For many companies, a new product has to catch on right away to consider it a success. For Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda? He’s willing to give things a chance.
“Cultivating a new IP is very important,” he told Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. “I believe that it is very difficult to immediately build up a big IP. Looking retrospectively at the gaming industry, many games take off or get its big break at the third title. There are cases where the opposite is true, of course.”
The first two entries in a series have a lot more room for experimentation – the initial concept, and then the polishing of that concept. The third game is when things are nailed down.
“You need at least three games before you can tell whether an IP is going to be really successful or not. If the third title is successful, then all is well,” he said.
Matsuda was speaking about one of Square Enix’s internal projects, currently named Project Setsuna, but this could be applied to one of its other announcements: the new Nier title in development by Platinum Games. The first game was interesting, but didn’t do terribly well sales-wise. This philosophy of having the patience to let a game series grow makes the decision to keep the franchise going seem a lot more sensible.
Every publisher wants to find its big franchises so it can rotate in successful stuff each year, but some of those titles take time to nurture. As a gamer, it’s nice to see an executive taking a patient approach to new IPs rather than just talking about milking them and making them yearly like we see from some other companies.