Square Enix Has Come Close To Licensing Out Old Eidos IP, But It’ll Probably Be A Few Years
Last week at Gamescom, I had the chance to speak with Square Enix America and Europe president and CEO Phil Rogers. During the conversation, we discussed the publisher’s Collective program, which offers pre-crowdfunding exposure and opportunity for developers to work on older IP.
Rogers tells us that the Collective isn’t just a way for Square Enix to help indie developers find an audience. The studio has seen an internal swelling of support.
“It’s amazing how much impact it’s had on our blogs and our social channels, but also internally,” Rogers tells me. “There’s often a studio close by [an indie developer]. We ask, ‘Can we help them? Can we look at their plans?’ With our experience and our smarts, we say, ‘Busy people make time.’ It’s the busiest creatives and designers that are helping smaller teams think about things.”
Collective is also a way for Square Enix to build relationships with developers that might want to work on the publisher’s older IP. Currently, Gex, Fear Effect, and Anachronox are available for studios to pitch. Rogers thinks that this pool will grow over time.
“Getting treatments? This is what I’d love to see more of,” he says. “In 20 years or 10 years, to have a team say, ‘I’ve got a great idea for Legacy of Kain or Final Fantasy or Tomb Raider.’ We’re being very careful. We’re very clear about the IPs that we would like to give to people.”
So far, Square Enix has received a number of pitches from developers wanting to work on these properties. While none have been selected, some have received serious consideration.
“Collective for us is not a one-year project. It’s going to build and be part of Square Enix going forward,” Rogers explains. "They’ve come very close. We’ve been very impressed with some of the teams. We’ve been impressed with the quality and the ideas.”
He also doesn’t expect this to be an overnight process. Square Enix is feeling its way through this process, and wants to make sure it finds the right partnership.
“I’d say it’s probably a three- to five-year horizon,” he predicts. “I think there are a lot of aspects from a practical point of view with regard to external studios that we’re working with and then internally how we evolve.”
For more on our conversation with Phil Rogers, you can read his thoughts on how the divisiveness of the Tomb Raider reboot helped bring timed exclusivity to Xbox. And for Dragon Quest fans, he offers hope for localization of recently announced titles.