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Square Enix Facing Big Losses For 2010

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.

Businesses 210

eldavojohn writes "It's no secret that Final Fantasy XIV took a lot of heat early on, which required extensive damage control. And the Japanese tsunami (which appears to have added $7.5 million to their losses) certainly didn't help. But if what early investor reports are saying is true, then Square Enix is expected to report $148 million in losses for the closing fiscal year. Expect title cancellations (which might add to the hurt) and a very painful realization for the owner of Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior (PDF). Perhaps a move to re-releasing classics will prove more fruitful than high development cost MMORPGs?"

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Worst merger, ever (2)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115694)

In square-enix, the square is silent.

Re:Worst merger, ever (1)

tudsworth (1919278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115760)

I'd have to agree there, with some notable exceptions, Square-Enix's only good games post merger have been new IPs (The World Ends With You being the most notable) and... Dragon Quest. That's it.

This is, of course, excluding their constant re-releases of older games (mostly FF, Dragon Quest and a whole host of Square's PS1 games).

Re:Worst merger, ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36117146)

doesnt matter if they are silent or not, their management is still working fine, remember what debacle slit squares throat in the first place where they were forced to merge to survive

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36115696)

Hope it keeps happening until they make a new Final Fantasy that doesn't suck. Cold day in hell, I know.

Re:Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116106)

No, its good because all there games have been utter, total and complete shit. *All* games belonging to a genre that starts with 'J' are nothing more than shovelware, and Square-Enix were frontrunners in producing wave after wave of this shite, so I hope they go bust. One, because their games were pure goat piss. Secondly, because it will cause all fans of Japanese culture to break down and cry, which will be enormously entertaining for the rest of the civilised world, and could be broadcast on TV for massive profit.

Flame went higher. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36115708)

I haven't been able to play through an FF game since. I keep trying, but I think I can now draw a parallel between trying candy corn every year and still hating it every attempt.

Re:Flame went higher. (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116522)

I have to agree. I keep trying to like new final fantasies because the old ones were some of the best games every made.

Every time, the game LOOKS phenomenal, and then I sit down to play and begin wondering "what the hell happened to this development house?"

The last good one was 7, and even it wasn't -nearly- as good as the hype produced of millions of kids whose first console was the ps1 seem to think it was. 8 looked so retarded I didn't even try it. I gave 9 a good 6 or 7 hours and it still wasn't drawing me in. to this day I can't remember anything about it except that one of my characters had a tail? I tried to play 10 like four times, and every single time I couldn't get past the fact that in the first 2 hours of the game you have about 30 seconds of button mashing actual playtime, and the rest is cinematic. 11 seemed like such a good idea and turned out to be worse than mmos that were out before it. "hey, yeah, I LOVE the idea of killing one mob, and then sitting for 5 minutes before I can kill another one. that's fun for a newbie! also, why can't i play on the same server as my friends without grinding gil for several days?" I didn't bother with 12. I am -still- trying to get into 13 but it seems to have suffered from the same disease as 10, and the fact that it keeps giving me new main characters every 20 minutes isn't doing much to endear itself to me. it's hard to get involved when you're presented with a new character, given vague hints about their personality and character motivation, and then they're gone (and back again!) in less time than a sitcom episode.

Final Fantasy 6 was a masterpiece, which is still the yardstick by which jrpgs are compared against, 2d or 3d. Final Fantasy 4 would have held that spot if not for 6. Final Fantasy 1 was and still is one of if not my favorite games of all time. I've bought it like 5 different times for 4 different systems.

What happened? Square's descent into "I don't remember how I did the excellence of my youth so I'm going to replace it with the pretty pretty 3d models!" makes even George Lucas look good.

Re:Flame went higher. (1)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116598)

8 looked so retarded I didn't even try it.

If you liked 7, you will like 8, except for perhaps the nostalgia factor you would likely have with 7 by now. Every game after that seems more than questionable to most of those that have played 7 or 8 though.

Re:Flame went higher. (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116628)

in retrospec, 8 doesn't look as dumb as some of the ones after it, but at the time it looked like such a huge departure that I didn't have any interest in it, and never bothered to pick it up. not when I had competition like Skies of Arcadia and Grandia II on the Dreamcast (It took me awhile to get a Playstation).

Re:Flame went higher. (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116626)

so you hate all post 7 FFs, but you still bought the majority of them? perhaps Square are getting mixed signals then, people bitching about your games but still buying them in droves doesnt exactly tell you that you screwed up.

Not trying to be an ass here, just pointing out that so long as people still buy their stuff, square thinks they're golden.

Apparently that trend seems to have shifted for FFXIV

my only real expierence with FF is crisis core on the PSP, which i liked, if not for the suddenly inbeatable bosses

Re:Flame went higher. (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117186)

It's all pure optimism that "this time, it'll be like the old days", combined with respect for previous work. It's like people who keep going to see anything lucas, whedon, or tarrantino put out.

Crisis core was ok. I played it for several hours but the incomprehensible square plot "it'll all make sense by hour 30, we swear. just sit there and be confused at who these people are and why they're doing what they're doing for now" kinda drove me off. And this is from a guy who loved Grandia xtreme, which had one of the thinnest rpg backstories of all time (because the gameplay was worth it).

I will say that I haven't paid full price for any FF post-7, at least.

Re:Flame went higher. (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117038)

I felt that FF12 was pretty good - you might want to give that a try.

FF13 was a massive disappointment after 12.

Tomb Raider (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115736)

What happened to the Tomb Raider Series? You could buy that on proper disks and it worked well.

Re:Tomb Raider (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36115758)

Honest question from somebody who isn't attracted to women: Is there any appeal to these games besides the horrid polygonal T&A? The new downloadable game on Xbox Live is the only one in the series that I've ever genuinely enjoyed playing.

Re:Tomb Raider (1)

magnusrex1280 (1075361) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115772)

My girlfriend LOVES the Tomb Raider games, in spite of the T&A. She loves the mythological aspects combined with the platforming/puzzle gameplay. Tomb Raider Underworld was so freaking buggy though, she gave up on it several times over the course of a year.

Re:Tomb Raider (-1, Troll)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115994)

Dude, just because she borrows your console and games from you, she's not your girlfriend.

Re:Tomb Raider (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116184)

Jealous? That is not even funny. In fact, I believe you're a dirty karma whore.

