywood blockbusters. To counter this, Wada says that the level of polish is in the eye of the beholder.
It gets worse. Wada says that “some element of multiplayer or social gaming will be incorporated into each title Square Enix produces, even titles that have traditionally been single-player.” It seems that the folks at Square Enix have been doing more of their “research” which concluded that games do not need storylines, this time concluding that games need to be multiplayer to be succesful. So, could we be seeing a multiplayer Final Fantasy sometime in the future? Who knows. Don’t be surprised when it hits, though. And if Final Fantasy 13 is any indicator, we’ll see that in spite of adhering to current “trends,” Square Enix will completely miss the point of what multiplayer is supposed to be all about. Hell, it doesn’t sound like they even have the judgement to realize that multiplayer should not be incorporated into every game.
“Frankly, the people who excelled at creating game software about 10 years ago are really not good at making multiplayer games,” Wada says. “We are striving to change the old culture, and as a part of such effort we are trying to bring in fresh blood.”
Eh. Some would argue that the Square Enix they once knew died a long, long time ago.