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Square Enix reveals NEO: The World Ends With You underperformed



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GreyouTT

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☺️ Oh boy I sure am super emotional and venting even though I’m not the one who took their time out of their day to create an account on this website just to complain about one random user’s post because it really upset them.

You can have your ideas and I can have mine on what would have been a better approach. That’s the fun about opinions. It doesn’t affect anything in the end because the game’s already failed and it’ll slide into cult status like the original and everything spoken after is just people whining about something they couldn’t control.

All I’m saying is that Nomura even addressing a comment about TWEWY and KH together was a bad idea and one of the many marketing missteps they made. It absolutely did cause harm because I had the pleasure of viewing the fallout on Twitter for days. And I didn’t say they needed to lie or mislead. Not speaking on something isn’t misleading. That question should have never been asked or answered is all I’m saying. Let people imagine what they want. It’s Nomura’s own fault for associating TWEWY to KH in the first place. He was the one who tried leveraging that fanbase to make TWEWY more popular then balked at the mess he made after the fact once he realized people kept asking him about the relationship between the two.

Utilizing existing fanbases isn’t misleading. Something as simple as “From the team who brought you Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy” would have been honest and confidence-inspiring for a wary audience. “Miki Yamashita’s rise from designer in KHUX to one of the main character designers in TWEWY” as a featured video showing off her work is simple enough. She had some of the best designs and character ideas of the game.

Doing something similar for each designer and for Nomura and Kando and Ito and Ishimoto would have been great.

Doing fun posts about stuff like FanGO or the emojis or how they use “Kweh” as would have been a cute way to appeal to FF fans.

How about something so easily effortless:
“Nagi can Dive into people’s hearts 😉 to free them of the Noise and Fret can Remind 😉 people about things they’ve forgotten to find new leads in their quest to win the Reaper’s Game”

How hard is that? How is that lying? It’s playing coy but clearly targeting a certain audience. If their already hyper-active imaginations lead them to misconstrue things, let them. That is 90% of what hype is to begin with.
Honestly it seems like a no win situation. Staying silent would have led to complaints from people who thought there would have been something, as well as people trying to make connections where there are none.
 

Soldier

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And Nomura shouldn't have been allowed to directly say "no" to KH references in that one interview because I think that probably kept curious KH fans from crossing over to check it out (and even if they left disappointed, they would have played a fun game)...and the lack of leveraging the FF references in the game to appeal to that audience...or not using game images for easy meme material...
Ah Nomura, that complicated man. Never ceases to disappoint me with the way he carries the series that he creates. He's definitely gotten a swollen ego after KH became popular.
 
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☺️ Oh boy I sure am super emotional and venting even though I’m not the one who took their time out of their day to create an account on this website just to complain about one random user’s post because it really upset them.
Nah. Not why I joined. Just a convenient excuse. ;)
 

LightUpTheSky452

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I'm really disappointed, but I knew this was going to happen:( Not advertising it at E3 was such a mistake. I don't understand. Ugh. I hate that it's probably going to go into cult status like the original, and we'll most likely never get another game:( Maybe sales could start picking up and they could change their mind, but I'm sadly not holding my breath to get burnt.
 
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I'm really disappointed, but I knew this was going to happen:( Not advertising it at E3 was such a mistake. I don't understand. Ugh. I hate that it's probably going to go into cult status like the original, and we'll most likely never get another game:( Maybe sales could start picking up and they could change their mind, but I'm sadly not holding my breath to get burnt.
Novels and manga are where movies/shows/games go to die lol.

We're def not getting another game, but we still might see another story from Shibuya here and there in another form.
 

Zackarix

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Don't take the word of randoms on Twitter too seriously, but allegedly there's been a spike in sales after they announced the game's underperformance:
If true this is both a bad and good thing. Good because it means the game is doing a little better, bad because it means that the announcement of the game's failure did a better job advertising it than any of the marketing leading up to its release.
 

Face My Fears

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Honestly I think it probably did underperform. But that's from Square's expectations. They probably expected it to do amazingly well as it was seen as a very much in-demand sequel... except I think Square didn't factor in that it was an in-demand sequel for a very niche game that game out a decade ago. They were probably expecting it to get KH3 treatment (OK not that level, but I'm using it as an example for wait time/hype time for a sequel), but Square didn't really do much to hype it up. Unlike FF and KH where one tiny tease will break the internet and trend all over social media, a full on reveal for The World Ends With You's sequel is not enough.

