It's not uncommon to see Triple A studios attempt to "appeal to the masses" at the expense of its core audience but it's another thing for them admit that they were wrong. Yosuke Matsuda, President of Square Enix, not only made this confession but also promised that the company would return back to its roots starting with the next installment of Hitman.
Matsuda credited the success of Bravely Default for showing the company that even niche titles can be a great success globally. He even went as far to say that Bravely Default helped him see that creating a game with too much focus on global sales will make one lose sight of who you are actually developing for. "In the past," Matsuda said, "when we developed console games with a worldwide premise, we lost our focus, and not only did they end up being games that weren't for the Japanese, but they ended up being incomplete titles that weren't even fit for a global audience." He made mention that the development of Hitman: Absolution was a struggle because there was too much focus on finding ways to obtain new customers instead of pleasing the core audience.
What was perhaps the most surprising statement from Matsuda was his comment concerning JRPGs. He stated that he and the company couldn't clearly see that JRPG fans are spread across the globe and not just a niche group. Matsuda continued on, "With that in mind, and all of the collective fans, there's a sense of mass, which loses the image of a niche market. For the new games we'll be developing from this point on, while this may sound a bit extreme, we've been talking about making them as heavy JRPGs. I believe that way, we can better focus on our target, which will also bring better results."
President Matsuda promised to re-examine how the company handles their games starting with the new Hitman game coming out on Xbox One and PS4. "We basically want to go back to their roots and focus on the core audience," said Matsuda, "while working hard on content that can have fans say things like 'this is the Hitman we know'. I believe that is the best way for our development studios to display their strengths."
It has been a common complaint from fans of Square Enix that the company was beginning to forget their core audience and focused more on making money than good games. With this "confession" from the President of Square Enix and the promise to return games to their roots, the day may soon come were Square Enix returns to its former glory days.