Though you might be inclined to give Square Enix president, Yoichi Wada, an incredulous stare as he discusses the merits of innovation before the release of Final Fantasy Thirteen, a recent interview with Nikkei Business Online points to his fairly levelheaded approach to the topic. "If we don't see some [next-generation] titles that differ from traditional games, the industry is in trouble. Nintendo's DS lineup gives you an idea of the potential..." However, Mr. Wada goes on to say that immmediately tossing out all previous conventions and concepts isn't necessarily the best solution.
"We must change. But if we change all at once, the system will collapse, and since our profits are built on that system, it's a difficult question. So you have to introduce change from a completely unrelated direction within a separate budget framework. This is something all the companies are worrying about right now. Fortunately, we're financially prepared to handle change." It raises the interesting point that change may be easy to trumpet but difficult to usher in, requiring gradual steps and some assistance from current franchises. The earlier point regarding the DS' success is an interesting one, since Nintendo's many franchises and characters were arguably instrumental in introducing a different way of playing games.
The ability of unique hardware to funnel innovation in certain ways also intrigues Square, which is why "Square Enix will collaborate with Taito, a company that produces physical hardware. In our talks with Taito, ideas for an actual physical product have come up. In any case, we will be releasing some 'thing.' It's interesting in that it's not the sort of thing you expect from Square Enix." With that in mind, we now can't wait to play some sort of Final Fantasy game on a Square Enix thing at an undisclosed time in the future.