I've been playing a lot of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD of late, and it's impossible not to do so without remembering a time when Square knew who and what it was as a company, where its strengths lay, and what it was truly best at.
A week or so ago, Jon reported on a few telling quotes from Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda, as he talked about the company's desire to pursue mass market appeal with their games.
"If you focus too much on the global aspect, you might lose sight of who you're actually making the game for," Matsuda said. "For example, if you look back at 2013, we've had some home console games made for a global audience that struggled."
He pointed to Hitman: Absolution in that regard, before holding up Bravely Default as an example of a game that stuck to its guns and delivered an outstanding JRPG that refused to compromise, and sold well because of it.
But why did Square Enix go down this path in the first place? Why try to fix a problem that wasn't broken to begin with? To take a look at the recent instalments in their flagship series -- Final Fantasy -- is to see a process of paranoid tinkering, desperately trying to make the series more streamlined and action-oriented, to the point where, in Final Fantasy XIII, all you had to do for the first fifteen hours was push "Up" and "A". Now, with Lightning Returns, we have a game that's barely recognisable by the standards that made Final Fantasy a household brand name.
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