TOKYO — In response to declining sales of its new title Bravely Default, Square Enix has reevaluated its marketing for the role-playing video game. The move surprised many in the industry, as the game has sold well inside and outside of Japan.
Sales director Atsuki Narukami explained, “sales in the first few months were very high, but we feel a change in direction will keep those numbers high for several months to come.”
Bravely Default was originally released in 2012. It was subsequently released Europe in December 2013 and North America in early 2014. Players lead a group of four young heroes on an adventure to save the world from evil. The innovative combat system and immersive art has been popular with critics and fans. Sales have also been strong in overseas markets.
Narukami recalls his decision to re-brand the game after seeing the title at a Gamestop when visiting America.
“It was just sitting there with some fairy on it. No one is going to buy that, it looks boring as shit. I want to market Bravely Default in a way that Japanese and American audiences can appreciate.”
Narukami then pulled out a copy of the Japanese adult visual novel Shoujo Kyouiku.
“See this? This is art. This is what sells. As a company, Square Enix needs to learn to market like this,” he explained. “Hell, even Final Fantasy XIV would have sold well if we slapped some titties on the cover.”
Shortly after the newly designed covers hit shelves, video game stores across the United States were quickly overrun with customers. Long lines form outside of video game stores in shopping malls all across America, as stores struggle to keep up with sheer demand.
“We usually don’t get traffic like this unless it’s Black Friday,” Gamestop store manager Aaron Chomanski remarks, “the amount of people lining up demanding this game, it’s unreal.”
“I need to get this game. I need it. It’s calling out to me,” says Lisa Norman, a 38-year-old mother of two. She admits that she doesn’t even own a Nintendo 3DS and has never played a video game, and then resumed staring at Bravely Default advertisements in a trance-like gaze.
On Tuesday, David Evans of IGN published a rare revision to his review of Bravely Default, bumping the score up to a perfect 10.0. “Bravely Default offers a handful of modern twists on what is otherwise a fairly traditional JRPG, along with the best packaging and promotional art. The extra illustration booklet that comes with the game is off the hook,” the review now reads.
Square Enix’s move has already influenced others in the industry. Phil Spencer of Microsoft Studios has confirmed that the company will be making an announcement about the Halo series and “that announcement will definitely catch your eye.” An unverified source has stated that Electronic Arts is currently in the processing of redesigning its branding of the upcoming NFL Madden 2015.