A lot of major console and PC publishers have had a hard time entering the mobile market with quality titles, but Square Enix seemed to have cracked the code with the well-received Lara Croft Go, Hitman Go, and Deus Ex Go. Unfortunately, it seems like quality doesn’t always translate to acceptable profit, and the Japanese publisher is ending further development on the series.
In an interview with PocketGamer, Square Enix Montreal studio head Patrick Naud confirmed that the series has ceased development.
“I have to say no [we’re not working on other Go games], I’m sorry,” Naud told PocketGamer. “The Go series was a great adventure for us as a studio. We’ve done the three games, we’ve seen the wind. The hardest element is making premium games on mobile.” Naud went on to say that the mobile market tends not to allow for games that have upfront costs. “Despite the critical success and the great revenue we’ve had, it’s sad to see that our games are only played by a small slither of the population because of the price point. That’s such a big barrier for mobile users. A lot of people consume mobile games only and they have all these options, all these games; why should they invest money in this one unless they’re very convinced?”
The Go series generally has a puzzle or board game-like setup, taking the well known IPs like Tomb Raider and Hitman and putting their games in extremely inventive turn-based gameplay. The games were sold with upfront costs and few microtransactions and no necessary purchases after the initial buy.
It doesn’t seem like Square Enix is giving up on mobile at all, however. In a separate interview with VentureBeat, Naud noted that Hitman Sniper, a sniping game obviously based on the Hitman license, just had its best year ever. Square Enix is planning to go deeper into mobile, not further away, just not with games or monetization like the Go series.
I really liked both Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go, so I find this news pretty disappointing. It’s genuinely a shame that quality, premium mobile titles don’t have a place in the market.