Recently resigned Eidos Montreal founder and general manager Stephane D'Astous has explained the "irreconcilable" differences that led to his departure from parent company Square Enix; notably that the publisher was "lacking" in communication and "has some things to learn" about selling games.
D'Astous said in an interview with Polygon that sales of his games were really disappointing. "We brought three triple As to the market, and despite that great line up and those great critical reviews we still managed not to respect our financial goals, so that really shook up a lot of people," he said before noting that Square Enix, "has some things to learn about how to sell their games."
"We are in a situation that we have great games that could have sold more," he added. "They 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."
As a result, Square Enix needed to restructure things a bit; something D'Astous would have been fine with had he been in the loop, but instead he felt left out of important decisions that directly involved him. "It took a lot of time before some information came out from HQ," D'Astous lamented. "It was unfortunate that the senior staff of the studios didn't really participate in the new strategic plan."
As such, navigating Square Enix's cryptic restructuring sounded akin to understanding Metal Gear Solid 2's bananas plot. Even D'Astous still doesn't entirely get what the bigwigs are up to. "I had difficulty understanding all of the different elements of his [CEO Phil Rogers] plan, so it would not be very logical for me talk about it," he said.
"Communication is very lacking," D'Astous stated, adding that he threatened to leave for a few months hoping that the publisher would change its obtuse ways. "It has been in discussion for the last few months," he told Polygon. "I've been really communicating my concerns, communicating my suggestions, my recommendations, since March. It has been quite tense."
Despite his frustrations with his corporate overlords, D'Astous remains optimistic about Thief. "I'm quite confident in the developer side of things," he said. "Some of your articles were a little bit harsh [it's unclear if he means Polygon specifically or the media in general]. If you take into perspective every different element, it was blown out of proportion in some aspect. Every triple A has its up and downs and I guess we were exposed more to the public when we were at the bottom of the barrel. That was a long time ago."
"The new team and producer has turned the corner and they're doing a good job. That is one of my biggest regrets, not to be at the head of the studio that would deliver Thief."