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Eidos Montreal Founder Bails, Citing Poor Communication About Company's Future

Founder Stephane D'Astous didn't waste much time explaining why he was leaving.

In a move that does not send encouraging signs about Square Enix or Eidos Montreal, founder Stephane D'Astous has left the company, Polygon reported today.

Eidos Montreal was responsible for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, is rumored to be working on a sequel to that very game, and is actively developing Thief (4).

"Obviously our last fiscal year was not exactly a great one," said D'Astous. "I think that senior executives at (Square Enix Europe) almost started to panic and it was difficult to know what type of changes we needed to do, and it took a lot of time before some information came out from HQ.”

Square Enix reported poor financial results for the past year, resulting in the resignation of Yoichi Wada. Square Enix of America president and CEO Mike Fischer also departed in late May.

Critically acclaimed and seemingly solid selling games like Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution were cited as financial disappointments, which came as a surprise to D'Astous and others. Hitman sold more than 3.6 million units, and Tomb Raider moved more than 3.4 million copies.

D'Astous cited growing frustration over trying to understand what the plan was going forward, and pointed towards a deep divide between the various components of the company, especially the rift between Japan and everyone else.

"Square Enix is in a tight spot because there are compromises that are made, investments that are made that should not have been and things that they didn't invest in but should have," he said. "Communication is very lacking."

Though D'Astous expressed confidence in the upcoming Thief, my time spent with the game at E3 did not say much about the prospects of that game.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
71 Comments
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Posted by Sphinx

Too bad, Eidos was starting to make games I cared about again.

Edited by scaramoosh

Their games are just generic that's the problem, all games that people say "it's good" but no one feels anything more than that. Apart from Hitman, that was terrible, not anything like a Hitman game tbh, just made me go back and play BM again.

Edited by fragilenin

* In a move that does send encouraging signs *

Think you missed a typo here. I'm guessing you meant to type:

In a move that doesn't send encouraging signs

Posted by HyperionXR

Eidos was all that was keeping Square afloat and relevant in my book. You can keep all your melodramatic JRPGs. Deus Ex, Tomb Raider and Hitman were what I wanted.

Posted by Morningstar

A shame. Really hope Thief turns out ok, but haven't heard many good things.

Edited by Scratch

You know at this point I have lost faith in the upcoming Thief sequel; what with all the previews and impressions of the game out there expressing mediocrity and now this.

Posted by beepmachine

Damn that sounds very bad. They've made some really interesting games, hopefully this doesn't harm the company too much.

Also @patrickklepek there's a nasty typo in that first sentence.

Posted by believer258

* In a move that does send encouraging signs *

Think you missed a typo here. I'm guessing you meant to type:

In a move that doesn't send encouraging signs

Was about to note that.

In the meantime, this is really unfortunate. Square has some good people under their belt and have released a few good games recently. I really hope this isn't a bad sign of worse things to come.

Posted by Solh0und

Damn. that sounds horrible for Squeenix since they bought Eidos in the first place.

Posted by seamuspaxman

Well i hope that this leads them to canning Thief 4, i care deeply for that series and everything i have seen thus far has been nothing but moves in the wrong direction.

Edited by Soffish

It's kinda funny that so many people were upset that SE considered the Eidos games financially disappointing, when it it turns out that the developers actually felt the same way. It seems like everyone that works in the game industry simply has overly high expectations.

Posted by patrickklepek

Damn that sounds very bad. They've made some really interesting games, hopefully this doesn't harm the company too much.

Also @patrickklepek there's a nasty typo in that first sentence.

Thanks, duder.

Staff
Posted by leebmx

Unless Patrick knows something we don't that first sentence is mighty confusing. Someone needs to make a list of Patrick typo's, kind of like a Brad time to death in QL's we could have a Patrick time to typo.

In other news, I still can't get my head around what all the problem is here. They have made some pretty decent game over the last few years which seem to have sold quite well. Deux Ex and Tomb Raider have been among my faves of the last few years. I get that Square aren't doing so good but if someone could explain how releasing highly-regarded, good selling games is a strategy which isn't working I would love to hear it.

@patrickklepek Do you know of any good articles that go into a bit of depth about this whole affair? I would greatly appreciate a link if you know of any.

Edited by patrickklepek

@leebmx said:

Unless Patrick knows something we don't that first sentence is mighty confusing. Someone needs to make a list of Patrick typo's, kind of like a Brad time to death in QL's we could have a Patrick time to typo.

In other news, I still can't get my head around what all the problem is here. They have made some pretty decent game over the last few years which seem to have sold quite well. Deux Ex and Tomb Raider have been among my faves of the last few years. I get that Square aren't doing so good but if someone could explain how releasing highly-regarded, good selling games is a strategy which isn't working I would love to hear it.

