Shadow of the Tomb Raider, at least, seems to have recovered from that underwhelming debut.
Square Enix released three major titles in the last few months of 2018–Dragon Quest 11 (internationally), Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Just Cause 4. But while Dragon Quest 11 seems to have done well enough worldwide, it seems as though Just Cause 4 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider both suffered from weaker than expected sales, at least at first.
Speaking at a Q&A session with investors, Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda admitted that both games had weaker than anticipated sales, attributing this to them lacking “novelty”.
“We think the main reason is that we were unable to provide an experience that was novel enough that players would choose to buy them before any of the other numerous major titles on the competitive landscape,” Matsuda said.
That said, Matsuda views the sales of Shadow of the Tomb Raider by the end of the year as being satisfactory – having shipped 4.12 million units worldwide by now – while noting that Just Cause 4, while underperforming, can be salvaged via updates and more content.
“While Shadow of the Tomb Raider got off to a weak start, we had shipped a total of 4.12 million units as of the end of 3Q, and we look for sales to grow further in FY2020/3. Initial sales of Just Cause 4 were below our expectations, but we intend to grow sales in FY2020/3 by offering updates and through other initiatives. As such, any adverse impact on the achievement of our medium-term target should be limited.”
In the end, I hope Square Enix will take the hint and start making games in their western franchises be more than just “more of the same”. Sometimes familiarity is good, but we could do with at least some shakeups every now and then.