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News Business Analysis Square Enix Will Learn From Avengers Failure and Continue To Invest In AAA Games and New IPs

Mar 7, 2017
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Square Enix is a failure of a company. They have become so greedy they have forgotten that they are sitting on a vault full of what most people consider the greatest RPGs (Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Valkyrie Profile, Star Ocean, etc.) of all time. All we get from them these days is shovel ware, ultra monetizable garbage games like the Avengers or half-assed RPGs with shallow stories. Their only decent games in my opinion are FFXIV and FFVII Remake.

Nah... AAA gaming is just... well... freaking expensive. And a quick look at the big 5 publishers will remind you of the importance of having multiple tens of million selling, annualized franchises; which provide the cash cow to finance the more risky endeavors.

All SE's legacy IP can be seen as risky in this day and age, especially for new entries with close to AAA budgets. SE is (rightly) banking on their western branch to deliver a AAA GaaS cash cow title so that no matter how their Japanese-made gems sell, their gaming cash flow will still look strong to their shareholders.

It's the right strategy for them, imho. It's just that Avengers was simply the wrong game.

They needed something that can fit into the looter RPG-lite mold. X-Men would have been the much better Marvel IP option to pursue for this.
 
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Nah... AAA gaming is just... well... freaking expensive. And a quick look at the big 5 publishers will remind you of the importance of having multiple tens of million selling, annualized franchises; which provide the cash cow to finance the more risky endeavors.

All SE's legacy IP can be seen as risky in this day and age, especially for new entries with close to AAA budgets. SE is (rightly) banking on their western branch to deliver a AAA GaaS cash cow title so that no matter how their Japanese-made gems sell, their gaming cash flow will still look strong to their shareholders.

It's the right strategy for them, imho. It's just that Avengers was simply the wrong game.

They needed something that can fit into the looter RPG-lite mold. X-Men would have been the much better Marvel IP option to pursue for this.

You would consider a Chrono Trigger sequel risky?
 

Esppiral

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Nov 19, 2018
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The thing that puts me off with this game is it's online focuse other wise it looks and plays great. If the focused on a good single player campaign I would have buy it
 

levyjl1988

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The game design is pretty bad, shoot big glowing circles to open doors, stand on big giant buttons to open doors, like what were game designers thinking, it's like they got interns to design this game. Really big giant buttons and switches to activate is all they could think of?
 

Woopah

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Jun 15, 2019
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Can you share his twitter handle?


Even if game sucked, if a highly marketed huge budget game with an intriguing character driven storyline and addictive gameplay loop centered around loot, it has the potential to remain at the top 5 charts for few months.

I know about Kamala Khan has been a comic character for quite sometime, I specifically mentioned whether a conscious decision was made to risk having a story centered on a female POC character named Kamala for such an expensive game with budget more than US$170 Million.

American politics wont be affected by such initiatives but if the game end up being a disaster, SE might have to close down studios which will not only affect their brand and output of their next game but also negatively impact the talent employed in that studio.

I don't care about subtle political commentary in games rather I welcome it but there is too much of US politics and ensuing policies resulting from it bleeding into games nowadays and these mandates have to be followed even by Big Japanese devs.
Its a game about Marvel characters and Kamala is a Marvel character. The majority of the characters in the game are white guys so it would be weird to say the game is "political" just because a main character doesn't have white skin.
 

OSC

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They want to have it both ways. Blame COVID and still "learn lessons". I wonder what lessons they are taking away from that game's failure?
Hopefully they learn paying for the actor likenesses is worth the price. This would have been a blockbuster sale if they had the likenesses.
 

