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Square Enix Admits Company 'Lost Focus’ on Core Audience

Posted on Monday, March 31 @ 11:00:00 Eastern by Alex_Osborn


Following the success of the 3DS exclusive JRPG Bravely Default, it has become readily apparent to Square Enix that gamers would much rather prefer the company to release games that cater to the core, rather than attempting to appeal to a wider crowd with middling results.

In an interview with Nikkei Trendy (via Siliconera) Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda admitted that the publisher has made some poor decisions in the past in an effort to cater to a larger audience. 

"If you focus too much on the global aspect, you might lose sight of who you're actually making the game for," he explained. "For example, if you look back at 2013, we've had some home console games made for a global audience that struggled."

Matsuda then went on to cite Hitman: Absolution as a prime example, adding:

The development team for Hitman: Absolution really struggled in this regard. They implemented a vast amount of 'elements for the mass' instead of for the core fans, as a way to try getting as many new players possible.

It was a strategy to gain mass appeal. However, what makes the Hitman series good is its appeal to core gamers, and many fans felt the lack of focus in that regard, which ended up making it struggle in sales.

So, as for the AAA titles we're currently developing for series, we basically want to go back to their roots and focus on the core audience, while working hard on content that can have fans say things like 'this is the Hitman we know'. I believe that is the best way for our development studios to display their strengths.

The Square Enix exec also discussed its more recent Japanese-centric games, noting that the titles that tried to incorporate western elements for the sake of global appeal not only failed to resonate with gamers in Japan, but also the gaming public at large.

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.

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.

Here's to hoping this means that Final Fantasy XV is a return to form for Square's long-running role-playing franchise.
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