Back at the Square Enix Party (a delightful time), I got a look at Square Enix's Subarashiki Kono Sekai (AKA "It's a Wonderful World"). The game was developed by Kyoto's Jupiter Corporation, which also brought us Picross DS. The game is a totally original IP, based on Final Fantasy character designer Tetsuya Nomura's creations. Though, the characters don't look all that FF, but rather, have an urban edge. The game itself is interesting and difficult as players must concentrate on both screens (sometimes at the same time!) during play. In short, the game is somewhat risky for the conservative Square Enix — but a commendable risk. Oddly enough, the game wasn't reviewed in Famitsu when it was released last July. Next-Gen's Tim Rogers has a theory about that:
Perhaps Square was afraid of any negative buzz whatsoever regarding the game, their first original IP in years — even a single score of 7 would have ruined the game for some fence-sitters. In the end, the game ended up only selling to the hardest of hardcore fans of Tetsuya Nomura's character designs. Square-Enix could have tried to sell the game a bit harder — they could have utilised Nintendo's airtight network of copious DS download stations to allow DS-carrying gamers to try a playable demo of the game. The strategy has worked for so many other games by so many other publishers, so it's kind of confusing that Square-Enix doesn't give it a try.
Rogers goes on to point out that Japanese gamers (on the internet, at least!) are just starting to feel that if a publisher fails to provide a demo, that means it's probably ashamed of the title's quality. Subarashiki Kono Sekai has moved about 160,000 copies so far with used copies turning up in retailers. Sure, it's not a break out hit by any means, but hopefully it's enough to convince Square Enix to move away from driving Final Fantasy into the ground. Week in Japan [Next-Gen]