Zekra Dezivad

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Aug 22, 2011
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It's really not built around GAAS, though. At one point, I'm sure it was, but that was seemingly exorcised late in the development cycle because there is absolutely nothing worthy of real money in the game. They're not charging for additional characters (miraculously!), they're just charging for cosmetic garbage (with emphasis on the word garbage).
That said, you are correct that they don't spend 100mm on a game to make back .1mm, but that's not what's happening here. The projections were that first month sales would immediately recoup costs. First month sales, despite the negative word of mouth and lukewarm critical reception, was 3+ million. For context, that is (or was?) the second-biggest superhero game launch of all time. If 3+ million sales in the first month aren't enough to meet projections, that's more of a reflection on Square Enix's business divisions being a bit too optimistic in their immediate returns than the game being an outright failure or whatever people want to believe.

Edit: I almost forgot that Spider-Man is still coming to the game. Do not underestimate the selling power of Spidey. Oh and Black Panther, whom will probably get a lot of attention thanks to recent events...
The also have Doctor Strange and other movie heroes, but they decided to focus on Kate Bishop and Hawkeye. Nice choice I suppose.
 
T

The New Guy

Unconfirmed Member
The Avengers really should have done a lot better than it did, on the surface. With all the Marvel craze when the movies were coming out, and how hot it was and smashing box office records, I expected a game would have been the logical step and sold well. They really dropped the ball with it. Just felt far too generic & uninspired. I would have probably bought if it had been better, especially after enjoying Spider-Man.
 
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You would consider a Chrono Trigger sequel risky?

One made with a AAA budget... sure. Heck, even a AA budget entry would be a risky project.

The last official entry in the series was released decades ago. From a business perspective, how would a bunch of corporate execs and project accountants be able to quantify the size of any potential market for a new game in this series in today's gaming market?

It would be very difficult. Especially because in the span of time elapsed since the last entry in the series, the industry and gaming consumer tastes have shifted considerably and changed many times over. For one, in terms of game sales we're in a far more western-dominated market than existed when Chrono-Cross/Trigger first released. Which is why ALL the big Japanese gaming publishers tend to weigh their commercial decisions on gaming projects to greenlight waaay more carefully.

In many ways, a more traditional JRPG gaming franchise has to be a sure bet to recoup the majority of its production and marketing costs in Japan alone. And Japan's gaming tastes and habits have moved on from the Super Nintendo and early PS1 era.
 

MiguelItUp

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I'm sure the will. I just hope that they've learned something about the project and its performance.
 

spookyfish

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It’s just like Marvel vs Capcom Infinite: Marvel/Disney had so many “can’t do this: gotta do that” hands in the project. SE would do well to stay away from those type of games.
 
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I'm still looking forward to Bravely Default II. The first two were great, so I'm gonna hold out and hope they didn't do anything to mess it up.
 

ArtHands

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I remember Crystal Dynamics telling XBox and PC players to go buy a Playstation if they want to play as Spider-Man for this game.



I guess everyone just decided not to buy the game entirely instead.
 
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Alphagear

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I never really considered Chrono Cross a sequel. A good game on it's own sure but not a direct sequel. More like an alternate timeline type thing in my opinion.

Whatever the case it flopped miserably.

We will not see another Chrono game again.

Simply too niche.
 

Kumomeme

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Mar 20, 2017
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Man, wish we could rewind ten years and have S-E exhibit this kind of contrition following FFXIII.

AITA?
i can say they did. it just the situation with Marvel Avengers is bit different

One of reason for XIII failure is the struggle with latest technology. The engine, Crystal Tools such a mess and the management even want the incomplete engine to develop 3 game simultaneously. The result, you can see how mess the game announced that time. XIII, XIV, Versus 13 for example.

For XV the former technical director Julien Mceron want to make sure the Luminous Engine developed alongside with only one game to avoid same fiasco. They used to have a long habit of always creating/polish their own tools. So for Square to also start to use and experiment with 3rd party engine. For devs who already used to the longtime habit, it is probably something huge and foreign for them. The Last Remnant for example and later UE4 powered VII Remake and even Dragon Quest XI.

It just they probably struggled hard after XIII. We will see how it goes later then. Lot of their new titles use UE4 and Luminous Engine should be completed and the team already gain knowhow of making openworld game from XV. Only thing im not sure they learn is mindset of unhealthy obsession of visuals and everything can be patched later. We can see this in XV.