I am a huge fan of the original and I STILL haven't bought the sequel. I'm kind of waiting for it to get much cheaper and also, I'm busier than a decade ago when the game came out, and also there's a pandemic so yeah my mind isn't really focused on gaming. Square should have been focusing on attracting new fans, but maybe they didn't think the effort was worth it because this would be the only sequel (and hence not grabbing fans for a franchise that will grow).

Anyway, the important thing is that it was critically acclaimed. I would rather it not sell well, but be considered an amazing game over it selling well and the sequel's quality be disappointing.

I wasn't really paying much attention to its media hype, but did they at least try to hype the game along with the anime? It seems kind of obvious to do at least that... and maybe Square could have also re-released the original again or do some kind of new version of it or something, to at least promote the series some more.
 

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Honestly I think it probably did underperform. But that's from Square's expectations. They probably expected it to do amazingly well as it was seen as a very much in-demand sequel... except I think Square didn't factor in that it was an in-demand sequel for a very niche game that game out a decade ago. They were probably expecting it to get KH3 treatment (OK not that level, but I'm using it as an example for wait time/hype time for a sequel), but Square didn't really do much to hype it up. Unlike FF and KH where one tiny tease will break the internet and trend all over social media, a full on reveal for The World Ends With You's sequel is not enough.

I am a huge fan of the original and I STILL haven't bought the sequel. I'm kind of waiting for it to get much cheaper and also, I'm busier than a decade ago when the game came out, and also there's a pandemic so yeah my mind isn't really focused on gaming. Square should have been focusing on attracting new fans, but maybe they didn't think the effort was worth it because this would be the only sequel (and hence not grabbing fans for a franchise that will grow).

Anyway, the important thing is that it was critically acclaimed. I would rather it not sell well, but be considered an amazing game over it selling well and the sequel's quality be disappointing.

I wasn't really paying much attention to its media hype, but did they at least try to hype the game along with the anime? It seems kind of obvious to do at least that... and maybe Square could have also re-released the original again or do some kind of new version of it or something, to at least promote the series some more.
It was much cheaper though. $30 and it dropped as low as $15 during Black Friday.
 

Face My Fears

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It was much cheaper though. $30 and it dropped as low as $15 during Black Friday.
I was thinking of getting it on Black Friday, but then I forgot lol. Also I have so many games I have to get around beating that I don't want to get it and just add it to the list of games untouched.
 
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Exactly. A drop in price this early on probably means good things for moving more units, but probably not enough to make a huge difference.
 

kirabook

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Hm... I think NTWEWY's "failure" is probably a combination of things.
1. Crappy marketing
2. Accidentally pushing people away even though peoples intentions were good/honest
3. They set their expectations ridiculously high on purpose knowing it would fail

For #1, it's true. I don't really watch gaming shows anyway but usually I see crap tons of advertisements I don't want to see for games I'm not gonna play. NEO just... faded away at some point. I only knew it was out at some point because a streamer/youtuber I watch was memeing about Suskichi. I THINK I'm on squares email list even though I don't want to be and I still didn't get any info about it. It definitely seems like they didn't put very much effort getting it out there.

#2 Ok, here's a controversial one. I remember around the time of the release... people were MAD about KH fans being interested? Maybe that's not exactly what they were mad about, they were on full patrol trying to squash conversations suggesting they MIGHT be related. Some people were seriously pissed at the suggestion. On the one hand I get it. It can get bothersome if you love this game so so much and you feel like people only talk about it when another game is mentioned. But at the same time, I just don't think it's a good idea to squash those discussions either? You push people away for no reason.

I sorta knew about TWEWY before it showed up in KH, but I didn't know the plot. Yet. I got into it a bit after that. I love my KH theories and all, but of course I don't think TWEWY is related to KH, it's just like FF. It's an external properly whose rules get twisted ONLY when it's in KH. I think Nomura is great about that honestly, KH does not really leak into other properties and I think most KH fans know that.

Maybe the TWEWY community shouldn't immediately get so defensive about stuff like that and should do more to spread the property, even if they have to piggyback off a different property just a little bit.