@patrickklepek Do you know of any good articles that go into a bit of depth about this whole affair? I would greatly appreciate a link if you know of any.

The Polygon piece is pretty good--they actually talked to him.

Staff
Posted by AMyggen
Online
Edited by Deathpooky

Hard to blame him. Why stick around when you can make pretty great games that sell fairly well, only to be told that they didn't meet expectations and things are going badly.

Without this inside baseball, if you told me the studio that made the new Tomb Raider, new Hitman, and new Deus Ex was in trouble, I'd think you were talking crazy.

Posted by JayEH

That's a real shame. Eidos has been making great games of late. Maybe if Square Enix Japan can get their stuff together they can stop calling games that sell almost 4 million in a month a failure.

Posted by Soffish

@deathpooky: No, Stephane D'astous agreed that those games didn't sell enough, that things were going badly, and that things needed to change. He resigned because the higher-ups didn't involve him in a creating their new plan, and because he didn't like their new strategy, whatever it is.

Posted by Missacre

That's the problem. Everyone wants the CoD 5 million+ sales that every iteration gets, so everyone tries to replicate that by making CoD-like games. Take Hitman: Absolution, for example. That game was dumbed down horribly, which turned off longtime fans, and CoD fans didn't bother with it because it's not CoD. Thief looks like it's heading in the same direction. Horribly dumbed down and casualized. I hope this trend stops soon and devs start making games out of love, not love of money.

Posted by Brackynews

Nice to see candid talk from a company founder/manager, versus the speculation that often happens with a company executive not wanting to burn bridges.

As an international business major myself, these communication issues he speaks of are endemic stuff.

Posted by jimmyfenix

I miss square soft

Edited by Viking_Funeral

So the rumor is that those games are a sales disappointment because their projected sales figures were adjusted higher, so that they could make up the losses incurred by having to completely revamp Final Fantasy XIV. Setting goals beyond reasonable expectations in the hopes that they are met is not sound strategy, but it seems to be with Squeenix's modus operandi of externalizing all blame.

Edited by Kidavenger

Eidos has been making most of my favorite games the last few years, Deus Ex HR, Sleeping Dogs, and Tomb Raider were all amazing, if they were really viewed as disappointments, there is seriously something wrong with expectations.

Posted by Paindamnation

@leebmx said:

Unless Patrick knows something we don't that first sentence is mighty confusing. Someone needs to make a list of Patrick typo's, kind of like a Brad time to death in QL's we could have a Patrick time to typo.

In other news, I still can't get my head around what all the problem is here. They have made some pretty decent game over the last few years which seem to have sold quite well. Deux Ex and Tomb Raider have been among my faves of the last few years. I get that Square aren't doing so good but if someone could explain how releasing highly-regarded, good selling games is a strategy which isn't working I would love to hear it.

@patrickklepek Do you know of any good articles that go into a bit of depth about this whole affair? I would greatly appreciate a link if you know of any.

They have made some pretty decent games* I get that Square Enix is not doing so well*, but it someone might explain* how releasing highly regarded and good selling games; is a strategic failure which is not working. I would love to hear it.* I could have a wikipedia article in and of itself with your typo's and grammatical mistakes in less then a paragraph. Before you cite someone else's failures, count your own mistakes. Thanks for the read @patrickklepek.

Posted by Jackel2072

well i hope this gets sorted, because the run of games coming out of them lately have been real solid. for a while this seemed like a great marriage of east and west. then the whole comment about 3.5 million units being sold was a disappointment. i mean how many did they have to sell for it to be a success?!

Posted by billyhoush

I want a Sleeping Dogs 2.

Posted by SilentPredator

If your business model requires all games you make to sell more than 3 million to be successful, then your business model is fucked.

Posted by maskedarcstrike

@jackel2072: I've also been wondering about why initial retail sales and shipped physical copies are so important these days still. Companies have to be making a lot up through digital distribution in the long run.

Posted by Oginam

I've said it before and I'll say it again,

Fuck Square, Save Eidos.

Posted by Hitzel

Tomb Raider and Hitman collectively sold more than seven million copies, and that's considered a failure. This guy should probably find a new industry.

Edited by Turhaya

I looooooooove Deus Ex Human Revolution and had a super good time with Hitman Absolution. Tomb Raider sounds like it was very positively received overall and hopefully I'll be able to get to that by year end.

Semi-related: Sleeping Dogs is freakin' awesome.

