The lights are on
Update: Square Enix has replied to our request for clarification on Murdered: Soul Suspect. "Murdered: Soul Suspect remains on track for a 2014 release," a representative told us. "We have not announced a specific launch date yet. The list at the link below only includes titles shipping through March 2014."
We can then infer from this information, that despite setbacks and a change in leadership, Thief is on track for release by March 31, 2014.
Square Enix has reported its financial performance for this fiscal year's first quarter. The company has improved year-over-year, but is still reporting a significant net loss.
In the most recent quarter, Square Enix lost ¥493 million ($5.02 million) compared to a net loss of ¥2.077 billion ($21 million) in the first quarter of 2012. This quarter's performance was driven by an extraordinary loss (caused by a non-recurring, but significant event) in the amount of ¥1.6 billion ($16 million).
Square Enix has written off this amount due to a change in development policy resulting from the promised review of in-progress games. We have heard from the company recently that it will be shifting toward mobile and social, and narrative content of the financial report reinforces this. The loss seems to align with cancelations.
Square Enix cites the console game markets in North America and Europe as "increasingly competitive and oligopolistic." The publisher is focusing on new revenue streams, and has decided to report its forecast as a range rather than provide specific targets. This conveys significant uncertainty.
Square Enix is coming off an extremely challenging fiscal year, and new president of Europe and the Americas Phil Rogers recently issued a blog post attempting to reassure fans about the company's direction.
Additionally, in the company's list of announced games, there is no mention of Murdered: Soul Suspect. The current-generation title is slated for 2014, but is absent from the company's list of titles already revealed. We've reached out to Square Enix for clarification.
Saints Row IV appears on the list, as Koch Media/Deep Silver have a distribution arrangement. Square Enix is responsible for handling retail placement.
[Source: Square Enix (1), (2)]
Our TakeThe extraordinary loss from an overhaul of in-progress games might not be a bad thing. If expected underperformers were cut, the company saved money and embarrassment by curtailing development. It seems that new president Yosuke Matsude has decided not to throw good money after bad.
However, if the end result is a dramatic shift to mobile away from console development, especially in the West, things aren't going to get better. Deus Ex: The Fall was absolutely terrible, and the company has been pushing out obscenely priced mobile remakes of now-ancient games.
We know that Square Enix in particular is guilty of ballooning development budgets (just look at the absurd sales expectations for its most recent games developed in the West). Studios need to start doing the same (or more) with less, and hopefully the x86 architectures of the next-generation consoles allow that to become a reality.
As for the statement about the console market in the west becoming "increasingly competitive and oligopolistic" in terms of consoles, I can agree with the former, but not the latter. The console landscape has broadened a bit with the stumbling first steps of budget-priced living room hardware, and indie development is thriving, pushing content (and platform holders) in new, broader directions.
There are more players now (though some aren't terribly competitive), and while the software market is crowded right now, things are going to reset come this fall. Anyone who has been through a console transition knows how slim the libraries are for the first six to nine months.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
I don't understand what's so difficult for them to understand...if all their remakes of the classics, or just reselling the classics, are so successful...well here's an idea, go back to that formula for a new game on consoles! We don't need a cinematic game/video on wheels. Give us back an open world to explore, airships, moogles, chocobos, and a good, coherent story that's not bizarre for the sake of being bizarre. Some of the games I enjoy the most are the indie games that have basic graphics that are just fun to play, and those are some of the games that have the highest sales. If Square can't put a team together that's capable of giving us an experience like FFIV or VI with updated graphics, and put the thing out in under 2 years with low production costs, then they should just quit.
Another thing, wasn't Final Fantasy supposed to be the last game because they were about to go bankrupt? What changed that? A great friggin game, that's what!! Earth to Square, your classics that saved you from bankruptcy once are what people STILL love to play. Go back to your freaking roots and make another great game, and we'll all rush to buy it!!!
The only Square Enix games I play are the big ones that aren't final Fantasy. I played Deus Ex and Hitman, as well as Sleeping dogs and enjoyed them. But they always fall just a bit short of being amazing. Square I don't think knows what Western gamers really want. Because they aren't hitting it at all.
I will continue to back Square until they just have nothing left and decide to shut the doors (Which I hope doesn't happen) I have enjoyed pretty much everything they have made and will continue to buy their games. Stay Strong guys
They could Buy Atlus, OR or, HD Remake of FF 7
More evidence that Square Enix just doesn't get it. /sigh
this is what happens when there is no innovation on the rpg side and some lack of advertisements on their western games side...i blame mostly the jrpg side for this. square enix hasnt been able to evolve or understand the new environment of gaming....
I had to google "oligopolistic" and I'm not ashamed to admit it. lol.
I am glad to hear about Thief being on track, I was really worried for a week or so. Like the other comments said, it is really disappointing to see a company that was once held in such high regard fall, they need to get back to their amazing RPG roots
I'm a Final Fantasy fan boy and I'll admit it... I never got into FFXI, but I've loved all the games in the series (least favorite being IX). Makes me worried to see them in financial duress, but I believe they'll pull through.
Square needs to dial back costs, improve development time, and localize a little better. I used to love Square, but now it seems like every time I hear something from them, it's how this game didn't do as well as it should have, or how this game has been delayed, again, or I'm just plain not seeing any effort in bring a NA release (DQX, Type-0).
God, I miss the days of SquareSoft...
good. Square has yet to impress me within the past few years. the horizons have greatly expanded for the gaming experience and i feel that most Japanese-made games can't hold up as much anymore. most of the entertainment that pumps out of Japan is very One-Dimensional and usually offers little to explore and experience with a given title
What a shame. . .