For Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda, the third time really is the charm. Speaking to Weekly Famitsu (as translated by Kotaku), Matsuda said that he believes a new intellectual property needs at least three games before its success can be reasonably judged. "Looking retrospectively at the gaming industry, many games take off or get their big break at their third title," Matsuda said before laughing and acknowledging that, naturally, there are some exceptions to the rule.
"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,'" Matsuda said. "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."
It's a design philosophy reflected in games like the Square Enix-published Just Cause 3 and Kingdom Hearts 3 (yes, I know KH3 is something like the 15-bajillionth Kingdom Hearts game), where things look to be more or less the same as the previous games, but on larger, more chaotic scales. It's definitely not a rule that every company follows, but you know, maybe they should! Then we can find out if this "Half-Life" or "Portal" business is gonna take off.
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