Square Enix Are Wary about Persona 5
Does anyone else remember when mainline Final Fantasy titles used to be the biggest releases of any given year’s gaming calendar? No? Well that is hardly surprising seeing as it has been an age since that was the case. At any rate at one point in time that was the case, before Square Enix started trashing the Final Fantasy brand after becoming bored with making JRPGs. Squaresoft and Enix each used to do one thing well – produce industry leading JRPGs. Following the merger this was no longer the case, as the company lurched from attempting to turn Final Fantasy into a shooter [Dirge of Cerberus] to an RTS [Revenant Wings], but none of it came off well. The years of bait-and-switch have certainly taken their toll, and never was that so apparent than this week.
The zeal of fanboyism is such that developers are rarely ever punished for just one bad game. Happily though, if an audience is let down repeatedly and consistently over a protracted period of time, then it will eventually harm the the performance of future product releases. This is what has happened to Final Fantasy. Last week this author specualted that Square Enix appeared to lack confidence in the potential of Final Fantasy XV, owing to the fact that they were going all out to promote the existence of Final Fantasy VII Demake at the expense of the soon-to-be-released Final Fantasy XV. This week one is even more comfortable making that diagnosis, as Square Enix is clearly worried about the effect that launching too close to the Persona 5 release date will have on Final Fantasy XV game sales.
This week Square Enix has sent out a survey to Japanese customers in order to ascertain whether they are Persona fans, and whether they would be inclined to purchase Persona 5 ahead of Final Fantasy XV. This is a clear indication that Square Enix are concerned about the sales of Persona 5 eating into the sales of Final Fantasy XV. This also means that Square Enix predict that they will have Final Fantasy XV finished in time for an early 2016 release, but are considering delaying the release so that it will not have to go up against competition. At one time Square Enix would hardly even have to consider what other games they put the latest Final Fantasy up against, but now days they are right to be fearful of the outcome of putting Final Fantasy up against Persona. Atlus is a studio that understands who it is that they are making games for, and they have always done right by Persona fans. A gamercentric approach has helped grow the Persona brand into a huge multi-media money earner, including fighting games, rhythm games, and some well received anime. Persona 5 is not so big that it will best the sales of Final Fantasy XV, but it is big enough that it would put quite a dent in them. As such, it is quite prudent of Square Enix to have so little faith in Final Fantasy XV when put up against Persona 5.
Rise of the Tomb Raider’s Exclusivity Was Only Meant to Be for 4-6 Months
Square Enix’ Final Fantasy XV fears were not even the full extent of the embarrassing revelations to escape the company this week, as it would seem that Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s Xbone exclusivity was even more of a drastic own goal than many people had predicted. To recap, Square Enix initially announced Rise of the Tomb Raider as a multiplatform title, before Microsoft began throwing around their cash, and Square Enix decided that they wanted some of those shekels. It turns out that was a very bad bet on the part of Square Enix, as the PS4 went on to perform much better than the Xbox One, and the PS4 port will not perform nearly as well as it could have when it releases a year late. When Tomb Raider (2013) released it was able to sell five million copies across Xbox 360, PS3, and PC; when that same game was later re-released for next gen consoles the Xbone version was able to sell 450,000 copies. Since its release on November 10 Rise of the Tomb Raider has sold just 500,000 copies on the Xbone – a mere 50,000 more copies than the re-release of an old game. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a trainwreck and the PS4 version is not set to bolster its sales for almost another eleven months. One would not know anything were amiss to hear Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg talk about it though:
“It launched in a very crowded window, but it has done well. A lot of people bought both Fallout 4 and Tomb Raider. At the same time we know a lot of people may have bought Tomb Raider and wait on Fallout or bought Fallout and waited on Tomb Raider.”
Nobody waited on Fallout. One is tempted to say that Xboners waited on Rise of the Tomb Raider, only that seems to imply that they actually plan on buying Tomb Raider which is far from certain.
Here is the crazy thing though, multiple Square Enix insiders have claimed this week that the original exclusivity deal entailed Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s Xbone exclusivity lasting a mere 4-6 months, meaning that the PS4 version was originally intended to launch alongside the PC port in early 2016. After the initial exclusivity announcement Square Enix went dark on all discussion of a PS4 port, which generated a strong and persistent backlash against them. Out of a desire to mitigate this backlash Square Enix convinced themselves that they had to confirm to PS4 owners that their port was still in development, however their agreement with Microsoft prevented them from doing so until the exclusivity period had ended. Square Enix and Microsoft went back to the negotiating table, and it was decided that Square Enix could talk about the PS4 version if they were willing to extend Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s exclusivity to a full twelve months – prolonging the game’s release by roughly 6-8 months! Good call, Square Enix!
The Week in Crowdfunding Fraud
Lusipurr.com readers may have been a little surprised earlier today to discover that after all these years Coleco [of Colecovision fame] was on the verge of releasing a new console: the Coleco Chameleon. It is amusing that the team decided to go with calling their console the ‘Chameleon’, given that it is literally just the Retro VGS console masquerading as a successor to the Coleco consoles. The first time around the Retro VGS was unsuccessful in its bid to be crowd funded on account of the fact that a prototype of the console had not even been designed [much less built], not to mention these knuckle-heads were demanding three-hundred dollars for it. The team plan to take the Coleco Chameleon to Kickstarter in the new year.
In other news, last week Lusipurr.com warned readers about the massive conflict of that Tim Schafer created when he took his Psychonauts 2 project to FIG crowdfunding platform, seeing as he is a FIG consultant as well as an investor in FIG’s parent company. This week we have seen Schafer arbitrarily adjust the campaign counter to give himself thirty-seven days instead of thirty-two. Moreover, it has been discovered that any money donated to a specific FIG project can be used on that company’s other projects freely. The games media that should be warning consumers are all busy shilling for the Psychonauts 2 campaign, and several of them are likely investors. How have these people not been arrested?
Anime Spotlight: Prince of Stride – Alternative
The extreme sport of ‘Stride’ involves teams of six people striding around a city in a sort of parkour-based relay race. Takeru Fujiwara and Nana Sakurai are first years attending Honan Academy, but when they get there they discover that the Honan Stride team has been shut down. Fujiwara and Sakurai must restart the Honan Stride team and recruit six members if they want to win the ‘End of Summer’, which is the top Stride competition that all the local schools will be vying to win. Interestingly, rather than being based on an existing manga, Prince of Stride – Alternative is based upon a visual novel on the PS Vita. The anime is set to feature the same voice acting cast as the game. Prince of Stride – Alternative begins its run on the 5th of January, 2016 – though the series does not appear to have been licensed for simulcast outside of Japan, meaning that one might have to view it on a streaming site that is a mite more dubious than Crunchyroll or Funimation if one is so inclined. Anime Box is a good choice, assuming that it adds the series.