TWEWY is not the only game suffering from KH's bloat lately. Smash and even Final Fantasy, KH's father, gets pestered by less informed KH fans sometimes. It's not good for a fandom to tear itself apart trying to expel those people though, you gotta reeducate them and register them into your own religion instead.

#3 I know some gaming companies set their expectations extremely high on purpose because they want to say a project failed so they can drop it forever. Gosh, I know this has happened before in the past a few times but I can't think of a name off the top of my head. I feel like was an EA property... oh! I remember. It was Dead Space. For Dead Space 3, not only did executives meddle in the development, force microtransactions into a AAA game... but they also set the sales number at an unreasonable number to be considered successful. They shelved the series and closed the studio afterwards.

Now, I'm not saying Square did all that. But maybe they knowingly didn't put a budget to market the game and yet still pretended it should sell as if it was marketed well.
 

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Exactly. A drop in price this early on probably means good things for moving more units, but probably not enough to make a huge difference.
Yeah, it’s a game of diminishing returns. Lower the price and you are taking in less. What we hope is that they had a set goal in mind when they let retailers lower the price and they reached that goal.

I just hope that this is a continual lesson in expectations for SE. It’s clear they have issues with that in general.

1. Crappy marketing
2. Accidentally pushing people away even though peoples intentions were good/honest
3. They set their expectations ridiculously high on purpose knowing it would fail

For #1, it's true. I don't really watch gaming shows anyway but usually I see crap tons of advertisements I don't want to see for games I'm not gonna play. NEO just... faded away at some point. I only knew it was out at some point because a streamer/youtuber I watch was memeing about Suskichi. I THINK I'm on squares email list even though I don't want to be and I still didn't get any info about it. It definitely seems like they didn't put very much effort getting it out there.

#2 Ok, here's a controversial one. I remember around the time of the release... people were MAD about KH fans being interested? Maybe that's not exactly what they were mad about, they were on full patrol trying to squash conversations suggesting they MIGHT be related. Some people were seriously pissed at the suggestion. On the one hand I get it. It can get bothersome if you love this game so so much and you feel like people only talk about it when another game is mentioned. But at the same time, I just don't think it's a good idea to squash those discussions either? You push people away for no reason.

I sorta knew about TWEWY before it showed up in KH, but I didn't know the plot. Yet. I got into it a bit after that. I love my KH theories and all, but of course I don't think TWEWY is related to KH, it's just like FF. It's an external properly whose rules get twisted ONLY when it's in KH. I think Nomura is great about that honestly, KH does not really leak into other properties and I think most KH fans know that.

Maybe the TWEWY community shouldn't immediately get so defensive about stuff like that and should do more to spread the property, even if they have to piggyback off a different property just a little bit.

TWEWY is not the only game suffering from KH's bloat lately. Smash and even Final Fantasy, KH's father, gets pestered by less informed KH fans sometimes. It's not good for a fandom to tear itself apart trying to expel those people though, you gotta reeducate them and register them into your own religion instead.

#3 I know some gaming companies set their expectations extremely high on purpose because they want to say a project failed so they can drop it forever. Gosh, I know this has happened before in the past a few times but I can't think of a name off the top of my head. I feel like was an EA property... oh! I remember. It was Dead Space. For Dead Space 3, not only did executives meddle in the development, force microtransactions into a AAA game... but they also set the sales number at an unreasonable number to be considered successful. They shelved the series and closed the studio afterwards.

Now, I'm not saying Square did all that. But maybe they knowingly didn't put a budget to market the game and yet still pretended it should sell as if it was marketed well.
Yeah, the fandom didn’t really do a great job at trying to win KH fans over or educate them. The hostility was a huge deterrent.

I also just don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to have their theories. Separate from my argument about what Nomura should have done to keep individual fanbases on board, I really don’t think in fan spaces should be denied their forays into wild theories. It should be paired with a clear understanding that their theories are unlikely to happen because we aren’t the people making these projects because people should always keep their expectations in check, but I think letting people theorize or have fantasies about characters meeting or appearing is fun. It doesn’t hurt anything, and it generates discussion. Every fandom has its own sub-spaces and there is no reason to deny people from building that.
 

kirabook

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Yeah, it’s a game of diminishing returns. Lower the price and you are taking in less. What we hope is that they had a set goal in mind when they let retailers lower the price and they reached that goal.

