All too often we have to report about studio closures and bankruptcies. Usually this is the result of a much loved studio encountering financial hardships and having to close its doors. But sometimes, studios never get off the ground. That is, unfortunately, what happened to Square-Enix’s latest venture, Square Enix India, which has recently closed down without producing a single game.
Square Enix India was established in 2013, and at its time of closing it employed six, yes only six, people. Former Square Enix India Vice President Atul Vibhandik confirmed the studio’s closing, along with the layoffs of all six employees. The goal of the studio was to focus on mobile gaming in the international market. While the studio itself had never announced any gaming projects, supposedly it worked with several developers across India on many independent projects, not necessarily tied to the core Square-Enix name. None of these projects got the green light from Square-Enix HQ in Japan.
Square-Enix is just coming off a recent string of self-proclaimed failures. None of their recent titles met any of their sales goals, despite their popularity. This includes fan favorites like Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. However, they were surprised at the unexpected success of Bravely Default, a traditional styled Final Fantasy game, especially when compared to the rather negative response that their latest numbered title, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII received.
In the wake of this sudden success, Square-Enix president Yosuke Matsuda said that the company would be pulling back their international and mobile efforts and instead re-shift its focus to the companies roots, that being the JRPG market. Instead of trying to update their games to please an American and European audience, they will now try to simply make games that satisfy their core Japanese audience, and let their quality speak for themselves.
“Regardless of whether they're for smartphone or console, there's a difficult element to developing global titles,” Matsuda said. “So we'll be making them without focusing too much on the 'global' aspect. For example, in the past, when we developed console games with a worldwide premise, we lost our focus, and not only did they end up being games that weren't for the Japanese, but they ended up being incomplete titles that weren't even fit for a global audience.”
This pulling back of international development may be one of the reasons for Square-Enix India’s closing. As of now, Square-Enix has not made an official statement on why the studio has closed.
What do you think? Will Square-Enix become the RPG company that it once was? Or has it already overextended itself into the world of mobile and social publishing? How will the closing of Square-Enix India factor into all of this. Let us know what you think in the comments. We will bring you more information about Square-Enix and their projects as it becomes available, and we will bring you a live update on the status of the company from this year’s E3 when it kicks off this June.
Senior Contributing Writer