But on their western side is bit different. They should have better grasp of this aspect than japanese side. Probably what they need is someone competent to oversee those branchs. Probably they need someone that has proper direction to guide development of games like Tomb Rider, Deus, Just Cause, Avengers etc. Sony has guy like Shuhei Yoshida for example. They probably need someone of that caliber. For the Avenger game, they might need 'another' version of Naoki Yoshida to save the game or someone else capable to oversee whole branches.
 
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sid2vicious

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I remember Crystal Dynamics telling XBox and PC players to go buy a Playstation if they want to play as Spider-Man for this game.



I guess everyone just decided not to buy the game entirely instead.

And that's what should happen when you alienate 2/3 of your customers.
 

tichamac

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Dec 6, 2020
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Its a game about Marvel characters and Kamala is a Marvel character.
A Marvel character that next to nobody cares about. Her most recent paperback release (in a month with reliable data - thanks WuFlu,) came in at 193rd. It's not like she was a top 10 seller every month. She's a literal afterthought. You really think the bean counters at Marvel chose to make her the focus of the story because it made good business sense?
 
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MrFunSocks

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They probably shouldn't have made a game called Avengers and not used the likenesses of the avengers actors that everyone associates with those characters, and then focuses on a character that no one that watched the movies knows or cares about.
 
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KingT731

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I remember Crystal Dynamics telling XBox and PC players to go buy a Playstation if they want to play as Spider-Man for this game.



I guess everyone just decided not to buy the game entirely instead.
Well considering by their statement Spider-man wasn't even going to be in the game to start with...

Anyway I think most people were stuck on the wrong things from the start. People seemingly dislike Kamala but she fits in with the story and doesn't feel out of place (until the ending) and others crying because they didn't pay the MCU actors to use their likenesses etc. The focus should be on the actual issues with the game like the bugs, lack of end game content, mission variety as well as character additions etc which are currently being addressed but we still don't have a content roadmap.
 

Woopah

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A Marvel character that next to nobody cares about. Her most recent paperback release (in a month with reliable data - thanks WuFlu,) came in at 193rd. It's not like she was a top 10 seller every month. She's a literal afterthought. You really think the bean counters at Marvel chose to make her the focus of the story because it made good business sense?
No I don't think the bean counters choose her. As the developers themselves said, they wanted to do something different from the MCU and tell a new story in a new way. Kamala was an important element of that for them.

I think SE were right to let the developers tell the story they wanted to tell, rather than have the bean counters say "no you're not allowed to use that character, you have to use this more popular one".
 

STARSBarry

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No I don't think the bean counters choose her. As the developers themselves said, they wanted to do something different from the MCU and tell a new story in a new way. Kamala was an important element of that for them.

I think SE were right to let the developers tell the story they wanted to tell, rather than 0have the bean counters say "no you're not allowed to use that character, you have to use this more popular one".

Pretty much this, I think they deserve the right to make what they want, and tell the story they want.

On the flipside I reserve the right to roll my eyes on a character that does not intrest me in the least and therefore not buy the game, but id never tell them they shouldent have made it that way, just that it sucks and is uninteresting to me.
 
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I think it's hugely unfortunate that Square Enix seemed incapable of viewing Deus Ex as anything other than a super mainstream huge budget AAA game. I have my issues with both of the Eidos Montreal Deus Ex games in terms of tone and approach to the political complexities of the subject matter, but the Deus Ex series deserves to live. If they couldn't justify a third entry in the new trilogy, why not fund a lower budget remake of the original game? Look at the hugely positive reception and good sales of well done remakes of Spongebob and Destroy All Humans, for example. Those were not big budget projects. THQ Nordic kept things scaled down to ensure profitability. I feel like a hypocrite because I feel like a lot of remakes exist to sell games to audiences obsessed with pretty graphics. But I think there's a solid argument for remaking Deus Ex in a world where there's no definitive version. PC has heaps of good points, PS2 has way better animation, a very nice gamepad-friendly UI, and nicer visuals in places.