Re:Tomb Raider (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116246)

I loved the first TR - what many people forget is that at the time it was incredibly innovative, it was the first big 3D platform puzzler. I was always a big fan of games like Flashback, that weren't just about combat and timing but had some logic problems to solve along the way, and this game took that idea and put it into a 3D world.

That and a smattering of mythology (I wasn't so keen on the later levels when the aliens showed up), and the fact that back then the spaces you were exploring felt huge compared to what we'd seen before, not to mention the clever way that combat was managed, meaning you felt you were in the thick of the action without managing a million button combos all added up to a fantastic experience. I don't think I really cared at the time that the in game avatar was a female, although it was still pretty unusual to see a strong female character lead in a game.

Of course, once the media picked up on it it became just a novelty game about a stereotypical big boobed protagonist (who seemed to get enlargment surgery between iterations) and the whole series turned into a self parody - that was a real shame, but yes, that first experience of that first game WAS something special at the time.

Re-release classics? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36115738)

Why not...uh...find out what made the classics classic and do a bit more of that?

You know, games with interesting, non-whiney characters, non-linear story with some exploration in gameplay, music that is better tailored to each scene so it doesn't sound like they just put a track in to fill the silence.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115858)

Why not...uh...find out what made the classics classic and do a bit more of that?

You know, games with interesting, non-whiney characters, non-linear story with some exploration in gameplay, music that is better tailored to each scene so it doesn't sound like they just put a track in to fill the silence.

Totally agree : make VAGRANT STORY II...

Re:Re-release classics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116872)

You're still not thinking correctly. Finding out why a classic game works does not mean sequel. Usually it means the exact opposite. What made vagrant story was the deep and interesting plot line that grabs you from the start, the alternative art style pushing aesthetics to the extreme, a unique sound (for square), and a complex battle system. That's it really, that's all square has to do to make a new classic. It doesn't need the Vagrant Story name attached to it.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115986)

The worst part is the developers have no idea what made those games good. I was hoping when they re-released and updated the art in the earlier final fantasies they'd you know re-imagine it and make what was already there 10x better. Instead they end up copying the games almost verbatim and it kind of sucks because it just proved to me that the devs have no imagination. The updated art is great but why oh why do they not take what is already there to the next level and add to it? The early final fantasies were so sparse (FF1 especially) that they could really do a lot with it in terms of gameplay/items/loot/story and characters.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116310)

Secret. Of. Mana.
Chrono. Trigger.

That is all.

I am not buying any games these days. No time and no motivation. I would shell out 100 Euro for a _proper_ remake of either without a blink.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116446)

I would shell out 100 Euro for a _proper_ remake of either without a blink.

If you could manage to shell out $148 million for a remake then they would probably do it for you. :-)

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116530)

What an unexpected comment ;)

Still, a _lot_ of people who loved those old games have little time but paying jobs, now.

Re:Re-release classics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116480)

Chrono. Trigger.

They did remake it. For the DS.

And they fucked it up. They added Dragonball Z-style cutscenes (without removing the original in-game cutscenes), and screwed with the gameplay for no apparent reason.

I would shell out 100 Euro for a _proper_ remake of either without a blink.

Ah, well, Square Enix doesn't know there is a Europe, so you're probably out of luck there. That and apparently a Chrono Trigger remake means "up the Akira Toriyama to 11" to them.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116570)

Secret of Mana [bit.ly] is available on iOS for $8.99. Link goes to iTunes web page.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116376)

I want an update and re-release of Final Fantasy VII. Preferably for 3DS. Then they can have my money.

I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Re:Re-release classics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116700)

How about re-releasing the PC version without the bugs?

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

Mprx (82435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116384)

The biggest reason: you were younger and had lower standards back then.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117096)

I'm going to have to agree with this statement. Also I had a lot more free time on my hands when I was in middle and high school than I do now as an adult.

Re:Re-release classics? (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116430)

It's even simpler than that. STOP spending so much money on the parts of the game that people don't really care about!

Sure, FF13 is beautiful, but the gamers would rather have had a better plot and characters. They'd rather have had open exploration, instead of that railroad. They'd rather have had real weapon customization instead of that linear just-keep-adding-things crap with no choices. Even the job system didn't have any real choices.

Gamers don't want a movie. They want an interactive experience.

Re:Re-release classics? (2)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116968)

They'd rather have had open exploration, instead of that railroad. They'd rather have had real weapon customization instead of that linear just-keep-adding-things crap with no choices. Even the job system didn't have any real choices.

Ha ha ha. You don't realize that the hardest core of Final Fantasies Japanese playbase is very conformist and doesn't want that. They want to buy the game on the same day everyone else buys it, play it the same optimal way, do the same things, develop their characters the same way. and have th exact same experience everyone else does. Didn't you play FFX!?

FFXII had some of the things you wanted...and that fanbase complained. In fact, Basch was originally going to be the main character until Square decided that the hardcore japanese fanbase (even some that had been playing FF's for years and were as old or older than Basch) wouldn't be able to identify with the 36 year old adult Basch, so they added the kids...Vaan and Penelo.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117098)

You're probably right about the tastes of the hardcore Japanese market - though I would add that I actually really enjoyed FF10.

Is that info about the FF12 main character reliably sourced? I've not heard it before, but it would certainly explain a few things. Vaan starts out as the game's main character, but by the half-way point, he's pretty much reduced to a spectator. In fact, there was a point towards the end of the game when I really did start to wonder why they were still letting him tag along. Ashe or Balthier always felt like more natural main characters.

I loved the free roaming stuff in FF12. I particularly loved that if you did some fairly short power-levelling early in the game, you could essentially switch yourself onto a different gameplay track, being fed with new and interestingly designed super-bosses via the hunts system as you went through the game. I think if anything hurt FF12 outside of Japan, it was the fact that the gambit system was never particularly well explained and understood. It was a much more sophisticated system than the likes of Penny Arcade were preaching at the time, but a lot of people were put off it before they actually understood it. One good step might have been to make all of the conditions available from the start of the game, rather than making people purchase them as the game went on - put some of that depth up front for players to experiment with early on.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117218)

Yes Vaan and Penelo were tagged on later. The best way to go through the game is to view them in the same manner as Tom Cruise's character in "The Last Samurai" an outsider watching the main character.

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117190)

I disagree. I loved the Xenosaga games, and I like what they tried to do with FF13, they just screwed up the execution, if the characters and story were as stupid as they were I would have absolutely loved it.

Absolutely.. (4, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116490)

Looking back, FFVII remains one of my favorite experiences. I tried to think more carefully about why on a recent replay.

