Square Enix have always been one of the leading Japanese publishers and have produced a wide variety of stellar titles that sell well and review well. Well known franchises like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, as well as smaller titles like The World Ends With You all have huge fanbases and as such generate lots of media attention. Unfortunately for fans of Square Enix titles, one of their biggest flaws is their tone deaf treatment of fans when it comes to updating them on their products. Painfully slowly giving out information or just plain not giving it out at all is common with Square Enix titles. Perhaps they think it will generate more hype but in the end it comes across as starving the fans and often keeping them from having extended knowledge on products they plan on purchasing. Consider this a look at of some of the biggest flops from Square Enix’s recent marketing campaigns.
Final Fantasy XV will finally release this September, after ten years of waiting and a slow trickle of yearly information being all fans had to go on. The initial lack of development details was bad but eventually remedied by the release of Episode Duscae and the Platinum Demo, as well as events like Uncovered finally giving people a true look at the next entry into the series. One of the most insulting parts of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV campaign was when they announced big news for the game would be coming last year. The biggest news of that night was that a release date for the game would be announced-later that year. Square Enix didn’t seem to understand that fans had been waiting years for anything substantial to come out for the game and instead teased that they would later announce the release date. Final Fantasy fans groaned all around the world that day. At least the Uncovered event was pretty amazing.
No one knows the problems of Square Enix like fans of Kingdom Hearts do. Having only received two numbered titles in the series and with information about the third entry being very dry fans are certainly aware of how bad Square can be. One of the bigger problems with announcing Kingdom Hearts III in 2013 was that it clearly wasn’t ready. Every single trailer for Kingdom Hearts III has had the message “Now in Development” attached to it, a clear sign that Kingdom Hearts III simply wasn’t ready. Recently, having only just announced the release date for Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue before E3, many expected news of Kingdom Hearts III to follow at the big event. Unfortunately, fans were told that there would be “Upcoming news this winter”. This was a tough pill to swallow for Kingdom Hearts fans as the trickle of information is slow enough without E3. It’s a good thing that 2.8 is out this year or else fans would be very disappointed. Let’s hope Square picks it up for the 15th anniversary next year.
One of the bigger surprises of last year was the announcement of a brand new Hitman title. So far the game has been stellar, with all three episodes of the game being great Hitman experiences and finally reintroducing the expansive levels of Blood Money. Unfortunately Square Enix and Io-Interactive decided to release the game in an episodic fashion. The community is still split to this day on whether or not it was a good decision but fans were even more annoyed to discover that the game keeps suffering from constant delays to future episodes, instead focusing on different targets and contracts. This is fine for players who want to perfect how they play different levels but for those who want to keep having new experiences, they’re going to be very disappointed. The delay of the disk version of Hitman to early next year was also a pain for those who intended to play the game this way.
Rise of the Tomb Raider released late last year to critical and commercial success, following on from the popular reboot of the series. The major controversy for the game and possibly a cause for the lower sales was the fact that the game initially only released on Xbox One and Windows 10. However, the big stigma came from the fact that it was only a timed exclusive to Xbox with a PS4 version supposedly being released later this year. Updates on Rise of the Tomb Raider coming to PlayStation have been very lacklustre and with the year halfway over, Square Enix really need to pick up their pace and announce details on the PS4 version before hype for the game runs out entirely. Perhaps this will be a lesson to publishers that timed exclusives are more trouble than they are worth.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has received relatively low media attention considering the critical and commercial success of prior Deus Ex titles. Square Enix have barely given any media attention to the RPG, despite it being extremely popular and one of their standout franchises. The marketing campaign for Deus Ex was especially insulting with the “Augment your Pre-Order” feature, asking consumers to have more pre-orders to get better features like releasing the game early. This was insulting for those who had already pre-ordered, essentially asking those who hadn’t to cough up to make the game better. It didn’t help that the game would eventually be delayed so that one of the features wouldn’t even happen. If it could have come out on an earlier date, why not just release it then? This campaign was easily the most insulting.
The problem with Square Enix isn’t that their games are lacklustre. Quite the contrary actually, as each game listed here is either going to be amazing or already is. The problem is that they really don’t know how to market these games to their consumers. With most of these games, fans are already sure they’re going to be buying them but Square manage to put people off by not giving out enough information or just appearing to be tone deaf. Hopefully the successful release of Final Fantasy XV will give them more confidence on what to do.