Square Enix has a very strong library of games and they are one of the most recognized publishers in the gaming industry. They are most notably known for owning one of the biggest JRPG franchises in gaming period. I am of course speaking of the beloved Final Fantasy series. In 2010 Square Enix did two things that surprised me. The first is releasing Final Fantasy 13 which is the most limited game in the series. The second is teaming up with A western developer to create a Western RPG. The project which I am referring to is Dungeon Siege III, which is being developed by Obsidian and published by Square Enix.
Square Enix has continuously made it clear that they wish to cater more towards the western market, hence why Final Fantasy suffered so many changes. Although it wasn’t as well received in the west as they hoped, it was still their intention to make a huge impact. This very well could have been one of the reasons they decided to go multiplatform. Perhaps they see that the Western market has been the most dominant this generation.
Earlier this year Square Enix president Yoichi Wada said the following.
“I believe Final Fantasy XIII is going be something special, and that it’s going to be well-received by the audience. But whether we are going to continue to internally create this type of game remains to be seen, because I actually feel that the team that was involved with Final Fantasy XIII should next move on to create and generate some ‘next generation’ forms of play,” Wada said.
Essentially he was saying that Final Fantasy XIII could be the last of this kind. In my opinion it seems like Yoichi Wada is determined to try new things with the franchise, but perhaps the team lacks direction. This is why I raise the question, what if Square Enix allowed a western developer to come in and shake things up a little for the franchise?
By purchasing Eidos and winning the rights to make Dungeon Siege III, Square are showing more and more just how much they want to make an impact in the western market. What better way to make an impact than to make at least one Final Fantasy game created by western developers? I believe this is something that could be done just to test out the response. Final Fantasy is a series that is known for bringing something new every game, however it is quickly beginning to lose its appeal. Going with a western development team would quickly bring back the general interest, as well as the controversy surrounding the franchise. Perhaps it could be more a collaboration between a western team and the current Square Enix eastern team, as opposed to the western developers being in the driver’s seat 100%. Who knows? One thing is for sure, this is a very interesting possibility.
If this was ever confirmed I would put my money on Obsidian being the commissioned developer. Obsidian now has a track record for being contracted to work on RPG franchises for other publishers. Also they have already established a relationship with Square Enix through working on Dungeon Siege III. While there are other developers I would like to see have a go at the franchise, Obsidian seems like the best bet if this was ever to happen.
The main issue that would come to fruition if this was ever to be, is the response from Square Enix’s loyal eastern market. The eastern market tends to have their own preferences, just like the western. If Square Enix ever took the gamble of going with a western developer then they run the risk of losing some interest from their eastern demographic.
This is all just a theory right now; but depending on how the long awaited Final Fantasy Versus XIII turns out, it may very well be the time to try something new with the franchise. Be sure to leave your comments and let us know your thoughts on this possibility.