The top thing had to be the music. It was just fantastic. Maybe I just like chiptunes, but even as late as FFX, it seemed like they had some notable 'background' tracks. Now it seems like they are all generic toned down orchestral pieces that aren't noticable at all and just barely tweak to fit the mood. Except for when they make some pop song to prop up somewhere in the middle of the game...

The open ended nature of exploration absolutely was up there. There are a lot of games that continue to get this part at least. One of the big moments when playing FFVII for the first time was leavinig midgar. Up until that point, I thought it was going to be a game like FFX or later turned out to be. Then when the world map presented itself, the contrast did a lot (for me) toward making midgar feel more like a cramped place with little control of your destiny relative to the larger world.

Another thing was how the story panned out. The general theme was certainly not new, but the details were so convoluted, I liked it. Of course, I like Crono Trigger and there was nothing partiuclarly complex about the story at all.

Finally, I think the lack of definition and no voice actors helped. I fill in the details with whatever I like. Crisis Core tought me I really won't like the voice actors if I get to make up my mind about how they should sound ahead of time.

The worst thing was the translation.

Re:Absolutely.. (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117056)

Some (actually most) of Uematsu's orchestral pieces are simply stunning.

The problem - Uematsu is taking lesser and lesser roles as time goes on. He basically had no hand in the FF13 soundtrack, and IT SHOWS. Elevator music in one area? (the Whateveritwascalled Massif) - You've got to be kidding me!

Re:Re-release classics? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116548)

They've made releases of FF 1, 2 & 3 for iOS, but they're pretty pricey by iOS standards ($8.99 for 1 & 2, $15.99 for 3). They've also made a couple of other RPG's for iOS that have been well received (Chaos Ring & Song Summoner).

It sucks (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115746)

they used to make such great games, but it went downhill ever since they started making MMO's like FFXI (IMO). The sad thing is I bought a used copy of Final Fantasy 13 when I bought my PS3 back in Feb and still am not even more then 2-3 hours into it :(

I wish they made games like they used to back in the Chrono triggers/Xenogears/Dragon Quest 8 days. When I honestly said I liked them.

Sad state of affairs for a once great company (5, Insightful)

mjhacker (922395) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115748)

How could a company that consistently produced quality entertainment for nearly two decades be reduced to a mere shadow of its former self? What happened? As probably one of the few people on /. that actually loved FFXI, I have to say, FFXIV was a complete waste of time. FFXI was fun, but it didn't age well, and there were a lot of things that SE could have learned from and done better. Instead of learning from their mistakes, they ended up making a less fun, more frustrating version of FFXI, and thought that making it pretty would solve everything. Well, it didn't, and now they're paying the price for it. SE needs to go back to the mindset that they had when they were just Square. They need to stop cranking out duds every 3 months. We need games that are on the caliber of FFVI, Chrono Trigger, and Xenogears. Otherwise, the world will simply stop caring about them... that is, if we haven't stopped caring already.

Re:Sad state of affairs for a once great company (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115796)

Things started going downhill when they merged with Enix. Ever since then Enix has seemingly been running the show into the ground. Both companies were good on their own and had their own baggage as well, but when they got together, it just mucked everything up.

Re:Sad state of affairs for a once great company (4, Informative)

rekenner (849871) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115820)

I feel like being a bit of a pedant, here.
If it wasn't for the merger with Enix, Square likely wouldn't be around. See, it wasn't so much a merger as a Square-fucked-up-when-they-made-The-Spirits-Within-and-needed-bailing-out. Further, they had a lot of great years after that merger, given that it was... almost a decade ago. They considered merging before that, but at the point they merged, TSW lost Square a bunch of money and they would have had a hard time making it back on their feet.

Re:Sad state of affairs for a once great company (2)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116636)

Yes, absolutely right. Spirits Within should be remembered as one of the greatest disasters in the history of the entertainment industries.

And yes, Square continued to put out great games for a while after the merger. Kingdom Hearts 2 was probably the best game of the PS2 console generation. FF12 is probably my second favorite installment in the series (behind FF7, and a little bit ahead of FF6 and FF10). But I suspect that those games had a lot of their development work done pre-merger, or in the immediate aftermath of the merger before corporate identities had really come together.

If you look at the pre-merger Enix, you see a lot of the behaviours that Square-Enix manifests these days. Grind-heavy, innovation-light games with underwhelming technical standards, aimed primarily at a hardcore Japanese market, with little understanding of what the international market (or even the mainstream Japanese market) wants out of a game.

In any sensible world, a merger between the two companies would not have seen the limited-appeal (and long-term dead end) Enix methodology come out so comprehensively on top. However, given that Squaresoft basically had to beg for a rescue, it was perhaps inevitable that their risk taking wouldn't survive.

Re:Sad state of affairs for a once great company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116722)

Actually, Deus Ex is the best game of the PS2 console generation (it came out for the PS2). You can't do better than Deus Ex (well, maybe both parts of Ultima VII).

Re:Sad state of affairs for a once great company (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116664)

i dont really understand the animosity towards spirits within. Sure it wasnt traditional final fantasy, but it provided a decent Sci-fi storyline/setting and breathtaking visuals. This was in the DVD age, and the visuals just blew me away.

I remember walking into a gamestore where they had it playing on a ps2, and i watched the scene with the drop-troopers landing in that green goo, and my instant response was "what is that game? i must have it, even if i have to buy a PS2 for it"

Re:Sad state of affairs for a once great company (2)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116848)

It also cost millions, made next to none of it back, and virtually bankrupted Square. People don't like it because of the repercussions of making it, not because of the quality of the end product.

Re:Sad state of affairs for a once great company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36117144)

Well, for starters, they could have just called it "The Spirits Within" instead of adding the "Final Fantasy" name just for marketing. It gave people who knew about the game the wrong impression of what to expect about the movie. I even remember when I was on line to watch the movie and saw a bunch of kids talking about the games, and after the movie, I happened to see them again, talking about the dissapointment that it was because it wasn't anything like the games.

I don't think the movie was bad at all, but calling it Final Fantasy just to attract the people that knew about the games was bound to become a dissapointment after they realized that it had absolutely nothing to do with it.

yeah (1)

magnusrex1280 (1075361) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115776)

Ha, I forgot FF XIV even existed...

Sod Final Fantasy (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115782)

If Deus Ex: Human Revolution is done right, they'll be well into the black again.

August 11th, folks. Diaries should be marked.