I just hope that this is a continual lesson in expectations for SE. It’s clear they have issues with that in general.


Yeah, the fandom didn’t really do a great job at trying to win KH fans over or educate them. The hostility was a huge deterrent.

I also just don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to have their theories. Separate from my argument about what Nomura should have done to keep individual fanbases on board, I really don’t think in fan spaces should be denied their forays into wild theories. It should be paired with a clear understanding that their theories are unlikely to happen because we aren’t the people making these projects because people should always keep their expectations in check, but I think letting people theorize or have fantasies about characters meeting or appearing is fun. It doesn’t hurt anything, and it generates discussion. Every fandom has its own sub-spaces and there is no reason to deny people from building that.
I'm all for theories for the most part. For example, if NEO was included in a future KH, how would that go, and what message would they bring into it? (Also looking back now that I know about TWEWY, I feel like they could've done better to represent TWEWY in DDD)

I can see why theories like "NEOTWEWY IS LIKE ONE BIG SECRET ENDING FOR KH3!!11!!" would get a bit annoying if people are being serious about a theory like that.
 

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I'm all for theories for the most part. For example, if NEO was included in a future KH, how would that go, and what message would they bring into it? (Also looking back now that I know about TWEWY, I feel like they could've done better to represent TWEWY in DDD)

I can see why theories like "NEOTWEWY IS LIKE ONE BIG SECRET ENDING FOR KH3!!11!!" would get a bit annoying if people are being serious about a theory like that.
Those are annoying. XD

And yeah, TWEWY could have been utilized way better in KH3D. But I mean…we can sort of say that for really anything in KH besides maybe Toy Story. KH is a sink hole of missed opportunities.
 

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Okay, moving away from the KH aside because we can trash on KH fans and the series any time, I thought of a few easy, cheap/low cost marketing things that could have kept NTWEWY in the gaming zeitgeist:

1. Should have been announced later to have an overall shorter marketing-to-release schedule. They announced it in November 2020 and then let it languish for 8 months. This is a game that did not need a 8-month lead up time. Announcing this game in 2021 when the anime started airing would have been better to both promote the anime and keep the game in people’s minds. April - July would have only been 4 months, meaning they could have still released the same amount of marketing materials but with less space between them, and capitalized on summer game marketing events.

2. A public Discord server. Now, I know that requires getting moderators so it isn’t SO cheap and a Discord could have very well failed, but I think this game needed a centralized hub for discussion. Outriders, one of SE’s more recent releases, had a very dedicated fanbase that was on Discord and they absolutely are a part of the reason why I don’t think that game was an absolute failure. It shows in the fact that even a casual gamer is aware that Outriders exists, regardless of how active the game is today or not. The Discord helped foster a dedicated fanbase that kept it active and it was able to find and build an audience.

For TWEWY, yes, there was already an existing audience but I think they were too spread out and couldn’t carry the game on Twitter when discussion changes with the wind on there. I’m sure they had private servers but that’s a private server. Being able to go onto Discord and find an official public server would have at least given it a home for centralized discussion.

3. Getting influencers and more journalists on board. I don’t like influencer-based marketing because for awhile SE was way too focused on streamers and shunned anything that wasn’t a streamer, but it is necessary in these times. It drives me nuts that this is the game they needed to do this for but they happened to pull away from streamer-driven marketing just in time for this game!

Also in general they were very picky about review codes for sites and it doesn’t make sense because the game ended up being very well received. Weird time to be super conservative and nervous.

My point is that this game needed to be more visible and SE just didn’t do that. I’m not sure if they had bad internal reviews or if the flaccid demo reception did something (which lol what did they expect would happen? They needed a better vertical slice of the game rather than just having the beginning).

4. Less of whatever those tweets and Insta pots were and more in-game funny gifs. How hard would that have been? And if they wanted later game stuff, they could have had SE Japan edit screens with the mr mask guy neku’s face still covered up.

5. Leaving mr mask guy neku as the marketing mystery when there were better mysteries to be had in that game lol

6. MORE SHOKA IN MARKETING.
 
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Yeah, the fandom didn’t really do a great job at trying to win KH fans over or educate them. The hostility was a huge deterrent.

