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Square Enix President Believes Company Has ‘Lost Focus’

Over the past fiscal year, Square Enix has promised to move away from global publishing in favor of a more regional focus. That doesn’t mean that the company is abandoning global titles, especially in the wake of being surprised by Western sales of a traditional RPG.

Bravely Default released in Europe and North America earlier this year, surpassing 200,000 copies sold in the United States in the first three weeks. According to an interview with Nikkei (translated by Siliconera), Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda says his company won’t completely abandon global titles, despite stumbles in the past.

“In the past, when we developed console games with a worldwide premise, we lost our focus,” Matsuda says, offering that recent Bravely Default taught the company a valuable lesson. “Due to having split [the development mindset] according to regions around the world, we weren’t able to see this clearly up until now, but fans of JRPGs are really spread around the world,” Matsuda says. In response, Square Enix will be developing more core JRPGs.

Oddly, he goes on to attribute the problems faced by Hitman: Absolution, which sold 3.6 million units in its first four months and was still deemed to be underperforming, to an attempt to serve a global audience. Io Interactive’s most recent Hitman title was well received, but was a departure not because of geography. Rather, its attempts to appeal to a new audience alienated some longtime franchise fans.

The good news for those that have followed Agent 47’s career with great interest? “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,'” Matsuda says. “I believe that is the best way for our development studios to display their strengths.”

[Source: Siliconera, Nikkei]

 

Our Take
The recognition that games can succeed on a global scale shouldn’t be a surprise to Square Enix, especially with regard to Bravely Default (a game that is more Final Fantasy than many recent entries in that series). To equate those challenges (and a need to serve that market) with the problems that faced Hitman: Absolution (reminder: a well-received, strong seller) is folly. Every time I think Square Enix management is taking a step on the path toward organizational realignment, comments like this make me wonder exactly what’s going wrong at headquarters in Japan.

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Batman: Arkham Origins Developer Shifts Focus Away From Bug-Fixes And Onto DLC

Warner Bros. Games Montréal, the developer behind the latest entry in the Batman Arkham franchise, has no plans for an additional bug-patch, and instead has moved all of its focus onto single-player story-DLC.

In a post on the official message boards for the game, Arkham Origins' community manager offered the following statement:

The team is currently working hard on the upcoming story DLC and there currently are no plans for releasing another patch to address the issues that have been reported on the forums.

If we do move forward with creating a new patch, it will try to address the progression blocking bugs for players, not the minor glitches that do not prevent one from continuing to play. The issues that are not progression blockers will unfortunately no longer be addressed.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused for some of you, and want to thank you for having been patient.

Warner Bros. Games Montréal hasn't revealed full details on what will be covered in Arkham Origins' DLC, but it is hinting strongly at an appearance from Mr. Freeze. Last month, Warner Bros. Games Montréal announced the cancellation of the Wii U port of the DLC.

For our review of Arkham Origins, head here.

[Source: Batman: Arkham Origins community, via Destructoid]

 

Our Take
This is disappointing, especially for anyone currently faced with the decision of restarting their game after running into a progression-preventing bug. I actually just finished the game and I did run into a few hiccups. On more than one occasion, I had to restart my game after it froze, or when I had to interrogate an enemy who just sat their cowering while I waited for a prompt to appear on the screen. Hopefully, if you are running into bugs, a simple restart will fix it, as was the case with me. If not, you're going to have to wait until after the DLC is complete, and even then there is no guarantee it will get fixed.

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Layoffs Hit EA Salt Lake, Studio To Focus On Mobile

EA has confirmed to Game Informer that EA Salt Lake is undergoing downsizing. The studio is responsible for Monopoly Streets, Risk: Factions, and a number of expansions for The Sims series.

“EA Salt Lake is becoming largely focused on mobile development, including The Sims and other projects,” an EA representative told us via email. “Recent shifts unfortunately resulted in the reduction of a few teams.  As we look to match skills with opportunities, some staff will be offered other positions at EA, while others will leave the company.”

The publisher did not comment on the extent of the layoffs, but does assure that the studio will remain open. EA recently reported its third quarter earnings, with the company performing below expectations. The publisher’s retail revenue was down nearly $ 200 million, and while digital is growing, it did not make up the difference.

 

Our Take
Our thoughts are with those that find themselves unemployed, and with those that have made the difficult decision to relocate. EA continues to shake up its direction, especially after creative departures at the top of a number of studios. The company continues to cut expenses, especially in light of flagging revenue, leading to unfortunate layoffs such as this.

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