Re:Sod Final Fantasy (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115898)

Given Deux Ex 2, and the last several Square Enix releases, I have every faith in their ability to fuck that up.

I suppose I should limit that to Eidos releases. Let's see, Eidos's last big release was... Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. And that was... ummm... [metacritic.com]

So, yeah, I think I'll wait for the reviews before running out to purchase.

Re:Sod Final Fantasy (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115926)

If Deus Ex: Human Revolution is done right, they'll be well into the black again.

August 11th, folks. Diaries should be marked.

Atleast the game looks damn good and fascinating so far. Of course it's possible they totally ruin the game, but.. it also has absolutely tremendous potential. If they don't goof up with buggy release and so on it could well become a serious hit.

I atleast have added it to my "Wait for review and buy if it's good" - list.

Re:Sod Final Fantasy (1)

pjh3000 (583652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116544)

On Steam it now says August 23rd. So much for just holding it back until the next financial year.

Re:Sod Final Fantasy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116638)

you fucking retard, it'll be a cold day in hell before square-enix release something on par with monkey island, let alone more modern classics

into the black or not, their products suck ass.

Re:Sod Final Fantasy (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116876)

it can't bring such huge huge money flows, due to genre, it is however the only game from them that i'm looking forward to.

what i'm more interested in, is WHERE THE FUCK IS THE MONEY GOING? I mean, for that much loss you're paying some guys a lot of money! I mean, you could build a fucking stadium with the money and still have enough cash left to keep twenty engine coders and forty artists for the year(you could run the paycheck etc office stuff with the staff from the stadium building project and at least you'd end up with a stadium). consumer cash isn't something that can be just pumped out by increasing teams and team sizes to infinity.

problem with final fantasy 14 is in the title itself, actually.

Re:Sod Final Fantasy (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117034)

August 11th, folks. Diaries should be marked.

We should pass a congress bill to make this mandatory. And nuke from orbit those countries which don't comply.

Most important event this year, without a shadow of a doubt. Even more than groundhog day I dare say.

Everything they make sucks (3, Insightful)

Andtalath (1074376) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115804)

It's really that simple, squeenix has lost all manner of quality.
They just make ugly designs, annoying musc, 100% grindy gameplay and stories which grow less and less cool.

The main problem is that japans gaming culture and western gaming culture has grown more and more widely apart.

This really hurts their market.

Re:Everything they make sucks (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115870)

It's really that simple, squeenix has lost all manner of quality.
They just make ugly designs, annoying musc, 100% grindy gameplay and stories which grow less and less cool.

The main problem is that japans gaming culture and western gaming culture has grown more and more widely apart.

This really hurts their market.

There's a lot to like about FF XIII. The Active Time Battle system is actually pretty cool when you really start delving into it (though the limitation of only six Paradigms is super-limiting in the late/post-game when you have a total of 216 possible combinations) The music and backgrounds were extremely well done; whoever was in charge of character art and scenery did a great job.

Unfortunately the game ended up failing because of the rather boring and horribly linear plot, which to my knowledge didn't have any of the humor of the previous FF greats (III, VI, VII), and the awful, awful, awful dialogue (at least in the English version, though I can't imagine how it could have been better in Japanese, given the plot).

Re:Everything they make sucks (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116140)

Well, that and the whole corridor simulator problem. FF XIII doesn't feel like an RPG world. It feels like a giant hallway.

Re:Everything they make sucks (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116364)

Seriously? I'm still not sure what the plot was. I'm a huge fan of FF games, and I own every single one, a couple of them multiple times.... and I have to say, FF XIII was a complete load of crap. Top to bottom.

I played for 4 hours. I subjected myself to that game for FOUR HOURS. I was trying, very hard, to like it, but.... 4 hours in, the combat system STILL felt like I was wading through that 1 or 2 turn tutorial in some of their other games. It was like "WTF, let me play already". Instead I could probably have taped down my A button and control stick to beat the stupid game.

They dumbed it down way way too far in a scenario that already needed no dumbing down.

I'll admit the plot line to that point was very linear/hallway-ish however I could have probably still played through the game if it didn't just suck great big sweaty balls, top to bottom. The only single good thing about it were the graphics, and even those I personally didn't like some of the art style choices.

Re:Everything they make sucks (1)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116440)

I actually played all the way through. The world only opens up at the very end, just before the final confrontations. The problem is that the game was on rails for 90% of it. Had they started with the open world, instead of introducing it at 30 hours of play, it might have been a passable entry.

Even so, and after finishing it, I have no idea what the story was about. It's pretty sad when you're longing for the coherence of VI and VII.

Even with all of that, the spark is just missing. The little gems from the early entries are almost entirely gone. No canoe, no boat, no free-roaming airship, and there haven't been any appreciable mini-games or side-ventures in a long time. It's all so clinical and linear now that it hardly resembles the original franchise.

Supreme Commander 2 not so supreme (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115812)

They and GPG might have had another big money-maker with Supreme Commander 2, but they went overboard trying to solve the resource demands in big (skirmish) games (the TA-SC games are CPU-intensive). It wound up oversimplified to an embarrassing degree relative to its predecessors, to the point where many gamers loyal to the TA-SC franchise just didn't want to play it and stuck with Supreme Commander (I) and SC:Forged Alliance instead, in spite of the aforementioned demands. I learned to change my expectations and enjoy it, but it earned a lot of negative karma for what was done. I don't know whether it was Square Enix or GPG making those design choices, but it cost them.

Re:Supreme Commander 2 not so supreme (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116400)

> where many gamers loyal to the TA-SC franchise just didn't want to play it and stuck with Supreme Commander

I would argue that the true fans are still sticking to TA Spring. SC is (was?) so unbalanced, it wasn't even funny.

Re:Supreme Commander 2 not so supreme (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116742)

but they went overboard trying to solve the resource demands in big (skirmish) games (the TA-SC games are CPU-intensive)

I think it's more like they don't have a clue what they are doing. AI-War manages skirmishes which handle 1000's of ships flying around. And that's from a little indie shop with like 2 programmers. Granted, it's probably not trivial to optimize something like that, but the Supreme Commander titles are an absolute embarrassment on performance.

Re:Supreme Commander 2 not so supreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36117080)

1000's of ships flying around is all nice until you start making realistic physics calculations for each one of them and each and every bullet they fire.

the RPG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36115826)

I think we all know that nothing can possibly match the venerable "Final Fantasy 7" in freedom, storyline, immersion, and... who the fuck am I kidding. They're all bad, folks.

