Last week Square Enix announced, hot on the heels of their public apology for sucking the last few years at RPGs, that they were making a “Light novel-styled RPG with an all-star voice cast.” Awesome. Good strategy, Squeenix. Go get ’em.
Now, it seems the big reveal is here: School Girl Strikers. OK. Awesome. PS3? Maybe next-gen? No? It’s… it’s an iPhone game? With in-game purchases? Square Enix, are you shitting me?
This was your chance. This was your big opportunity to get back in the game. You could have come out with a new IP, even if it was still in super-duper pre-planning stages. You could have even lied about the HD remake of FFVII that you must be kicking yourselves for not doing by now and it would have been better than this.
I literally just finished defending Conception II to my Twinfinite colleagues before I read the announcement after a hard day’s work. I don’t usually judge a book by its cover, but I will seriously stack up the shouta-rape RPG hybrid eroge Monmusu Quest against this ‘thing’ you are presenting.
I defended you! I claimed to the six readers of my articles (too high? three?) that this was your big turnaround, that you were ready to start making games for the fans again. The gloves were coming off. Good times headed our JRPG-gaming way, courtesy of Square Enix.
And now we get an in-app marketplace free-to-play iOS-only mobile game. “Light novel-styled.” By that, do you mean a story that goes on for 20 volumes with no sign of stopping with way too many female characters in a cliche’d-up male-centered story, or a series worth reading? Be specific, Squeenix, because the cynics and critics are watching you. Closely.
*breath* Okay, fine. Maybe this isn’t really justified. It’s just the announcement of a game, right? Does it really deserve this kind of treatment so soon?
Frankly? Yes. Here’s why:
Timing. Square Enix has just come forth to announce a re-focusing of the company’s direction in the wake of Bravely Default’s success. Success which, by the way, still doesn’t equal the number of copies sold for a franchise like, say, Assassin’s Creed. But it was enough to surprise even its developers and publishers.
But what’s their next reveal? School Girl Strikers, with all its aforementioned qualities. Now, Agarest War 2 had DLC. Even Hearthstone has a cash option for better cards. But one does not endear the gaming populace by following up a pronouncement of fan-focused development with a seemingly cash-grabbing free-to-play mobile game.
Next, we have the subsequent feeling of betrayal. Dammit, Square Enix, but we trusted you. FFXIII for all its mixed reception is behind you now. The future of FFXV is solid and the success of Bravely Default is promising. New IP, quality games should have been the first public announcements to follow your “come to Jesus” moment.
But instead you gave us a promising tease for a new game and followed it up with School Girl Strikers.
What sucks is that it will profit. Downloads will soar through the roof and the in-app purchases will give you a nice little cash pillow to sleep on at night.
What’s worse is that we’ll forgive you. Rather, we won’t forgive you, but we’ll forget this soon enough. Maybe you’ll make it up to us. You probably will. But you shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this.
We were watching you, Square Enix, and you let us down.