June 5, 2009 - RPGSite Interview with Shinji Hashimoto
Square Enix Senior Vice President Shinji Hashimoto revealed that the company wasn't very impressed by the sales of cult RPG classic Chrono Trigger during an E3 interview regarding Front Mission Evolved, a reinvention of the Front Mission franchise.
When asked by RPGSite staff if he could forsee Square handing off other much-loved but neglected franchises to external developers as with Front Mission, he asked what franchsie we had in mind.
Our response? Of course, Chrono Trigger.
"Why does everyone ask about Chrono Trigger?" he laughed. We told him it's a very loved series. "That's not what the sales tell me!" he responded.
"If people want a sequel, they should buy more!"
We'll be posting the Front Mission interview in full shortly, so stay tuned.
FaustWolf contacted AD for confirmation:
Hi FaustWolf, This was an exclusive interview. If you wish to verify the accuracy, I can always photograph some of my E3 credentials, but if you take a look at some of our content over the coming days (Crystal Bearers Interview, Front Mission Interview, FF13 Interview, Mass Effect 2 Preview, Star Wars: The old Republic preview) you'll find it quite clear we were indeed at the show and had a bunch of behind-closed doors stuff. There was only one other journalist present, from a French gaming magazine. Also present there was a translator and two employees from Double Helix, the guys working on Front Mission Evolved. They will appear in the full Front Mission interview, but I'm yet to transcribe the full interview from the original audio. I would provide audio itself but sadly I'm not allowed to. I'm not sure if it'll be before I fly back to the UK (Tuesday), but I'll do my best. There's a lot of features for us to catch up on. Context is as follows: Front Mission Evolved is an evolution of the Front Mission franchise (who knew?) from a company outside of Square Enix. Double Helix is a Western developer. The interview was for Front Mission and was as I said with 2 employees from Double Helix and Hashimoto. In the final segments of the interview, I asked Hasimoto if he could see Square Enix handing any other loved but neglected IPs off to external companies. He asked what franchises. I suggested Chrono Trigger or Mana. The response was as you see in the article. He basically chuckled and asked why everyone asks about Chrono Trigger - my response was that it's a much-loved franchise. He said the sales figures didn't bear this out, and if it was so loved and a sequel so in demand, people should buy more copies. Hope that helps you out! -Alex
To clarify one last thing for some of your readers: If you look at the Chrono Trigger numbers, it's done well overall yes and has far out-performed Front Mission. (Yes, I glanced at your thread!) This is true. However, if you look at the sales in detail, the vast majority of the Chrono Trigger sales were in Japan - it's been doing fantastically in Japan, merely ok in the US and EU. Off the top of my head it's around 200,000 in the EU - pathetic numbers - and 600,000 in the US. Square's reasoning behind doing Front Mission - and Hashimoto went into detail about this - is that only a few (three, I think) Front Mission games have been released outside of Japan, and only one in Europe. Unlike Chrono Trigger, they believe Front Mission hasn't had a 'chance' to go big, whereas Chrono Trigger has. That's why they're handing Front Mission - a franchise with guns, explosions etc - off to a company more experienced in making those kinds of games to try to make it big.