So what? They could make that any time they want (1)

XahXhaX (730306) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115844)

They've been sitting on remaking FF7 for years. $150 million would probably be covered by just the initial release if they were to produce an updated version with modern tech.

Not that I care either way--I hated that game and pay less attention to Square with each year. But they _could_ do it any time if they only wanted to.

Re:So what? They could make that any time they wan (2)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116580)

I've wondered about this for years myself. A remade FF7, for PS3 and 360, with modern graphics, a few user interface tweaks and possibly a bit of bonus content on the side (like a new optional dungeon or something) would be an absolute gold-mine. Unfortunately, I remember some comments that came out of them last year, to the effect that it would simply be too expensive to remake FF7.

I'm not sure I can understand how this could possibly be. In terms of size and scale, the game isn't particularly different to other JRPGs. Lost Odyssey, which came out a few years ago now for the 360, had a perfectly acceptable level of current-gen graphics. Factor in that FF7's cutscenes are on the short side compared to those in... say... FF13 and it's hard to see how the price could truly be that prohibitive. I can only assume that S-E were thinking that if they were to remake FF7, they'd need to quadruple the length of all of the cutscenes, adding in a bunch of new Advent Children-style fight scenes and whatnot. That in itself illustrates a good chunk about why the company is going wrong.

Final? (1)

M8e (1008767) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115846)

So are we finally getting a final final fantasy?

They need to kill FFXIV (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115856)

Who knows exactly how much FFXIV is costing them in development costs and server costs, but that ship has sailed. There's no point sinking money into something that will never turn a profit.

It's been seven months now. The improvements the game has made are minor at best. (The two biggest are that leveling combat classes is now possible, and that the market place works. Not well, mind you, but it works.) If you ask anyone playing whether or not you should, they'll tell you flat-out it isn't worth it.

This is not the sign of a game on the road to profitability. With every week that goes by, the ability to earn new players goes down.

Once they've stopped throwing money at a failed game, then they can start worrying about creating new games that people actually want to play.

But first, they've got to stop the bleeding.

Re:They need to kill FFXIV (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116168)

They probably think that the PS3 version will fly because the competition for a PS3 MMO is so much weaker then in the PC MMO market. That and FF XIII proved a lot of people will buy anything that says "Final Fantasy" on the box no matter how bad it is, but relying on that is a great way to destroy your franchise in the long term.

Square's problem is that the market has changed, and they refuse to move with it. FF XIV is the best example there is: they basically remade FF XI and ignored every lesson learned in the genre since it came out. Unfortunately in that period of time World of Warcraft came out in there and redefined player expectations.

It's kind of silly, really. Rift came out from an unknown company with a fraction of the budget and managed to blow FF XIV out of the water simply because they looked at what everybody else was doing that worked, and refined it a bit. Square on the other hand is too bloody arrogant to do that, and now they're paying the price.

I do agree with you though, the game is beyond redemption. Even if they performed a miracle and made it worth playing, the name is so tainted in the market that they'll never get players back.

Re:They need to kill FFXIV (2)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116566)

Agreed. I've heard of plenty of attempts at resurrecting an MMO that's had a poor start and so far as I can tell, these have a 0% success rate. The PS3 version won't save it - particularly not in the aftermath of the PSN leak fiasco, which is going to make people particularly cautious about online gaming on the PS3.

The game's a failure - abject and total. At this point, keeping it going is doing nothing bar drawing resources from more promising endeavours. If there are any players out there who actually like the game (and I can't say I've come across any, even when logged into it myself), then it's a bit rough for them, but you're always going to back a loser once in a while.

I suspect the biggest reason why S-E haven't killed it already is pride. To have a main-series FF game acknowledged as a failure that could not be redeemed will be a huge blow to morale, likely not just for executives but throughout the company. It's never happened before; Final Fantasy is part of Square's mythology, with the first title having famously saved the company when it was on the verge of failure (the "Final" in the name was because they expected it to be the last game they ever released). Even the games which have been seen as underwhelming with hindsight (probably 5, 9 and 13) have sold well enough that the company could reasonably present them as successes. 11 was the most successful full-subscription MMO going, until World of Warcraft hit the scene and smashed all previous records. S-E have only themselves (and their cheap Chinese subcontractors) to blame for 14, but that isn't going to make them feel any better about it.

Re:They need to kill FFXIV (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116966)

I'd love to see them keep the graphics engine, and retool the rest for use in a new game... The only thing they got right was the visual appeal. Everything else was fail even from closed beta. I was a beta tester. They didn't even bother to listen to us either. Long standing complaints from day 1 where never solved and the beta site sucked. So after a bit of time I simply stopped even testing it. It was awfully pretty though with compelling visual characters. If it wouldn't cost me just to go in, I'd love to play around with the character generator again. Maybe it's a bad sign when the funnest part of the game was the character creator?

Re:They need to kill FFXIV (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117210)

I'd love to see them keep the graphics engine

I wouldn't. The engine is a horrible piece of shit [square-enix.com] .

Ignoring the fact that it's unnecessarily slow, you still have crazy things like shadows not working. It (was) 2010. How the hell do you manage to screw up shadows?! (I should explain: there is a single parallel light source, and all "mobile objects" - that is, things that aren't part of the map - cast a shadow based on that. And not on, say, the light sources in the map. Which leads to crazy things like you being able to cast a shadow onto a lit fire.)

Oh, and then there's the bit where the graphics engine crashes if you Alt-Tab out of the game. Still. In 2011. Everyone else fixed that a decade ago. (And, yes, there's a windowed mode. You can still crash it by doing something similar to an Alt-Tab, like locking the desktop or having a UAC prompt appear.)

Q: If a $5 title can support one developer (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115874)

...then how many developers can a $60 title support?
  1. One.
  2. Twelve.
  3. A hundred.

For extra credit, how much do you have to charge to cover sales, marketing, legal, management, blow and hookers.

Perhaps the game is just changing, and hojillion yen AAA titles aren't the sure thing they once were, is all. I believe it's still the case that no movie costing over $100,000,000 to make has ever lost money (yes, including Waterworld), but it doesn't follow that the same applies to games.

Re:Q: If a $5 title can support one developer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36115960)

Um. Am I being "wooshed" or something?

Profits are not in perfectly linear proportion to revenue.

Revenue is not in perfectly linear proportion to price.

The portion of revenue earmarked to defray development costs is not a constant.

