Ever since the first The World Ends With You released for the Nintendo DS in 2008, its fans had prayed endlessly for an eventual sequel, despite it being a relatively niche title. The odds of a sequel did improve when it was re-released for the Nintendo Switch in 2018, which included a new epilogue with a pretty blatant sequel hook. Cut to November 2020 and Neo: The World Ends With You, a bona fide sequel, was announced.
Between the sequel and an anime adaptation of the first game, both of which released earlier this year, no doubt many fans hoped that this would mark the start of a resurgence of The World Ends With You IP. Unfortunately, that may not happen if Square Enix’s latest financial report is to go by.
According to Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda, while Neo: The World Ends With You was received positively by critics and fans (the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 versions have Metacritic scores of 82 and 80 respectively), it has apparently underperformed and didn’t meet the company’s sales expectations. The report makes no mention of specific sales figures or what Square Enix’s expectations for the game were.
It's difficult to point to why Neo: The World Ends With You might have underperformed. It certainly wasn’t due to lack of accessibility. Unlike the original DS game, Neo: The World Ends With You launched on multiple platforms, specifically the Switch and PS4. Only two months later, it released for PC as well via the Epic Games Store. Some have already argued that it’s down to a lack of marketing on Square Enix’s part.
In addition, the report reads that the overall net sales of Square Enix’s entire HD games sub-segment are down compared to the last fiscal year. Besides Neo: The World Ends With You, the company released Outriders, the Nier: Replicant remaster, and Life is Strange: True Colors throughout 2021. While all three games performed well, both critically and financially, they collectively failed to outperform last year’s releases, which included Marvel’s Avengers and Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
While this by no means rules out Square Enix continuing The World Ends With You, fans may be concerned that the sequel’s underperformance has hurt its chances of getting a follow-up any time soon. With any luck, the recent free trial for The World Ends With You: Final Remix and subsequent discounts for it and Neo: The World Ends With You have attracted some new fans who will be eagerly requesting even more games in the future.
Neo: The World Ends With You is available for Nintendo Switch, PC, and PlayStation 4.
Source: Square Enix
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