Square Enix has outlined plans to focus on ensuring long-term engagement from fans for future projects.
The new strategy was revealed as part of the publisher’s 2017 Annual Report. The relevant section lumps together the “Games as a Service” model and multiplayer as areas on which efforts will be focused. However, the report does not conflate the two concepts, instead mentioning both as design principles intended to “place a strong emphasis on longer-term user engagement.” As such, the company plans to “develop games designed not to be played once after launch but that customers can play more and enjoy longer.”
Although the development model is most commonly associated with always-online games such as Destiny and The Division, an earlier section of the report mentions that DLC and updates for Final Fantasy XV have “ensured its many fans can continue to play it over the long term,” suggesting that expansions will be how Square Enix extends the lifespans of its games.
While the report only mentions Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Rise of the Tomb Raider in passing, specific attention is paid to NieR: Automata, which “has proven a global hit far in excess of [the company’s] expectations” and “also demonstrated significant potential for future franchise development,” lending further evidence to yesterday’s revelation of new job listings for a NieR project. According to the report, the publisher has multiple titles scheduled to launch before March 2018, intended to appeal to the North American market, most likely including Lost Sphear, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, and the recently-announced Secret of Mana remake.