Key Developers Leaving Square Enix For Social Gaming

Turnover at game companies is high. But Japanese game developers who work on big titles for big companies tend to stay put. But what happens when your company is being eclipsed?

In the past few years, the Japanese mobile and social game industry has exploded. Companies like DeNa and Gree are doing great business, while the rest of the Japanese game industry has seen better days. At last year's Tokyo Game Show, Gree's booth was bigger than Square Enix's — heck, it was one of the biggest at the show.

No wonder longtime Square Enix developers like Ryuji Ikeda, Shouta Shimoda and Takeshi Arakawa are jumping ship.

As website NovaCrystallis pointed out, Ikeda was Dissidia: Final Fantasy's main programmer, Shimoda was Dissidia 012's director of planning, and Arakawa worked as a Kingdom Hearts texture director, the supervising director of Dissidia: Final Fantasy, and a graphic director on Final Fantasy Versus XIII. While they're not "name" developers, they are important. Or, rather, were.

The three men left Square Enix late last year. Their departure was recently noticed by Japanese bulletin board 2ch.

What makes their departure so interesting — and so telling about the state of the Japanese industry — is that the three men left Square Enix to work for social and mobile phone gaming studios: Ikeda went to DeNa, Shimoda went to Gree, and so did Arakawa.

【ゲーム】スクエニの人材流出が深刻 [まんはったん。]


    The beginning of the end :'( social networking will destroy all the nice things in this world.

      Sadly I think Squenix have been destroying themselves the last few years. I just hope Versus XIII or the inevidable FFXV can reverse that trend.

      This is like blaming the immigrants because you spilt your milk. It's completely unrelated. Square more than almost any other company has the luxury of sitting back amidst the cataclysmic changes of mobile/social gaming. Their fans are hardcore, dedicated Japanese/weeaboos who'd pay through the nose for anything with "Final Fantasy" on the cover. This isn't the fickle Korean MMO or Western mobile market.

      Square dug themselves into a hole by making increasingly derivative games with little or no innovation, creative/narrative improvements and then complains when their most successful game was the externally-developed Deus Ex.

    I think it's becoming clearer by the day that Versus will simply never be released. :/

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