- Aug 1, 2015
Even the mighty Tomb Raider seems to have struggled in the eyes of the publisher, failing to meet its initial sales expectations back in 2013 and only beating profit expectations a year after release.
It would be easy to argue the Square's Western business is in trouble, but this is not the entire story. CEO Yosuke Matsuda already spoke to GamesIndustry.biz about why the publisher decided to let Hitman go, but he also shared the current status of these other franchises.
"There are actually lots of misunderstandings here," he says on the perception that his firm's Western games are struggling. "First of all, Tomb Raider is a very important title and very important piece of IP for us, and nothing has changed about that.
"The fiscal year prior to the one where I became president [in 2013] was one where overall our earning numbers were not very good. It was immediately before the end of that fiscal year, in March, that Tomb Raider came out so we had very high expectations for that. Looking back on that now, I think the target we set for ourselves was extremely high.
"I say this with the benefit of hindsight now, but at the time our numbers leading up to the release of Tomb Raider had been very poor and I think our people were probably banking on that and wondering how much it was going to help our final earnings. In the end, it didn't quite sell as much as we had anticipated."
Ms Croft's rebooted adventures have certainly delivered strong sales since. Today, the 2013 Tomb Raider has sold more than 11 million units worldwide. The 2015 sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider has shifted nearly seven million units - and remember that it wasn't available on the market-dominating PS4 for the first year.
Matsuda is also quick to quash premature reports of Deus Ex's demise: "We have never said anything about discontinuing that title but for some reason that's the rumour out on the market.
"What I can say is Eidos Montreal has always developed Deus Ex, and the issue is we do not have limitless resources. We have several big titles that we work with and that's partly a factor in what our line-up looks like. Of course, it would be ideal if we could work on all of them all of the time, but the fact of the matter is some titles have to wait their turn. The reason there isn't a Deus Ex right now is just a product of our development line-up because there are other titles we are working on."
He went on to add that Deus Ex is also a "very important franchise" for the publisher, highlighting its unique position in Square Enix's portfolio as a first-person title, and added: "We are already internally discussing and exploring what we want do with the next instalment of it."