Monday, March 31, 2014

Square Enix sees the light with Bravely Default, intends to focus efforts on 'heavy JRPGs' from now on


Legendary JRPG developer Square Enix has finally gotten the message from its global fanbase.

After bringing the world such amazing franchises as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and The Secret of Mana, Square Enix has struggled a bit on how to recapture that JRPG magic for a new generation of gamers, consoles, and handhelds.

Now, it seems, it's figured out the answer: make more games like Bravely Default.

Speaking to Nikkei Trendy, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda said that he's thinking of switching the focus of SE's games back to classic JRPGs to appeal to the core audience that they command around the world.

"...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.” 

And then, there's the money shot.

"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...

With that in mind, and all of the collective fans, there’s a sense of mass, which loses the image of a niche market... For the new games we’ll be developing from this point on, while this may sound a bit extreme, we’ve been talking about making them as heavy JRPGs."
With that in mind, and all of the collective fans, there’s a sense of mass, which loses the image of a niche market,” continues Matsuda. “For the new games we’ll be developing from this point on, while this may sound a bit extreme, we’ve been talking about making them as heavy JRPGs. I believe that way, we can better focus on our target, which will also bring better results.”
Read more at http://www.siliconera.com/2014/03/31/bravely-defaults-success-west-making-square-enix-rethink-jrpgs/#UZhYf6hQwZGUYmms.99
(translation via Siliconera)

W-what bizarro world did we wake up into this Monday?

Square Enix outright admits that there's an audience for JRPGs outside of Japan and it's shifting its focus back to making heavy JRPGs and - at the end of the day - it's in no small part due to Bravely Default's strong global sales.

Well, that and the fact that it's an incredible game to begin with.


Hardcore JRPG fans were excited about Bravely Default from its announcement for exactly the reasons Matsuda mentioend.  Its music and excellent artwork made it a standout title from day one, but its core story and battle mechanics convinced many that it was the second coming of Final Fantasy.

In short, it was the JRPG that fans of the genre have been waiting years for - and it came out for a dedicated gaming handheld that many dismissed as a distant second to the booming tablet and smartphone gaming market.

Let's hope that Square Enix really got the message with Bravely Default... and that we won't have to wait another two years after the Japanese release for the sequel's western localization.