They sorely miscalculated what we wanted and when (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36115878)

They could have made a new Thief, a new Hitman, Legacy of Kain, or Timesplitters. What did we get?

A couple of lackluster entries from the tired Tomb Raider franchise while everything else sat on the back burner. They held back some of the most revered franchises of all time, and for what? What were they waiting for?

Re:They sorely miscalculated what we wanted and wh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36115912)

They could have made a new Thief, a new Hitman, Legacy of Kain, or Timesplitters. What did we get?

A couple of lackluster entries from the tired Tomb Raider franchise while everything else sat on the back burner. They held back some of the most revered franchises of all time, and for what? What were they waiting for?

it's been almost 10 years since legacy of kain defiance and that series has one of the best storylines ever. but all they do is keep spamming a new tomb raider title every year with the old dev group which sucks that they keep that game on the back burner. it's beyond pathetic anymore that this great franchise has wasted away.

Re:They sorely miscalculated what we wanted and wh (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116658)

Well the last tomb raider was quite good and a good break from the 20th rehash of the same the same goes for the next tomb raider, there is a new deus ex in the line as well. Ah yes I would love to see another Thief title. But for me both series are not really the same without Warren Spector and Doug Church at the helm.

Re:They sorely miscalculated what we wanted and wh (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116716)

Timesplitters

yes fucking please! Bring me a new timesplitters and i will buy it outright, hell, if needed i will buy a new console to run it on. TS2 was pure unadulterd briliance, the most fun i've had multiplaying any FPS and TS:FP put in an awesome storyline too, not to mention a much more expanded multiplayer mode, the level editing was groundbreaking

two obvious reasons come to mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36115888)

The Japanese need to realize you can only rehash classics from the 80s and 90s so many times. Final Fantasy was ahead of it's time with FF7 but they didn't keep innovating and most of the games 5 or 10 years later is still the same kind of character and plot of FF7. But most importantly they should never have gone Playstation exclusive with their flagship titles. Even though the last FF game they released for PC was kind of boring (FF8) I still would have bought FF9 had it been released for PC. But after getting bored of FF8 half way through there's no way I would buy a console just for that! Now ten years later they want to release an MMORPG for PC? Shea right! My brand loyalty is dead by now.

Oh, also my mom actually tried to play FF Online and they wouldn't take her perfectly valid credit card because Square-Enix wanted some weird special verification from the card company that you had to call and wait on hold forever to get it authorized and she was like "oh, screw it" and went back to playing Mass Effect 2 or whatever she plays. I was like "Shoulda got Warcraft dude, the Japanese haven't innovated since like 1994".

So basically they shafted all the PC fans years ago and now expect us to take a chance on this half baked MMORPG? Ok, for the people they actually get a sale with they can't even complete the transaction cuz of some security theater nonsense with the credit cards! You don't need a Harvard MBA to see this business isn't going to be going "from good to great". Haha.

I have an idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116032)

Maybe they could make GOOD games!

Not just Square-Enix in a quagmire right now (5, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116088)

Square-Enix's problems mirror, to a large extent, those that have afflicted the wider Japanese gaming industry (including, once you discount early Wii hardware sales, Nintendo), during the current console cycle.

At the heart of this is a failure to evolve their games and franchises to reflect changing times and tastes. If often feels like the modern Japanese games industry doesn't recognise anything between "no change at all" and "total ground-up redesign". It's instructive to compare how the most successful Western developers have managed franchises and general gaming concepts over this time. If you look at the likes of Bioware, Bethesda, Bungie, Blizzard, Valve, even some of EA's own internal development efforts, you can see a pretty ruthless evolutionary approach to design. When a game comes out and the studio begins development either on a sequel or even a new property, the first thing that seems to happen is a look at what people liked and didn't like about the previous game, with this being factored into the development of the sequel.

Take Bioware as a case-study here. Baldur's Gate came out in 1998 and was pretty successful. However, it was the sequel, which came out a couple of years later, that really revolutionised Western RPGs. Why? Because Bioware had evolved the franchise, removing aspects of the original game that had been "a bit too pen and paper" for CRPG players (such as no-pausing-on-the-inventory-screen mechanics and large amounts of wilderness crawling) and had expanded the areas that had been well received (adding further complexity to the casting system, expanding character dialogue trees and so on). Once Bioware moved on from the Baldur's Gate series, they continued releasing RPGs that very clearly had BG in their DNA, but which shed some of the pricklier aspects of the old series, while borrowing popular elements of Japanese RPGs (such as the "active party" system). Then having reached a point where they faced a serious conflict between hardcore RPG gamers and the more casual crowd, they essentially "fork" their games, with the Dragon Age series pitched for the hardcore and the Mass Effect series for the action demographic. That isn't to say that Bioware don't make mis-steps - Dragon Age 2 feels very much like a mis-step, and Jade Empire can probably be seen as one with hindsight - but an evolutionary approach like this makes it much easier to get back on track after a wobble.

Then compare Square-Enix's management of its premier RPG property - the Final Fantasy series. There's no evidence of a planned evolutionary approach to the development of the series - just an odd mixture of clinging to past certainties combined with random-throw-of-the-dice leaps into the dark. There are elements of the Final Fantasy series on show in FF13 which feel like products of another era. Random encounters (and I'm sorry, but making them visible on the field map doesn't make them any less random encounters) have been pretty much entirely ditched in the West. Our developers have figured out that - surprise surprise - gamers don't like spending a couple of hours runnng in circles in a dungeon just to level up. Yes, levelling up is part of RPGs, but any Western RPG worth its salt these days ensures that it is done via interesting sidequests and subplots. And yet there they are, still at the centre of the flagship Japanese RPG series (and pretty much every other JRPG).

The throw-of-the-dice element seems to come in the way that Square-Enix completely changes its battle and level up systems (and often even wider mechanics) for each installment in the series. At times, this has been a strength. It does keep the games from feeling a bit too samey. But when the throw of the dice produces a result that people actually like, it inexplicably never seems to get developed any further. So, for example, FF12's move towards more open-world gameplay was pretty widely welcomed, even by people who didn't like much else about the game. Yet then FF13 comes out and is basically a 30 hour tunnel for the player to run down.

So in a way, the Japanese RPG genre (on which S-E is highly dependent) is stuck with the worst of both worlds. Certain ancient conventions such as random battles are sacred cows that can never be removed - even if they've long since passed their sell-by date. At the same time, there's a "throw it all out and start again" approach to other aspects of games which means that the baby often gets thrown out with the bathwater (and my word I'm mixing my metaphors today). You can see these tendancies outside of Square-Enix - for example in Nintendo's refusal to discard the "lives" system, long after most games have shed this unfortunate vestige of the quarter-munching arcade days.