It's the same with Thief. Square Enix tried to turn Thief into some kind of modern AAA stealth game, and to be fair Thief 4 is not a terrible game, just incoherent and messy. Go back to the basics. Moderate budget, strong focus on replay value, objective driven design where objects scale with difficulty. If fans can make The Dark Project on basically no budget, surely a publisher can pay someone to make a moderate budget entry in the Thief series targeting that legacy fanbase, just like THQ Nordic has figured out how do with with the games they bring back. Imagine The Master Thief Collection where they combine Thief 1-3 into a single package running in a new engine with mod support and stuff.

Same deal with Tomb Raider. Instead of pouring money into a hole, why not make a spiritual successor to classic Tomb Raider? Incorporate QoL improvements from the LAU Trilogy, but generally focus on puzzle solving, exploration, light combat, etc. Not cutscenes, big dramatic set pieces, and stuff like that.
 
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Woopah

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Pretty much this, I think they deserve the right to make what they want, and tell the story they want.

On the flipside I reserve the right to roll my eyes on a character that does not intrest me in the least and therefore not buy the game, but id never tell them they shouldent have made it that way, just that it sucks and is uninteresting to me.
Agreed. Whichever character they pick is going to have people who don't like them and no one is obliged to buy a game they don't want to.

I know that I have no interest in this sort of game and would have much preferred another Deus Ex (although understand why they went with this instead)
 
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Whatever the case it flopped miserably.

We will not see another Chrono game again.

Simply too niche.

It sold 2.31 million copies on SNES which is really good for back then. Not to mention most people consider it the greatest RPG of all time. No one said it had to be an AAA game either. Your comments really point out why current gen gaming has become so terrible. Everything costs a fortune to make and has to be highly monetizable or it's not worth it for companies like Square. I wish they would just sell off the IPs to indy devs if they aren't going to use them. What a waste.
 

Alphagear

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It sold 2.31 million copies on SNES which is really good for back then. Not to mention most people consider it the greatest RPG of all time. No one said it had to be an AAA game either. Your comments really point out why current gen gaming has become so terrible. Everything costs a fortune to make and has to be highly monetizable or it's not worth it for companies like Square. I wish they would just sell off the IPs to indy devs if they aren't going to use them. What a waste.

Sorry I was referring to Chrono Cross which flopped.
 

BattleMonkey

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Covid is the "get out of jail free" card that everybody is abusing.

Except it's a real world problem many are facing, the developers of this game have outlined all their struggles with this game and how it was a huge hurdle, the game really needed to be delayed as the developers were shackled to it when they couldn't work in their studio. Bunch of the devs had to evacuate their homes due to the CA fires, Covid putting restrictions in their state that also prevented going to work and working remote on a game like this was not easy as they don't have access to the same computer systems, high speed networking, motion capture studios, and slows things down. Lot of other companies have been dealing with similar issues, but the devs of this game were hit hard in large part cause of the studios location and the heavy lockdowns they faced compared to other places. The release date needed to be pushed to 2021 really
 

kiphalfton

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Except it's a real world problem many are facing, the developers of this game have outlined all their struggles with this game and how it was a huge hurdle, the game really needed to be delayed as the developers were shackled to it when they couldn't work in their studio. Bunch of the devs had to evacuate their homes due to the CA fires, Covid putting restrictions in their state that also prevented going to work and working remote on a game like this was not easy as they don't have access to the same computer systems, high speed networking, motion capture studios, and slows things down. Lot of other companies have been dealing with similar issues, but the devs of this game were hit hard in large part cause of the studios location and the heavy lockdowns they faced compared to other places. The release date needed to be pushed to 2021 really

Other devs were able to release games during this time frame, and they turned out fine. Aside from that, it's not like COVID coincided with the entire duration of the dev cycle, and the period of time when COVID did impact development was small in relation to the total time this game was in development.
 

