Square-Enix says it had a fairly decent showing at this past E3 – or rather, its Eidos branch did.
There were dozens and dozens of new games on the E3 2011 show floor, but some of the most high-profile were at the Square-Enix booth: Hitman Absolution, Tomb Raider, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. This may seem like good news for Square, but there’s a caveat: All of these games are being developed by Eidos.
On the final day of the event, a Square-Enix Holdings executive, Koji Taguchi tweeted his disappointment at the apparent failure of the publisher’s Japanese studios to live up to its Eidos teams. “Because we merged with Eidos and had games like Tomb Raider, Deus and Hitman, as a company we were able to keep face,” he wrote. “But the decline in Japanese titles was almost humiliating. This has been a week where I worried daily about how we can fix this.”
The Japanese games industry’s lag behind the Western industry has been a topic of concern among Square-Enix’s leadership for quite some time now. In 2008, Squeenix president Yoichi Wada said that he felt the Japanese industry had “lost its position,” and in 2010 he said that no Japanese company had truly succeeded at becoming a global games studio. The JRPG giant had hoped that Final Fantasy XIII would “resurrect” the Japanese industry, but that didn’t quite pan out as hoped.
Square-Enix’s only major Japanese game at E3 was Final Fantasy XIII-2, and while the game is clearly attempting to address gamers’ problems with its predecessor with a less linear experience and more towns to explore, one decent-looking game doesn’t weigh in well against three well-received ones.
Of course, it’s not like Square-Enix won’t gladly accept the money from games like Deus Ex and Tomb Raider, but in a matter of pride and saving face, it’s understandable that its executives would like its Japanese side to pick up the slack.