Now, Square Enix isn't the developer for these games but the point is that their name wasn't just mud to me anymore, at least a little bit. If Thief 4 doesn't turn out half as well as Hitman did, I'm blaming SE and hoping they don't take Eidos and company down with them.

Also I'd like to hear more, Klepek-style, about how these games did so well... yet apparently not good enough. If big games like these continue to "underperform" how do their companies continue as well as they do? Or are they saying they only made great heaps of money and not THE GREATEST heap of money (aka standard stockholder over promising/whining)?

Edited by EnemaEms

I personally think Final Fantasy siphons so much of their money, that everything has to be monster hits just to make up the amount spent on that tired ass franchise.

Posted by Ghost_Cat

Sounds like D'astous was trying to say that a lot of money wasting and ignorance were happening within the corporation.

Posted by SatelliteOfLove

@enemaems said:

I personally think Final Fantasy XIV: All Our Yens Edition siphons so much of their money, that everything has to be monster hits just to make up the amount spent on that tired ass franchise.

Fixed. That was the topper on a shitshow clown college that SE had sank to since 2000.

Posted by mason20

The games I was most intrigued with and heard the most about were disappointment? I've even bought all these games and enjoyed them all except Dues ex. In my opinion they should look at themselves with what happened this last generation before pointing fingers. Come on Square... Stop blaming others for your misfortunes.

Posted by dancingpolkabear

Hopefully the new Deus Ex is not being hurt by all this insanity.

Posted by RE_Player1

I think the Japanese side of Square Enix is just trying to throw around the blame. Hitman, Tomb Raider and Deus Ex did their job, expecting them to do more than they did is ridiculous. The Final Fantasy brand has been degraded over this generation with 13 not hitting as big as they would have liked and 14 being a fucking train wreck.

Early this generation it looked like Square Enix was in one of the top spots making smart moves with key acquisitions and it seems like they are just pissing it all away.

Posted by GaspoweR

"Square Enix is in a tight spot because there are compromises that are made, investments that are made that should not have been and things that they didn't invest in but should have," he said. "Communication is very lacking."

Something tells me what he's alluding to here is that they have dumped a lot of money on FFXIII, and other games that have been delayed time and again for years (e.g. Versus XIII which is now XV) and invested so much that they lost a lot and at the same time were hedging their bets on the Eidos properties and probably they didn't give enough of a marketing push (just theorizing here) and when they didn't meet the financial milestones that they wanted, they labeled them as failures.

Posted by beam

Oh "Greed". will you ever learn?

Edited by Veektarius

@patrickklepek: A point that always comes up these days when people discuss Squenix-Eidos' financials is the question of whether the Japanese developer's largess is what's sinking the company and Eidos is being used as a scapegoat despite their titles performing relatively well. Does a professional understanding of the situation support this kind of argument or is it established fact that titles like Deus Ex and Tomb Raider had budgets that were independently too high to make a profit off of the kind of sales they got, regardless of how much money FFXIV is losing?

Posted by McShank

Deus Ex, Tomb Raider & Sleeping Dogs are some of my favorite games. To say they are failures is not something that company needs to be saying. To sell over 1million copies is pretty damn good. They made 3 single player games *Not counting tomb raider multi as an option* that were marketed pretty damn well I thought and sold above 3million each. How is this a failure? We are not talking Call of duty or BattleField here.

Posted by Norusdog

@oginam said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again,

Fuck Square, Save Eidos.

This. Final Fantasy is nothing but complete garbage anymore. XIII was an on-rails abortion and nothing more needs to be said about XIV....but because they screwed em up..even though these other games sold well enough to make any other company happy..they were "disappointed" because somehow Square fucking up Final Fantasy and losing assloads of cash is the responsibility of EIDOS apparently.

Tomb Raider was fucking awesome. Deus Ex HR was pretty good. I didn't play much less buy Hitman but..yah.

Square..go to hell. I'd rather these "disappointing" games than the garbage you fart out now-a-days

Posted by DrDarkStryfe

Square Enix banks on the Final Fantasy name too much, and for the second time it looks to threaten to bankrupt the company.

Their MMO just stinks of what the Sprits Within movie did to the company, and I am willing to bet that Sony will not be there to save them this time.

Posted by ELincoln

According to Best Buy employees I know, BB makes ~$5 when they sell a $60 game. Now I don't know who's taking a cut or where from, but if you're seriously pulling in ~$150 million each on Tomb Raider and Hitman, and you're failing to make a profit? You're doing something wrong, guys

Edited by FMinus

It pains me to say, but Ubisoft is the only publisher with guts left that tries to experiment a bit and try new IPs, as much as I hate Ubisoft for making Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon just another arcade shooter thing, they are really the only one left that actually tries.

