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Final Fantasy XIII engine likely to be used for Eidos IPs June 13, 2009

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Crystal Tools, the Square Enix engine behind Final Fantasy XIII, may very well be the next engine [insert Eidos title here — Tomb Raider?] will be developed on.

In an extensive interview with Gamasutra, Yoichi Wada and Phil Rogers, the respective CEOs of Square Enix and Eidos, confirmed plans of tech exchange between the two companies for future games.

That means Tomb Raider Underworld’s Crystal Tech engine (yes, it’s also a “Crystal” technology) could be used for a ‘Raideresque Final Fantasy action/adventure title some day in the future, while Final Fantasy XIII’s Crystal Tools could pave the way for an ambitiously innovative — gasp! — Lara Croft RPG.

Yoichi Wada points to the differing areas of strength both companies have in terms of game development, “so in that sense the technology, as well as the technology exchange, is also going to be mutually beneficial.”

The Square Enix boss also seems enthusiastic about the prospect of the exchange. “I believe that we would have to forcibly start that kind of a process.” As are we — if only because it would be interesting to see something… unexpectedly wowsome.

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Square Enix, Eidos to hold company summit for talent, tech sharing June 13, 2009

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“It’s coming, yeah. This month.” Eidos CEO Phil Rogers has confirmed plans for a summit where key figures from both the Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider publishers will be in attendance.

On the possibilities of the exchange, Rogers doesn’t mind showing his excitement. “We’ve loved the pace, internally, that things seem to be [at]. There’s a lot of planning and thought leadership.

“Some initiatives that we talked about: we have anacademy of experts; we’re going to take our studio leadership structure and key engineers, and have attendees and participation from the Square Enix side, and that’s fantastic.”

Yoichi Wada, Square Enix CEO and president, has also confirmed that “Square Enix engineers are going to be participating in that as well, so there is going to be a lot of exchange going back and forth, in that sense.”

“So there’s genuine excitement in the business,” shares Rogers, “And it’s lovely to be able to say that, actually. I really love that it’s true. We’re a very product-focused company now, and this combination feels right.”

Good things can only come from a thing such as this. Let’s hope we’ll all feel just as well about the combination.

[Gamasutra]

Yoichi Wada: Square Enix-Eidos IP swaps possible June 12, 2009

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In an interview with Gamasutra during last week’s LA gaming expo, Square Enix president Yoichi Wada talked about the possibility of swapping Eidos and Square Enix IPs.

“I think that’s possible. But what’s more important is that the two companies, for example, are going to be creating a new IP together.”

While the prospect of the Final Fantasy Versus XIII team developing Lara’s next outing would no doubt be…interesting, to say the least, Wada pointed out that swapping of IPs doesn’t have to be limited to exchanging game development responsibilities. “Square Enix not only has IP for games, but there’s also IP for animation or manga, as well. So those IPs might be leveraged, for example, by Eidos — in order to turn them into a game.”

“Or it can be vice versa as well: the game IP that the Eidos team has might be transferred over to the Square Enix team to turn it into a comic book, for example, or animation, or figures as well. And so those are some of the areas that this question concerns, as well.” — Reminds you of something?

So what will it be: More Lara dolls or a Square Enix-developed Tomb Raider game?

Eidos to push for more “character-driven” games May 28, 2009

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 Eidos CEO Phil Rogers, in an interview at Square Enix Holdings, has reiterated the British firm’s vision for their games: “to create innovative, high-quality, character-driven games and gameplay experiences.” Rogers says this vision has served as “a good driver, a good focus for us” towards “a content-creation business with supreme sales and marketing talent around that.”

Our radar’s picking up signal of a more Lara-driven Tomb Raider game, folks — as should a “high-quality” one but…we’re getting nothing. We’re sticking to Square Enix’s mission towards consumer happiness.

Square Enix wants to give you an “unforgettable” tomb-raiding experience May 28, 2009

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Square Enix big boss Yoichi Wada has a vision for the future of Tomb Raider (among other Eidos IPs) — a game that will “spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable tomb-raiding experiences.” But just how does he plan to achieve that?

