Friday saw Eidos Montreal’s general manager, Stephane D’Astous, quit his role at the studio, having worked at the company since it formed in 2007. He says the reason was “The lack of leadership, lack of courage and the lack of communication were so evident, that I wasn’t able to conduct my job correctly.”
“Since last year’s financial short-coming performance of Square Enix Europe, we (HQ London and GM Eidos Montreal) have had growing and divergent opinions on what needed to be done to correct the situation,” he told Polygon in a statement. “The lack of leadership, lack of courage and the lack of communication were so evident, that I wasn’t able to conduct my job correctly. I realized that our differences were irreconcilable, and that the best decision was unfortunately to part ways.”
Back in March, Square Enix’s president Yoichi Wada announced an “extraordinary loss” before resigning his position. This was swiftly followed by the news that Tomb Raider had only sold 3.4 million copies (which is a lot but falls short of the 6 million the publisher had been counting on). In June, IO found half its staff laid off to cut costs.
A result of all this has been that Square Enix have announced a new structure for the development of its games: they’re looking for more involvement from the game’s potential players.
Speaking to Polygon, D’Astous expanded on the irreconcilable differences that led to his departure from the company, the main reason being the publisher’s approach to coming up with a new business strategy: “My management style is to have your major players participate in building a new strategic plan. But that wasn’t the case and it was then very hard to have the buy-in of the plan that landed on our desks. It wasn’t the way I would have worked.
“We are in a situation that we have great games that could have sold more. [Square Enix] need to attack that very, very seriously. Last year was supposed to be a home-run season, but we didn’t hit a single home run; maybe a double or a triple, but they weren’t home runs.
“[They have] some things to learn about how to sell their games.”