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A Fresh Start - Part Two

Yoichi Wada and Phil Rogers on how Eidos staff will respond to change, and what's happening to the Japanese market

Following on from part one of the interview with Square Enix president and CEO Yoichi Wada and Eidos CEO Phil Rogers, discussing last week's acquisition, here the questions focus on how the Eidos staff members will respond to the change, and why it's important for Square Enix to find global appeal. How will the Eidos creators respond to a greater emphasis on cost performance versus game quality?
Phil Rogers

Well, I know how they'll respond to that - it's the same targets and desires that we've been setting with our teams in the past year, in terms of asking how we move the quality mark forward, how we improve.

That's not just about sound quality or graphical quality, that overall sort of engagement of gameplay that we're constantly trying to improve. We've set higher demands for our teams, and demonstrated to teams the investments that we make and the required polish it might need to realise the returns that we want.

We started on this road to improving quality back in early 2008 - I'm really hoping that some of the games really begin to get a rhythm again and a pattern to deliver. And that it will please the consumer.

We like that consumers are vocal, and nobody likes to disappoint them - although I think some consumers think we don't care. We do care passionately about what consumers say, and it's great they're so vocal, and intimate, and trying to drive more into the relationship.

So I think the challenges that we've are the right ones, and our creatives and produces and art directors absolutely support them - that's the goal. You hinted that Eidos employees seem to be happy with the deal, but is that a sense you've had across the board?
Phil Rogers

Yeah - 'across the board' is a big statement, and people all think about change in different ways. It's a business that's gone through a lot of change, and I think one thing we tried to establish in 2008 was a period of rebuild, a period of confidence and looking out - and then we find ourselves a year into it and anticipating a transaction like this.

But I think the way we're seeing this is as the next step - a natural step that takes us to the nest level. It's more ambition for our business, and people are excited about that. Now, again, for other people it is a change, and that change they'll think about in different ways, but when you go into the heart of the business - and at our heart is the content creators and producers - and you talk to the other aspects of the business, it's seen as very exciting.

It's moving us in the right way, it's moving us towards offering consumers quality, innovative products. Happiness [as part of the Square Enix mission statement of "spreading happiness across the globe"] is a wonderful way to express it - it's a unique way as well, I don't think any Western company has this philosophy of making people happy.

We talk about quality and innovative gameplay, but actually when you boil it all down, this is exactly what we're in it for. In terms of the Eidos product line-up, you've already gone through a refocusing period in the past year. At the point of acquisition, will that line-up change any further? Do you have any plans to divest existing franchises, or look to expand into more original IP?
Phil Rogers

I don't think there's anything we've really discussed at this stage. I think we have a natural sense of the IPs and the games we've got in concept and production, and collectively we look to bring the right games out.