Ryota Suzuki worked on Devil May Cry 5 at Capcom, joined Square Enix in 2019, and is now the Battle Director of the AAA game developed by Naoki Yoshida’s division.
Square Enix announced via recruitment site Silicon Studio Agent that Ryota Suzuki is now the Battle Director of the new AAA action game project developed at the 3rd Development Division led by Naoki Yoshida. This project started in 2016, and entered full-scale development in 2019. An interview with Ryota Suzuki was also published by Silicon Studio Agent and Square Enix. (Thanks to Renka_schedule for pointing it out). Here’s a translated summary.
Ryota Suzuki (Twitter) joined Capcom in 1999, and worked on 2D fighting games (Marvel Vs Capcom 2, Capcom Vs SNK 2) and 3D action games over there till 2019, when he joined Square Enix. During his time at Capcom, he most notably worked on Devil May Cry 5 and Dragon’s Dogma‘s battle systems.
In the first part of the interview, Ryota Suzuki spoke about his role as Battle Director. His job mainly includes ensuring the battle system has the high quality expected worldwide of AAA titles. He explained Square Enix has a lot of know-how when it comes to RPGs, but not that much when it comes to Action games. Ryota Suzuki addressed how in the past RPGs were “Command-based” (turn-based) with commands like “attack” and “run away”. But nowadays, action elements became mainstream in RPGs, so Square Enix was looking for someone experienced in Action, in order to produce in-house RPGs with good Action systems. Hence why Suzuki was hired. He added that the team he’s working with is full of highly talented Game System Engineers, Technical Artists, and VFX Artists.
Ryota Suzuki also answered some pretty interesting questions: whether he believes the trend of including Action elements in RPG will keep rising, and how this will influence Square Enix:
Ryota Suzuki: “I may be exaggerating, but nowadays many believe that Command RPG itself is old-fashioned. These games are called JRPGs outside Japan, and older players will play them, but the younger generation, raised playing GTA and FPS games, aren’t used to Command based battles systems. They feel weird seeing a system where the enemies and allies will simply stand as they wait for commands. Square Enix still deem RPGs as important though. We plan to make games for those who enjoyed our works until now, and for the younger players who are more used to Action games.”
The second and third parts of the interview has Ryota Suzuki speaking of work conditions at Square Enix. Seeing this is a business-styled interview promoting recruitment, he is incredibly positive and there’s nothing particularly noteworthy to be shared here. Overall, Suzuki mentioned Square Enix is a “White” company where everyone is happy. Just in case, this doesn’t mean Square Enix is full of white people who can’t pronounce names like N’golo properly and believe Africa is a big homogeneous savanna-covered country. Well, it probably is. But a “White” company in Japan is in opposition to so-called “Black” companies, known for poor work conditions or downright exploiting employees. Have to wonder why “Black” is always the bad adjective though.
Moving on, the last part of the interview has Suzuki speaking directly to potential Square Enix recruits. In particular, he mentioned:
Ryota Suzuki: “This is my own way of seeing things, but I believe Square Enix’ objective can be summed up as such: “Keeping our position as the first representatives of Japanese RPGs. Striving to obtain the position of first representatives of Japanese Action games.” This is by no means an easy obtainable goal, hence why if even one day faster, we wish to hire game creators with know how of Action games.”
A similar interview will be published by Square Enix and Silicon Studio Agent in the future, this time featuring Takeo Kujiraoka. He’s the Director of Dissidia Final Fantasy, and is also part of this new AAA project as Battle Content Leader.
This new AAA project is one of the many games developed at Square Enix we heard about. Luminous Productions is also working on a AAA game, but it’ll still take a lot of time. Besides that, Square Enix, being a huge company with multiple divisions, is also working on Final Fantasy 7 Remake‘s sequel(s), Infinity Strash Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, yet another Dragon Quest game which is possibly Dragon Quest XII (Yuji Horii’s latest comments), a new Dragon Quest Monsters game, more Kingdom Hearts, and probably more projects we haven’t heard of.