Eidos Montreal Founder Leaves Square Enix Behind

Eidos Montreal founder Stephane D'Astous has some choice words for Square Enix' management.

News by Mike Williams, .

Eidos Montreal founder and general manager Stephane D'Astous has resigned from Square Enix, citing difficulty in dealing with the company's currently management. D'Astous has held the general manager position since 2007 when the studio opened. Square Enix acquired Eidos two years later.

"Since last year's financial short-coming performance of Square Enix Europe, we (HQ London and GM Eidos-Montreal) have had growing and divergent opinions on what needed to be done to correct the situation," D'Astous told our sister site, GamesIndustry International. "The lack of leadership, lack of courage and the lack of communication were so evident, that I wasn't able to conduct my job correctly. I realised that our differences were irreconcilable, and that the best decision was unfortunately to part ways."

Eidos Montreal successfully launched its first reboot, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, in 2011, but the Thief reboot being developed at the studio has been plagued with issues. Last year, Eidos Montreal parent company Square Enix Europe released three AAA games, but those titles failed to meet the sales targets Square Enix had laid out. Expectations put Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs at 5 - 6 million, 4 - 5.5 million, and 2 - 2.5 million, respectively. In reality, Tomb Raider sold 3.4 million, Hitman: Absolution sold 3.6 million, and Sleeping Dogs came through with 1.75 million.

"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. When the fiscal results came out official we were all surprised," D'Astous told Polygon in a lengthy interview. "We are in a situation that we have great games that could have sold more."

"I think that senior executives at (Square Enix Europe) almost started to panic and it was difficult to know what type of changes we needed to do, and it took a lot of time before some information came out from HQ," said D'Astous. "It was unfortunate that the senior staff of the studios didn't really participate in the new strategic plan."

2011's Deus Ex Human Revolution was a success for the studio. Wii U owners get to pay $50 for the Director's Cut this year.

The former executive said he spent the last few months trying to institute change from within, but to no avail. So, he left. Last Friday was D'Astous' last official day at Eidos Montreal, and his only other regret is not staying with the studio to see Thief launch.

"I've been really communicating my concerns, communicating my suggestions, my recommendations, since March. It has been quite tense," he said. "Put yourself in my shoes. I was employee one. Eidos Montreal was my home, blood, sweat and tears, call it what you want, for the last six-and-a-half years."

"My first mandate when I opened Eidos, two things I had to deliver was Deus Ex and Thief," he said. "Thief has been a long project. 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. 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."

Square Enix has named Deus Ex: Human Revolution executive producer David Anfossi as the new Studio Head.

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