Square Enix announces subsidiary Luminous Productions will be merged, after Forspoken launched earlier this year to a middling reception.
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Square Enix issued a statement to investors, announcing that the company will “merge its wholly owned subsidiary Luminous Productions Co., Ltd. into its wholly owned subsidiary SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. effective Monday, May 1, 2023.”
“The merger is part of the Company’s efforts to further bolster the competitive prowess of the Group’s development studios, a goal set forth under its current medium-term business strategy,” claimed the Final Fantasy developer
“SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. has developed numerous AAA high-definition (HD) games and possesses a wealth of intellectual property (IP) and content. Luminous Productions Co., Ltd. is meanwhile equipped not only with AAA title development capabilities but also technical expertise in areas such as game engine development.”
“Combining the two entities will further enhance the Group’s ability to develop HD games,” Square Enix insisted.
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Luminous Productions itself also issued a statement on Twitter. “You may have heard the news that Luminous Productions is merging with Square Enix. Beginning on May 1, our talented team will join Square Enix to deliver new, innovative gaming experiences to players across the globe.
“Between now and then we remain entirely focused on ‘Forspoken‘,” Luminous Productions assured. “We are currently working on the previously announced patch to address overall game performance (we will deliver an update soon) and the DLC, “In Tanta We Trust”, is on track for release this summer. Thank you again for your patience and support!”
“When we established Luminous Productions in 2018, our vision was to make AAA games that fused technology and artistry to deliver completely new play experiences. Having the chance to do just that has been a dream come true,” it went on.
The studio then concluded, “We appreciate you taking this journey with us and look forward to continuing to create new entertainment and experiences as a part of the Square Enix family.”
The studio’s other game was 2016’s Final Fantasy XV. Many staff were formed from Square Enix Business Division 2, and continued to assist on that game while forming.
On social media, users have been blaming Forspoken for the merger. Initial trailers showing dialogue that could have fit in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film or Joss Whedon-led project did little to ingratiate players.
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The game received a luke-warm reception from critics, and mixed to outright loathing from players. Common critiques included the aforementioned dialogue, a plodding story, unlikeable protagonist, dull and dated open-world gameplay, the world itself feeling lifeless, and poor graphics and performance. What little praise it got was for its magic-based combat, and parkour movement.
YouTuber Cult Classic Cage discussed the news, stating that Luminous Productions “were missing something that made them a true AAA development team,” citing Final Fantasy XV‘s “development hell” despite somewhat favorable reviews.
Calling Forspoken a “bastardized way of meshing these two cultures,” Cassie’s comments were previously made by soon-to-step down Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda. He stated in an interview last year that — while the gaming market had become globalized, and there was a need to do well outside of Japan — “even if Japanese imitate Western games, they will not be able to produce good ones.”
“The drawings of monsters and the visual and audio effects are all somewhat Japanese. And players around the world know that [a given element] is what makes Japanese games good.” Matsuda then clarified that “Overseas markets are important, but it is not enough to develop for them.”
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