A new interview suggests Square Enix can’t make good games by just imitating westerners, words from their company president Yosuke Matsuda.
“Nowadays, the game market has become globalized. The domestic market used to be large, but now it is spoiled next to China and the US,” Matsuda said to Gendai Business (via Yahoo Japan). “If you are not recognized even globally, you cannot do business.”
Here’s where the company boss said Square Enix can’t make good games by just imitating westerners, crushing aspirations of globalism and related media production.
“Interestingly, however, even if Japanese imitate Western games, they will not be able to produce good ones,” Matsuda said. “The drawings of monsters and the visual and audio effects are all somewhat Japanese. And players around the world know that this is what makes Japanese games good.”
Here’s where Matsuda suggests catering to overseas markets ultimately won’t help them in making a successful product, thoughts former Sega boss Toshihiro Nagoshi also shared.
“Overseas markets are important, but it is not enough to develop for them,” Matsuda said.
Elsewhere in the interview, the Square Enix president revealed he used to be a certified public accountant, working mainly in the financial field, before he succeeded former president Yoichi Wada.
“If it is software that is needed for work, sales can be predicted, but if a game is not interesting, it will not sell. If the game is a hit, it is a big deal, but it is also a big risk,” Matsuda said.
He added, “Therefore, to mitigate the risk, we need to use various investment mechanisms. As an example, we are trying something similar to a film production committee system to gather investors. In fact, new methods of investment often come from entertainment companies.”
Matsuda also revealed he has been a gamer for some time now, earning his real nickname “Uncle Headshot,” when he was “sniping enemy characters’ heads while playing a first-person shooter.”
He also got the nickname “Handgun President” because he’s a boomer like we all will be someday, and forgot to switch weapons in game – continually using his handgun.
“I also have another name. When I played a newly released game at an event, I forgot to switch weapons and kept using the handgun that was my initial equipment, and people thought that was my obsession, so I was also called “Handgun President. Both of these names are very disturbing, aren’t they (laughs).”
The last bit is where your newfound appreciation of Matsuda will probably disappear, as the company president once again talks up blockchains and NFTs.
“In the future, we would like to take on the challenge of providing “autonomous game content. Until now, in most games, we provided the content as a finished product, and the players played the content,” Matsuda said. “However, there are a certain number of players in the world who want to contribute to making games more interesting, and they create new settings and ways to play.”
Matsuda then went a bit more into some kind of mechanism for fans to contribute to development, like through a blockchain.
“We want to create a game that will develop by harnessing the power of such people in the future. If we can also provide incentives to those who contribute to development by utilizing technologies such as blockchain, rather than relying on good intentions, there is a possibility that innovative and interesting content will be created from the ideas of users,” Matsuda said.
In closing Matsuda said “the possibilities for entertainment should expand even further in the future” and that Square Enix “will continue to create works that enrich the world.”