In a joint interview with Eidos CEO Phil Rogers, Wada says the company puts prime on “understanding each and every one of our customers.” That means the Wada-man counts you and I in in shaping the future of Tomb Raider, but…really now? If anything, they’ve at least fulfilled the fangasmic dream of seeing Lara Croft with THE Final Fantasy pres.

Loads more through the official firm interview.

Pressure’s on for Lara Croft and Agent 47 to give Square money back April 29, 2009

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Lara has quite a huge debt to pay to Square Enix. Of course the Japanese publisher didn’t save the ailing ‘Raider house for nothing. They expect a huge return on their UK investment.

MCV is reporting that Square Enix is expecting to have a complete return on its £84.3m purchase of Eidos by 2012. While the popularity of her franchise is expected to shoulder a larger slice of the return, Lara’s not without her peers. Agent 47, Kane and Lynch, and the denizens of the Deus Ex universe will have to give their own contributions.

Yoichi Wada, Square Enix CEO, seems confident that he will get what he went to the UK for. “Eidos as a company is excellent, with powerful properties and strong management. And by joining our group, we think that the pace of growth and success can now be accelerated. We would not have taken this decision to buy Eidos unless we thought that we could get our investment back within two to three years. If we had thought it would take five years, for example, then we wouldn’t have made the acquisition.”

Square Enix to push for more “profit-generating” Lara Croft — dolls (!?) April 28, 2009

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Following the massive success of various Final Fantasy merchandise which range from toys, action figures, and other collectibles, we can’t really blame Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada for believing in the profit-generating power of increasing merchandising output for his game franchises. He’s been rather vocal about his interest in making more Lara Croft toys and ‘Raider-related merchandise.

Wada, however, is aware that “if I were to tell the existing staff to do that (produce more Lara Croft merchandise) it means their workload would double, and they’d just run away…” But that won’t stop the new Eidos big boss to maximize his newly-owned (yep, she’s a product) globe-trotting, gun-totting lass.

“So of course I’ll have the proper staff in place and then try to improve the merchandising output. If you have the merchandising capability, as well as strong characters – which we do – then there’s no way we shouldn’t use it to generate profit.”

We’ll see what the “proper staff” comes up with then. The Tonner dolls are beautiful, but perhaps an actual size Excalibur or Mjolnir would make for more original outputs this time ’round?

[GamesIndustry.Biz]

Square CEO on past years’ Eidos mishaps: “If there’s love, things will work” April 27, 2009

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It’s no secret that Eidos has had its share of mishaps in the past ranging from major title bombs, controversial review censorships, to shameful PR mishandles — things that Square Enix boss Yoichi Wada seems intent to address by “managing [them] as the same family (Eidos and Square Enix).”

Speaking to GI, Wada recounts Square’s recovery from near-bankruptcy back in 2000 — a case he seems to put in analogy with Eidos’ standing as a games publisher. While he says that he doesn’t think there’s any problem with Eidos, the Final Fantasy big boss does say that certain “things” will work “if there’s love.” We wonder what those “things” are that still need working on then.

In the same interview, Wada talks about the dilemma of prioritizing cost performance (i.e. milking a franchise a la ‘Raider on sched) or game quality (i.e. taking time to develop quality games a la Final Fantasy) and how it relates to his thrust for Eidos under his aegis. Read on through the GI jump.

Eidos brand intact following acquisition deal, no immediate changes to be made April 27, 2009

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Word is incumbent Eidos CEO Phil Rogers will keep his seat despite Square Enix’s recent acquisition of the Tomb Raider publisher. Same goes for key positions and on-going schemes of the UK firm. Just what then was the acquisition deal for?

In an interview with GI, Square Enix president and CEO Yoichi Wada says that it will be the “sharing of cultures”  which includes “the personality of the top management of the company, and the atmosphere in the studios” that will characterize the takeover most. If that means Wada’s camp will be infusing the UK publisher with its quality-orientedness, then we’ve nothing against this supposed marriage of cultures.

In what sounds to be a reassuring statement, Rogers shares that Eidos, following the takeover, will continue in pursuit of its set direction as a games publisher: “Absolute gameplay, games with character.” On what he thinks of the acquisiton, Rogers points to “how people feel internally.” And on that front, the CEO says that “people here think that it feels very right, that it strategically fits well, and there’s a great deal of excitement now around the business. As a leader of a business, I think that’s a great litmus test.”