The other big problem that Square-Enix have faced (along with other Japanese developers) is an abject failure to adapt to the current console generation, particularly the HD consoles. In Square-Enix's case, they don't have the budgetary excuse that the likes of Gust and Nippon-Ichi can hide behind. Final Fantasy 13 must have had a ludicrously large budget, but it apparently sinks almost all of it on cutscenes. Game-worlds in Japanese games tend to feel small and very... static... compared with those in Western games. I don't think I've yet seen a Japanese RPG this generation that does interesting things with physics, for example (leaving aside some HIGHLY specific examples relating to the Dead or Alive games - you know exactly what I mean). The current console generation doesn't just allow for high definition graphics - it allows for larger play areas and, in many cases, more sophisticated game concepts than previous generations. But at the moment, it's very hard to conceive of a Portal or Crysis coming out of the Japaneses game industry.

I think the Japanese games industry knows this - which is why it runs as far as it can from the HD consoles in many instances. The main platform for Japanese games right now isn't the PS3. It isn't the Wii. And it isn't even the 3DS. Right now, the PSP rules the roost over there - a years-old handheld with graphical capabilities roughly on a par with the PS2. It's a nice comfort zone for developers - and it plays well enough with the domestic audience - but it seems very hard for a PSP game (or a new, non-Pokemon, non-Mario game) to become a worldwide hit these days. But even when a Japanese developer does come out with something awesome for a high def console this generation - such as Sega's subline Valkyria Chronicles, which is still the best game on the PS3 bar none - they still retreat to the handhelds to milk the franchise via sequels.

To be honest, given that this stuff does sell in Japan, it's hard to blame the developers too much. If there's any blame to be apportioned, the largest share should probably go to Japanese consumers, whose protectionist instincts always seem to lead them to act against their own best interests by flocking out to buy products of extremely dubious quality just because of the (domestic) name on the box (yes, even more so than Western consumers, which isn't easy). If Japanese consumers were to hold their domestic developers to higher standards, then it might force those developers to up their game and get back to the point where they were properly and consistently competitive in the international market.

I think Japanese gaming is at a bit of a crossroads right now. Developers could indeed choose to properly engage with modern hardware and development methods, lift ideas from the best-of-the-West and get back into the game. They could return to the position where their franchises have real global clout and are household names around the world in the way that they did in earlier console generations. Or they could become something more akin to Japan's anime industry - making products for a (gradually shrinking) domestic audience and a small number of enthusiastic foreigners (a group which includes me), but only getting wider recognition outside of Japan on the rare occasions that a Spirited Away equivalent comes along.

Despite what I've written above, I'm a huge fan of Japanese games. Many of my defining gaming memories have come from Square-Enix, particularly from titles such as FF7, FF11 and Kingdom Hearts 2. I still buy niche Japanese RPGs such as the Ar Tonelico and Disgaea series, in the hopes of finding the hidden gems that do occasionally emerge. I would love nothing more than to see them succeeding globally and making awesome games again. But the omens aren't great.

Re:Not just Square-Enix in a quagmire right now (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116672)

Actually the problem with japanese development is mostly that once a formula works for them they stick with it in every detail until the steam has run out, exception to the rule is Nintendo. Their luck was mostly that console gamers until recently were very reliable on not being too much angry about constant rehashes that might have changed by a huge influx of former pc gamers to the modern consoles and a so called mass market.
The entire game design of a japo rpg is basically stuck in the mid 80s when the western crpgs split to some degree with ultima 4 5 and 6 away from the pen and paper dice roll random encounter scheme. The japanese stuck with it and never changed it just added more story visuals and being on rails while western crpgs quickly removed the rails wherevery possible (Bioware being the exception)
You can see this to some degree in many japanese gaming series and genres. From time to time they try a completely different formula which 90% fails and then they stick back to their copy cat road and 10% it works so they follow that road then.

Re:Not just Square-Enix in a quagmire right now (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116718)

Agree, save that Nintendo are NOT the exception to the rule. All they do these days is hope that their latest hardware gimmick gets traction (DS and Wii did, 3DS looks like it won't) and remake the same few games - primarily Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Mario 64 and Zelda Ocarina of Time - with a different label on the box. Except on the 3DS, they aren't even going to bother changing the label on the Zelda box.

But yes, the mid-series Ultima games (up to and including 6) were massively influential on the development of JRPGs as a genre. Now, these were great games in their day, but they do feel like curious historical artifacts now.

It does feel like once a Japanese gaming company has a major success, they try to freeze time at that point. So Nintendo have never moved on mentally from the days of the SNES. Square-Enix is still stuck in the mid-90s when Dragon Warrior ruled the roost (given that the company is more Enix than Square these days) and Sega has only recently and reluctantly started to move on from Sonic (and would dearly love to go back if they could). Nippon-Ichi stopped innovating the moment the first Disgaea became an unexpected international success. The list goes on and on...

Re:Not just Square-Enix in a quagmire right now (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116828)

Taking something that works and running with it isn't a bad way to go. The difference is Nintendo has managed to do it without completely screwing the game underneath. SE takes the core game then completely changes everything above it. They throw out good and bad mechanics and world environments with little or no logical purpose. The GP argues that there needs to be an evolutionary approach not a wholesale slaughter every generation or no change at all (your examples are perfect) which is what the Japanese game industry seems to do with little or no middle ground.

Re:Not just Square-Enix in a quagmire right now (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116960)

I think whether Nintendo screws up the core concept varies a lot from franchise to franchise. I personally felt that Mario Kart Wii was a disaster - and I know a good few people who agreed. It put too many karts on the track at once, with too many weapons available and saw the exit of the last vestige of "racing" from the series in favour of weapon spam and random chance.

Super Smash Brothers came through ok on the Wii, and so did Mario via the Galaxy games - but even those aren't feeling particularly fresh and need a revamp to get rid of some of the more irritating elements (like having limited lives in Mario, plus the fact that the controls never felt quite right on the Wii). Zelda... really does feel like the same thing over and over again by this point. And Okami did it better anyway.

