Square-Enix's New LA Studio: What Are They Working On?
So it seems that Square-Enix has finally landed in the United States, and when writing that article, a few details struck me as intriguing.
First of all, we know about the publisher's drive to appeal to a wider audience - or in this case, the Western gaming crowd - so we shouldn't expect the same ol' same ol'. Secondly, they specifically say the team is comprised mostly of Western developers; this was done intentionally to insure that their new project does indeed cater to the correct demographic. Thirdly, while they basically ruled out the possibility of a FPS, they did say they wanted to provide gamers with a "whole new experience," so we could get something quite unique out of Square-Enix Los Angeles. The big question is, what is this new project? You can rule out a FFVII remake, of course, and just about anything else that Square-Enix has done in the past (spin-offs, JRPGs, etc.). Perhaps they might try their hand at a thrilling action/adventure title of some kind, or maybe even a platformer. Remember Brave Fencer Musashi for the original PlayStation...? Just about anything is possible.
But we're banking on a Western-oriented RPG like Mass Effect or Fable. They said they're not interested in producing lots of blood and gore, they want to go after North American gamers, and their history is RPG-centric (regardless of the members of this new studio). Therefore, we'd like to think they're working on an epic, open-ended RPG that features some of the patented S-E flair, but without some of the technical hitches we've experienced in the WRPGs thus far. Whatever they do, we doubt it's going to be small and simple; that's just not Square-Enix's style when it comes to major console releases. The only aspect of this entire situation that may prove a little frightening to PS3 owners is that game development manager Fumi Shiraishi said, "Square Enix as a whole fell behind in multi-platform development." Now, one could interpret this as meaning that they fell behind where the PS3 is concerned, so they'll just continue to focus on the 360 ('cough' Star Ocean: The Last Hope 'cough').
But if you want to be optimistic, they said it would be a difficult decision concerning the targeted platforms, so maybe they want to bone up on their PS3 knowledge by producing a PS3 exclusive. After all, Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still exclusive, right? And they've given Microsoft all sorts of attention, so if they've "fallen behind," it's their own fault, as far as we're concerned. Anyway, it'll be very interesting to see what comes from "SELA." Yeah, we're gonna use that from now on.
3/21/2009 Ben Dutka