What hostility? From sites like Gematsu and Siliconera, to public joints like ResetEra and Reddit, Kingdom Hearts fans kind of being dicks about it was the cold reality; all NEO posts on the KH sub were promptly killed off for being off-topic, outright disdain on RE, and an utter lack of interest everywhere else, which brings the next issue: Why on earth should TWEWY fans have to "win over" KH fans, who again, have been the hostile ones, not the other way around? Again, it is its own thing, it's not a Kingdom Hearts spin-off, it should stand on its own merits.

If you want to point fingers at fanbases for.....I dunno, being "irresponsible" for not sharing the love, or...whatever, look at at the Persona or DanganRonpa communities. TWEWY is far more in their wheelhouse, and has far more in common, than it would have with Kingdom Hearts. A few stray elements like sharing a producer and cameos does not a cohesive, connective tissue make... If you wanted disparate communities to join hands and forge a circle of trust, those'd be it.

In fact, I honestly never did get why the site staff here decided to put KH and TWEWY in a blender. The two franchises are so far apart in presentation, writing, characterization, style, it's not even funny... It would've been much, much more efficient if you just made a brand new, dedicated TWEWY fansite, and plugged it every chance you could. In fact, that actually happened a long time ago - there was a site called "7 Days Limit" a long, looooooong while ago but it didn't last since the owners got into some kind of spat. You guys could've picked up the pieces! But sharing the space on KHInsider, without any meaningful distinction, pretending like TWEWY was some kind of spin-off... It was foolish, and it made no sense.

If you want to point fingers at fans for not doing Square's job more efficiently...well, let's just say KHI isn't exactly a shining beacon of marketing either. I actually know a thing or two about this! I'm....well, was, in marketing myself. =_=
 
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kirabook

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It's not about winning them over my guy. From my perspective, especially on Twitter, the minute a KH fan referenced something about TWEWY possibly being related to KH, people overracted way too harshly. "THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER" "OMG KH FANS ARE THE WORST MENTIONING KH AND TWEWY IN THE SAME SENTENCE"

Yeah, that kind of hosility over the years doesn't go away. Some KH fans start feeling that way towards TWEWY and it sucks. That's why I brought up the point in the first place. I've seen it with my own eyes over the years. It was such a missed opportunity to grow the TWEWY fandom more by educating KH fans better since DDD did a poor job at it. That's how so many lesser known properties get more popular if the company isn't doing anything. Word of mouth. Trying to convince others to try it. Look at FF14. It literally became a meme and sensational success because of that meme. People managed to convince popular WoW streamers to try it and now some of them and their audience don't even want to go back to WoW.

Maybe from your perspective you've only seen one side of it (KH fans hostlity towards TWEWY), but it's a two way street. At the beginning, KH fans had no reason to feel hostility towards TWEWY and even though most KH didn't know about it before DDD, I think they liked the inclusion of it and the characters.

So you have to ask yourself "Ok, then why is there this tongue-in-cheek tenseness between the KH and TWEWY fandoms?" It's BECAUSE well, even though their intentions were good and obviously they LOVE TWEWY universe a lot and want to protect its integrity... some people on social social media either purposely or accidently wasted a huge crossover opportunity to get a huge market to love their game.

Like, how many people are like me who had no idea what Final Fantasy even was when I played KH and are now an average FF enjoyer? KH is so many FF fans "First baby FF game". It's like a freakin' pipeline into nerdom.

I think that was what they kinda wanted to do with TWEWY too. Create a streamline into discovering the TWEWY, but it only kinda worked.

It's not about pointing fingers. It's just a string of unfortunately circumstances and misunderstandings that's lead to some fallout. Square did little to nothing to continue cultivating KH fans to enjoy the lesser known properties like TWEWY as well so if they were relying on the fandom to market the game to KH fans (a fandom literally built on the back of crossover so they are open for almost anything), that was a mistake and they didn't read the tense room beforehand.
 
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the red monster

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Honestly the game/series always felt like a niche, mostly carried by the core fanbase, which isn't big enough to make a game sell well. plus the meh marketing. they just sent it out to die which is pretty sad.
grabbed the game on sale for 20$, so did my part i guess. my friend loves the series a lot so mostly did it for him.
 
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