BattleMonkey

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Other devs were able to release games during this time frame, and they turned out fine. Aside from that, it's not like COVID coincided with the entire duration of the dev cycle, and the period of time when COVID did impact development was small in relation to the total time this game was in development.

It's almost like different studios have different problems. A big problem that this studio faced was it's location in California which had the strongest of all lockdowns compared to much of the US. The team behind it have been very detailed and candid with the problems they had to deal with, including members of the team evacuating and having to take long periods of time off work and also losing their homes. Again issues that many others did not face. Other studios have had problems too, but many were able to still go into their studios, or were only partially working from home at times, this team pretty much all had to stop going to work for many months and go totally remote. Team member makes a change in game code, the entire thing has to be recompiled and then uploaded online and passed around on slower hardware, waiting for remote answers and availability of team members. Working in a studio with the hardware most have, this is all almost instant processes on interior networks and rapid storage solutions. What takes minutes in studio takes hours for remote work, entire efficiency is trashed.

The impact of COVID literally was almost the entire year leading up to the final release date, how that has no bearing is ridiculous. The final year is when it all comes together, all the final bug fixing and finalizing of the game along with this being a game that was meant to be a service release with new content monthly, they just have not been able to do it.

This isn't a case of simply going "covid is to blame" that some devs have tossed out (and no it's not a fake excuse when it's a real world pandemic which has fucked with everyones work flow). They have been extremely detailed in how COVID broke down so much and they have been consistently talking to the fans on reddit about the game.

As for games turning out fine, did they? We have one game after another being released in half assed and in buggy messes because they were forced out for the holidays. And look at the huge amount of games that have been pushed back and delayed? Ton of Fall and Holiday titles were pushed till next year because of the COVID issues.

This game like many others was not released in a finished state, Square should have held it off instead of focusing on releasing it right before the holiday season. Now they had to go and push back the PS5 and SeriesX releases as well.
 
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Woopah

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And I'm saying the odds that they organically decided to base their $200 million video game around her is next to 0.
Why? We both agreed that it wasn't done for business reasons,so why don't you think that this is what the developers wanted?
 

Neil Young

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Picked up Avengers on sale. I thought the campaign was pretty good, short, but good. The endgame seems to be a bit wonky but I feel that the combat is pretty damn good. I didn't think it was nearly as bad as people made it out to be.
 

VictorVectors

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Picked up Avengers on sale. I thought the campaign was pretty good, short, but good. The endgame seems to be a bit wonky but I feel that the combat is pretty damn good. I didn't think it was nearly as bad as people made it out to be.
I just found this in a budget bin at Target.

When Spider-man?

The Avengers blog has basically STOPPED updating entirely now. I paid for it (excitedly actually) because of the future of the game and the changes that were planned.

I don't even see an update for Hawkeye who was promised months ago. I just can't believe this is honestly abandon ware already.
 

e&e

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They just updated on Discord that no stream was coming this week. I like the game, just hope it’s not dead...
 

Fitzchiv

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In Deus Ex: Human Revolution they revived a legendary IP and created the foundation for some of this recurring revenue they want. They then fucked about with the sequel trying to wring every bit of money they could from it, butchered it, and thus turned people away from it. If DX:MD had been released as a full, clean story that either progressed or ended Jensen's story it would have been more of a success and we'd likely be looking at the imminent release of the final entry to a trilogy of games.

Hindsight is 20:20 but sheer fucking greed and stupidity is why they're licking their wounds. The door is now wide open for a DX release to re-affirm it's "cyberpunk" crown having seen CP2077 set itself up to be a massive improvement on the theme and fail.

So stop fucking about with GAAS and focus on DX, Tomb Raider and Thief - three fantastic IP's which could provide 10 years of steady success if treated right.
 
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Certinty

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The game is dead, has been for ages.

It’s a shame to be honest, each character plays really uniquely. Besides that and some odd good story missions, the rest is just so meh (or worse).

I can only hope they somehow recycle all the good for a better game in the future or something.
 
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