Earlier today in Japan, Square Enix had a shareholder’s meeting at which the company’s CEO Yoichi Wada spoke. At the meeting, he confirmed that the company is doing a technical review to see if upcoming RPG Dragon Quest X can be made compatible with the Wii U’s functions. Dragon Quest X has already been announced for the Wii, but an investor had asked why they were releasing the system for an outdated console. Even if the game isn’t released with Wii U functionality, it will be fully playable with the system, as the Wii U is fully backwards compatible with the older unit.
Dragon Quest X is reportedly “almost done”, though it has not been officially titled yet, nor does it have a release date.
Elsewhere in the press conference – translated by Andriasang – Mr. Wada made mention of the fact that while the company is looking to port older versions of their Mana and Saga (Seiken Densetsu) franchises, there were no plans at the moment to create new entries. He also noted that the new Tomb Raider didn’t have a number on it because the company is looking to “reboot” established properties, and that the losses regarding the PlayStation Network’s outage drives into the hundreds of millions of yen, but exact losses have not been calculated. Lastly, he noted that the company “should have worked harder” on the poorly received Front Mission: Evolved, and that he believes the company has gotten the hang of creating games for social networks.
Analysis: I’m shocked the company even has shareholders at this point. Here is a man who routinely passes the buck to his subordinates, constantly shows that he doesn’t understand new technology, and has fallen into the classic suit trap of regurgitating instead of innovating. I don’t care how good the new Tomb Raider looks; anyone who’s a fan of Squeenix’s work – and I count myself among them, or at least of Squeenix’s older work – should shudder at the line about rebooting old franchises. It’s not because they feel they can open the franchise up in a new and innovative way, it’s because they know the name sells, period. Innovation simply does not move units to a man who once had a temper tantrum in his boardroom while telling his subordinates that they would be replaced if sales didn’t improve.
This puts the company in an uncomfortable position: they’re too big to truly adapt (check out how slowly they’ve adjusted to new technologies and newer gamers), yet they’ve lost their ability to cater to their older fans. This leaves older fans upset because they’re not getting the games they’re accustomed to, yet are still paying premium prices for the rights to those games, and new fans… well, they’re not even looking back at the dinosaur at this point.
I can’t believe Yoichi Wada hasn’t been replaced yet. I really can’t. Under his watch, his company has tanked, and he has shown pitiful leadership. It’s sad to watch two companies I grew up loving turn into what they’ve become. Especially when the only thing keeping Squeenix going at this point is the company responsible for Kane & Lynch.