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Square Enix’s top bossman explains his theory of threes.

Among the rather shocking announcements at this year’s E3, Square Enix also announced a new project. Tentatively titled Project Setsuna, the game is going to be an original RPG by the newly formed studio, Tokyo RPG Factory.

In an interview with Weekly Famitsu, Square Enix head honcho Yosuke Matsuda talked briefly about the studio and the new game.

Interestingly, the title “Setsuna” does not come from the Japanese word “Setsuna (刹那)“ which means “instant” or “moment,” which some might understandably assume it does due to the fact that despite currently only having preliminary concept art to show, the game is scheduled to come out next year. Rather, the title comes from the Japanese word “Setsunasa (切なさ)“ which means “heartrending” or “sadly moving,” something Matsuda says is a theme for the game.

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Matsuda noted that depending on the success of the new game, he hopes to be able to nurture it into a new big IP. Asked to clarify his thoughts on developing a hit franchise, Matsuda explained:

Cultivating a new IP is very important. This is my own personal view, but I believe that it is very difficult to immediately build up a big IP. Looking retrospectively at the gaming industry, many games take off or get their big break at their third title. There are cases where the opposite is true of course (Laugh).

But regardless, you need at least three games before you can tell whether an IP is going to be really successful or not. I call this my “Law of Third Titles (三作目の法則)” (Laugh). That’s why for the first and second games, you experiment to a degree where you can still be flexible, and if the series has grown enough to be able to expect a big hit for the third game, you expand the scale. If the third title is successful then all is well.

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If Matsuda is planning on putting his Law of Third Titles into practice with Project Setsuna, then perhaps we can expect at least two more sequels after the game is released next year.

Granted, at the moment, there’s very little information on the game itself, but it’s nice to know that Matsuda is willing to invest in a project and give it a chance to grow and evolve, even if it might have a rocky start.

Project Setsuna is currently scheduled for release on God knows what platform some time next year.

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Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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