It can’t be argued that the sales of Final Fantasy XIII-2 are disappointing. SquareEnix now has to move on taking into account that its star franchise is not getting the support it used to, but where does it head for?
First, there’s that strong inclination towards westernization : the Japanese (?) company is now focused on two AAA titles directed to the US and European market. I mean of course Tomb Raider and Hitman Absolution, games that the publisher intends to sell by millions to the numerous fans of the action/adventure genre. SquareEnix is so deeply involved in this approach that it has just ressurected the True Crime franchise to as a new project.
In Japan, players will have to make do with non-ambitious titles such as Theatrythm, Lord of Apocalypse, Bravery Default, Heroes of Ruin or the laughable Army Corps of Hell. Not to mention the childish Kingdom Hearts 3D, which pales in comparison with former entries of the series. Dragon Quest X should once more lure many Japanese fans, despite increasingly poorer content and an expensive subscription bill.
FF-centric news are no better : Type-0 looks more or less canned in the West, and there’s not been even a tiny bit of information on VersusXIII for a year. FFXIII-2 should get DLCs of unequal interest in the months to come.
SquareEnix, split between the promise of a Western EL Dorado and the financial security of immediately profitable spin-offs, seem to have lost sight of its fanbase, a scattered diaspora that doesn’t weight anymore in provisional budgets. Let’s hope the firm surprises us by E3 2012, or else someone will have to call Squaresoft’s funeral…