Re:Not just Square-Enix in a quagmire right now (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116794)

Very nicely written. Their single console mentality of the previous generation also didn't help and while they've relaxed on that a bit it still seems like anything not Japanese in origin is an afterthought. I owned an original XBox and loved it, the ONLY reason I ever considered a PS2 was for FF and it's relatives. There could have easily been a large number of sales had they taken a truly multi-platform approach and I think that would have improved this generation of games by forcing them to expand their horizons outside of Japan. The US market isn't their target yet, maybe this will be the kick that cracks the ethnocentric wall they've been hiding behind for a couple thousand years.

Maybe the new Nintendo system will spark some intelligent development and progress but I'm not holding my breath.

Re:Not just Square-Enix in a quagmire right now (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116910)

The sad thing is, Japanese game development hasn't always been inward looking. As recently as 10 years ago, it was the Japanese developers who were at the forefront of most genres (aside from the fps and RTS, which has always been Western things). Western developers were adopting mechanics from Japanese games like crazy as they rushed to catch up. Then just as the West started to draw level... the Japanese developers just gave up and started to focus exclusively on a slice of the domestic audience where they just didn't have to try as hard.

At risk of going off-topic, there are parallels with the course of the anime industry in recent years. After the whole bubble and burst in the middle of the last decade, and particularly the US anime industry crash, we saw fewer and fewer anime series that aimed for mainstream appeal - certainly fewer that you could use to introduce interested friends to anime. Instead, the focus shifted towards fanservice laden series with little to no plot and next to no wider-audience potential, but a hardcore fanbase willing to buy the DVDs and figurines at any price.

Over time, Japan's shifting demographics (ie. the aging population) will turn this into a dead-end. Japanese game and anime developers alike need to recognise this before it's too late.

Re:Not just Square-Enix in a quagmire right now (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 3 years ago | (#36117142)

Just wanted to say: excellent post!

Whats the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116132)

"Perhaps a move to re-releasing classics will prove more fruitful than high development cost MMORPGs".

They've already re-released almost all of their classics for GBA and Wii.

Listen! (2)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116238)

Get me:

(1) A New Final Fantasy on a tablet and other portable device that, (2) While still pretty, (3) Has a fun and exciting mechanism incorporating touchscreen RPGing and (4) Isn't prepared by a poll of "things teenagers like". Make sure that it (6) Has a triage that goes: Gameplay, Immersiveness, Storyline, and then Graphics; and (7) Has an ability, in some form, to interact with other players, be it via Bluetooth or over the Internet.

You risk falling victim to being another dead game company if you continue to emphasize high-budget "Wow!" games over ones that will actually draw new players into the series. You don't have to abandon the concepts you've developed, but please, just try something new. Is that so much to ask?

Re:Listen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116260)

Where did (5) go?

Re:Listen! (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116680)

Actually id rather have another decent Ultima on a tablet than yet another jrpg with random encounters dice roll battles and endless statistics and cutscenes.

subject (0)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116462)

And nothing of value was lost.

Read the PDF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36116552)

The extreme losses are from the "Entertainment facilities" from damage from the earthquake (0.8billion yen)

The FFXIV was so slapped together that I completely forgot I bought it since I haven't logged into it after the first month. It only appealed to me for the FF storyline, but it's too bloody grindy just to get to the storyline bits.

Re-releases (1)

Cloud K (125581) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116782)

Perhaps a move to re-releasing classics will prove more fruitful than high development cost MMORPGs?

Isn't that pretty much all they've been doing tons of already?

But they keep insisting on remaking crap like FF2j.

What they should probably do is something like
1) Remake Final Fantasy VII
2) ????
3) Profit!

People have been screaming and shouting for an FFVII remake for 10+ years. There are people who would sell their souls to Sony for a remake of that game. Yet they're absolutely adamant that it's never going to happen. There's a market here waiting to give them full high-end retail prices for a game that is already done and just needs a graphical revamp.. take the money!!

I think there are quite a few who wouldn't mind a remake of VI either.

It's all well and good saving an FFVII remake for a "special occasion" but that's never going to happen if S-E go bankrupt.

Either that or go back to making *new* FFs that don't suck. For that they'll probably need Sakaguchi back (preferably Uematsu too)

Sony. (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116822)

Sony is what has kept me from playing any of the new FF series. Why?

Initially the incredibly high cost of buying into the PS3. I can just about by a shitty used car for what they wanted for it when it was first released.

Then what happened? The price remained relatively high. This part is fairly normal - I typically wait for the price to drop a bit (and it has) and then start measuring out ways to justify such a purchase. But here's the thing - Sony's given me absolutely no reason to *invest* in their console. Particularly with their maneuver of removing OtherOS which was a major selling point for me. And hell, now the recent nonsense with them getting hacked AND losing critical customer data doesn't help one bit.

So let's take a look at the market now:

We've got the Wii - which has a few games I absolutely love. The Mario franchise is one that almost always tries to be innovative in some manner and defines new game styles (Mario Galaxy and Paper Mario are some examples that come to mind). Plus the ability to download and play SNES games on there is a big selling point as well (Super Mario RPG anyone?). However, there isn't much more for me beyond that unfortunately. One big con for me is the relatively small list of games that can be played over the network with friends. But the price is spot-on for what I feel it's worth all things considered.

Now, the Xbox 360: I'm not a huge Halo or teabagging fan but the Xbox 360 DOES have a shit-ton of games out - MANY of which are supported by the Live system. The price is a bit higher but I haven't seen Microsoft shaft their customers on the Xbox nearly as bad as we've seen Sony do. While the titles aren't my absolute faves that I've played so far - I feel confident I could find something I'd enjoy and could play with friends online.

For those reasons I'm considering heavily in investing in an Xbox 360. I think it'd make a good media player - from what I've read so far it supports a pretty robust set of features for that functionality (by all means correct me if I'm wrong). I think the game selection wont leave me hanging. And fuck, it's not Sony.

Well.... (1)

d.the.duck (2100600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36116896)

you shoulda made another Dragon Quest for the PS console. Dragon Quest Valley of the Cursed King was one of the greatest games ever.

A bad thing can be a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36117236)

As selfish as this may be it increases the odds of a FFIX re-release! FFIX is my favorite videogame in existence, so I'm all for it. Mildly crash and burn squenix. Only enough so you are forced to re-release FFIX in HD, perhaps enhancing the storyline while you're at it!! :) And maybe throw in a new addition to the Chrono Trigger franchise too (a true sequel, with the same charm and feel as CT, not a travesty like CC).

Oh yeah, also don't crash and burn for real. I really do love square enix games and would rather have them occasionally release a gem (with a handful of turds in between) than have them not exist at all!

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