Square Enix president Takashi Kiryu says he wants to diversify the studio's lineup of games by relying less on "strong IPs" like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.
In a recently published Q&A from a November 2023 financial briefing, Takashi admits there are two areas he thinks Square Enix is lacking when it comes to its medium-term business plan. The second point, which we covered here, is the company's at-times lackluster marketing.
The first thing he brought up, though, is that he thinks there's a tendency "to be overly reliant on certain gameplay styles or genres." Namely, Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy-type games, which to me translates to JRPGs (acknowledging Final Fantasy 16 is an action-RPG).
"Because we possess strong IPs like the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy franchises, I believe that we have tended to be overly reliant on certain gameplay styles or genres," Kiryu said. "Meanwhile, the tastes of customers in the gaming market have diversified, and customers have come to enjoy content from a variety of genres."
Pointing to the success of Powerwash Simulator, which he calls "an outlier in our portfolio" and "a game well suited for casual play," Kiryu says, "I want to increase our development proficiency by strengthening our internal development capabilities so that we are able to achieve greater diversity in our title portfolio."
It's worth noting that Powerwash Simulator was developed by FuturLab and Square Enix published it for Steam. If I'm reading Kiryu's words right, he's saying he wants Square itself to internally develop games from different genres in hopes that it'll bottle some of the same lightning its successful third-party games have.
"Over the long term, we need to strengthen the internal portion of our development function," Kiryu adds. "More specifically, I mean that we want to concentrate our development resources on carefully selected new titles that we will develop to a high level of quality. At the same time, rather than focusing solely on major titles, we want to also take on new challenges, partly because we want to add to the diversity of our portfolio of titles, as I noted earlier, while also enabling our developers to expand their skill sets."
Of course, this absolutely doesn't mean Square Enix is going to stop making Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games, only that it wants to branch out into other genres as well as continue its tentpole series.