Five Games To Explain Yoichi Wada's Failure As Square Enix President [OPINION]

By Trevor Ruben , Updated Mar 26, 2013 01:15 PM EDT
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While it's unfair to judge Yoichi Wada's tenure as President of Sqaure Enix based on the merits of a couple games, the failures can give insight into why Wada's turn is up. Square Enix let the news out Tuesday that Wada is being pushed out, due at least in part to the underachieving sales of "Tomb Raider," "Hitman: Absolution" and "Sleeping Dogs," particularly in the US. But those games are only the end result of a long set of lasting problems with the company.

"Final Fantasy XIII-2"

Once Square's saving grace, the franchise is now a running joke. Even the titling of core "Final Fantasy" games shows Square Enix's confusions as a developer, publisher and distributor in the growing and changing gaming industry. Most of all, "Final Fantasy XIII-2," a sub-sequel to a sequel in the fabled franchise, indicts Square Enix in its inability to move on and change with HD games of today.

Yes, "Tomb Raider" was a fully realized western cinematic reboot in the style of the wildly popular Naughty Dog "Uncharted" franchise, but Crystal Dynamic's efforts on behalf of the publisher could not match the bloated expectations for AAA gaming that the "Final Fantasy" franchise emboldened in Square Enix back in the day. When "Final Fantasy XIII-2" is your only hope to fill that void, you've got issues man, you've got issues.

"Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days"

The first "Kane and Lynch" was a disaster as Square Enix tried to match the growing expectations for western sensibilities in gaming. As a third person shooter and a character study, two keywords of game development in our current generation, it looked like an attempt to garner a new audience and a new franchise in the process, but the original was awful. Square Enix just didn't get it. When "Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Day" came out without any significant change to the formula, Square Enix's inability to adapt wasn't just speculation, it was fact.

"Heroes of Ruin"

A small, insignificant title by most accounts. Square Enix's attempt garner sales on Nintendo's 3DS was vacant and uninspired. "Heroes of Ruin" was a "Diablo" knockoff built for the portable device, four player online co-op and all, which lacked in almost every area that mattered as a 3DS title. The visuals were bland and boring, the target audience on that console for that game barely existed to begin with, and the experience was forgettable even when you made the effort to play it. Another total swing and miss.

"Tomb Raider: Underworld" and "Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light"

The last core "Tomb Raider" game before this year's reboot, "Tomb Raider: Underworld" was a successful "Tomb Raider" for the simple fact that it didn't bother to innovate. Then came "Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light," a refreshing, cooperative-focused downloadable title that screamed innovation and a willingness to move forward with the gaming industry. Square Enix looked to be on the right track, and then they just decided to copy Naught Dog's "Uncharted" with the "Tomb Raider" reboot. No plans were made for a "Guardian of Light" sequel, yet what can be assumed was a bloated budget for 2013's "Tomb Raider" made its predicted 3.4 million sales by the end of March insufficient to sustain Wada's place at Square Enix.

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