The other one was THQ.

All the others are banking on existing IPs, and are now looking at the back catalog of what they can re-make and re-invision. It's super cool for fans of such series, but as an avid gamer since the 80s, it's just more of the fucking same.

I look at steam every day, and there is virtually nothing that I want to play, even now that there was the summer sale, I bought exactly 2 things, one being the Titan series from Puppygames and the other one being Awesomenauts.

Not a single damn blockbuster like the latest Farcry or Assassins Creed interests me in the slightest, I've played those game 20 times before, they are all the same with a new coat of graphics.

I'm not saying that's bad, cause people still dig those games, but there's also the other side, where people would actually like something new, and publishers need to realize that and invest heavily into it, or we're looking at another industry crash right around the corner.

Also game critics need to start being more judgmental on the games. And not hype them to oblivion when the game presents one new feature and everything else is a carbon copy from a game before - like the new Tomb Raider which could be called Assassins Creed.

Posted by Zaxex

@fminus said:

It pains me to say, but Ubisoft is the only publisher with guts left that tries to experiment a bit and try new IPs, as much as I hate Ubisoft for making Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon just another arcade shooter thing, they are really the only one left that actually tries.

The other one was THQ.

All the others are banking on existing IPs, and are now looking at the back catalog of what they can re-make and re-invision. It's super cool for fans of such series, but as an avid gamer since the 80s, it's just more of the fucking same.

I look at steam every day, and there is virtually nothing that I want to play, even now that there was the summer sale, I bought exactly 2 things, one being the Titan series from Puppygames and the other one being Awesomenauts.

Not a single damn blockbuster like the latest Farcry or Assassins Creed interests me in the slightest, I've played those game 20 times before, they are all the same with a new coat of graphics.

I'm not saying that's bad, cause people still dig those games, but there's also the other side, where people would actually like something new, and publishers need to realize that and invest heavily into it, or we're looking at another industry crash right around the corner.

Also game critics need to start being more judgmental on the games. And not hype them to oblivion when the game presents one new feature and everything else is a carbon copy from a game before - like the new Tomb Raider which could be called Assassins Creed.

That seems like a little extreme of a mindset. It's basically the same justification a lot of people use against Call of Duty games, which are very similar each iteration. If you're bored of entire genres because they've been done before, you're quickly going to run out of games that interest you. Almost nothing is completely original, now, or in the past.

Posted by leebmx

@leebmx said:

Unless Patrick knows something we don't that first sentence is mighty confusing. Someone needs to make a list of Patrick typo's, kind of like a Brad time to death in QL's we could have a Patrick time to typo.

In other news, I still can't get my head around what all the problem is here. They have made some pretty decent game over the last few years which seem to have sold quite well. Deux Ex and Tomb Raider have been among my faves of the last few years. I get that Square aren't doing so good but if someone could explain how releasing highly-regarded, good selling games is a strategy which isn't working I would love to hear it.

@patrickklepek Do you know of any good articles that go into a bit of depth about this whole affair? I would greatly appreciate a link if you know of any.

They have made some pretty decent games* I get that Square Enix is not doing so well*, but it someone might explain* how releasing highly regarded and good selling games; is a strategic failure which is not working. I would love to hear it.* I could have a wikipedia article in and of itself with your typo's and grammatical mistakes in less then a paragraph. Before you cite someone else's failures, count your own mistakes. Thanks for the read @patrickklepek.

Fuck's sake mate, calm down a just a touch I was merely having a bit a of fun. I think Patrick is capable of withstanding my poor attempts at humour, and if he doesn't want his typos to be a running joke, then maybe he should read his work before pressing SEND (just another joke, don't get tense)

As for typos I am merely some ignorant forum lurker hammering out my vitriol with my big hairy keyboard mashing hands. I give myself the right to misplace apostrophes, mizspelll words or even just go smsx,xx'[s;/sa,.a,áam,szmzxmjzk,zzxjk zn with my big fists. Last time I checked Patrick is a journalist. People actually sign in, or even pay money to read his writing.

And (yes I know its grammatically incorrect to start a sentence with and, but i've done it and it feels soooo good) I don't give a shit about his ever more thundering typos because most of the time he has something pretty interesting to say/report but when it gets to the point of subverting the entire meaning of the opening sentence of your article, I say its time to get a copy checker.

Posted by tourgen

Well that's discouraging. Human Revolution was very fun and atmospheric.

Posted by DharmaBum

Eidos was all that was keeping Square afloat and relevant in my book. You can keep all your melodramatic JRPGs. Deus Ex, Tomb Raider and Hitman were what I wanted.

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