Is Squeenix a big deal?

It seems like through the Nintendo64, Dreamcast, and Xbox eras, the holy grail was pursuing Square, trying to win them over (or back in Nintendo’s case). Well now Xbox is getting at least some of it, and I guess Nintendo got some loving on the Gamecube, but I feel like their importance has dropped considerably. At this rate, the Xbox Five-O (book 'em Dan-o) will probably finally get exclusive partnerships with Rockstar long after anyone cares about them too, or something.

So am I out of touch, do the kids still eat up anything with Final Fantasy connected to it?

Plenty of people do, yes. Plus, Dragon Quest (Warrior) is ridiculously popular in Japan.

Final Fantasy X2 sold reasonably well. Final Fantasy XI did too, considering that it needed to push a new hardware piece, as well.

The Final Fantasy brand, and Square Enix, has declined a bit, I agree, but they are still a top publisher. It’ll also give other Japanese developers confidence to invest in X360.

True, I wasn’t thinking about that.

In the US, FFX is the number two selling FF title behind FF7.

And arguably more important now is Kingdom Hearts. It has actually beat FF7 in sales in th US (>2.2 million sold) and I believe is number two in SE’s entire library only to FF7.

Yeah, SE is still important.

I don’t think, however, getting FFXI is important. I don’t think SE support will be significant unless they get a numbered FF installment or KH game.

If Microsoft could somehow get Squenix to do FF or DraQue 360 exclusive, they would instantly become a player in Japan.

On the flip side, getting the next DQ as an exclusive would very likely make the X360 a huge success overnight in Japan, where the current Xbox has really, really struggled. I doubt it’ll happen though.

No doubt. Of course I put the probability of that happening at approx 0.000001%. That could sink SE as a whole if consumers decided not to buy 360 just to get Dragon Quest.


No doubt. Of course I put the probability of that happening at approx 0.000001%. That could sink SE as a whole if consumers decided not to buy 360 just to get Dragon Quest.[/quote]

Like that would happen. S-E could release DQ9 as a standalone console that didn’t play any other games and it would sell like hotcakes.

I happen to be one of those huge detractors of Final Fantasy X2, but since when did more than 4 million copies equate to reasonably well. And to think Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X beat that number, and that Dragon Quest VIII almost did in ONE TERRITORY…

In any case. Yes, Final Fantasy is still huge. FFX is still this generation best-selling RPG. And its quite possible that all the delays are going to make FFXII an even bigger deal.

But let’s not talk about sales.

I myself enjoy RPGs that are much deeper, more versatile, with better stories (though hardly ever with better graphics and sound) and such, but I will always be there first day for FF. The games have always had imaginative dungeon and enemy designs and combined plot scenarios with gameplay scenarios in often surprising, excellent ways. I loved the fact that for instance, you got to play as Maduin in the FFVI flashback, or go through Cloud’s brain as Tifa when she was trying to clear up his psychology in FFVII, or the ending of FFVIII, or the whole defending that castle scene in FFIV. Many of the creature designs are very memorable. I’ve seen tons of evil plants and huge beast creatures, but the Marlboro and Behemoth still stand out. Cactrot and the Tonberry are just fantastic, though of course Tonberry is taken from the old myth. Moogles and Chocobos are just great and the old white mage/black mage costumes are very distinctive. Also, the series has some really epic boss fights. I’ve always enjoyed how the series has progressed from apocalyptic fantasy in the first game to far more personal stories starting with FFVIII. I feel that’s really a great new horizon for RPGs: to be more about the characters and less about world-building and standard fantasy plots, though they are still bound by that. I found the fact VIII was about a total jerk of a young man who comes to open up amidst a bizarre time travel plot or X about the maturation of a selfish whiny brat to be refreshing. I like the fact that Square chased after unlikable main characters (though Tidus was a little too annoying), and I think its that type of thing that more story writers need to try out in games. Sure, the writing and dialogue never seem to the be at the level of other company’s games, but the creators are clearly inspired people.

The games are often also very fun and have an edge-of-their-seat cinematic quality to them that I don’t think I’ve seen any other company do as well in an RPG. Final Fantasy games are like the event movies of the gaming world for me. As for the fun, all sorts of games have had, say a character who can mix ingredients to make attacks, but Rikku’s ability in FFX was just terribly inviting and amusing to use. Its that nameless energy that clicks and brings a smile to your face. Also, I’m still waiting for other RPGs to do things like the trigger commands and the customizable Overdrives in FFX, those were two really nice ideas. I guess you could just say Final Fantasy has mojo. Also, they employ some of the most amazing artists in all of gaming on their games (though Tetsuya Nomura is rather annoying, he’s actually very talented when he is doing enemy designs and does have a good idea for color, though its kind of like faint praise). I can still remember exactly what many of the scenes look like from years ago in my head, whereas I have all but forgotten so many other dungeons and places in sometimes better RPGs. The music used in the games can also go so far as to be called experimental at times (certainly you’re not going to find many RPGs that set battle themes to a crazy narcistic octopus) to an operatic dance march), though the melodies are often so much simpler than something like Kouichi Sugiyama’s divine orchestrations in DQ.

While Dragon Quest will always be like the new novel by the renowned writer that I come to cherish and soak in its nuances, Final Fantasy is like the hot music track I can’t stop listening to for a while and is extremely catchy, and though not my favorite or most sophisticated, is something I can smile at it when it comes on the radio again years later.

In any case, its importance still can’t be denied. If not for Final Fantasy XI, the online market in Japan wouldn’t have opened up at all. Final Fantasy XII is easily the reason lots of new Japanese titles are being announced for the PS2: developers know there’s still time while that title hasn’t been released, that its state of un-release keeps Japanese gamers interested in the platform. And FFX did start two new trends in RPGs, one to focus more on inter-related systems than on exploration and the other for voice-acting in RPGs this generation. Not to mention how widespread action meters, overkills and sphere-board like development became after Square did it, though in everything but the sphere board, they weren’t the first.

With Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest on your platform, on Japan, it will be number one, guaranteed. No question. I do not care in the slightest is there isn’t one other game worth it, if a main series game in those two series appears, its the first platform I buy. Especially Dragon Quest, which is the number one gaming series by such a huge margin in Japan that nothing else can hope to compare while its king. It will also attract all the other RPGs then, and with that, a lot of small developers, since FF and DQ appeal to everyone, young and old, women and men, and small developers can tap into the the diverse tastes. This has a chain effect that in other territories, the platform is often blessed with all sorts of games that help sell it to people based on the ripple effect of FF and DQ alone. Certainly its not the only thing, but it helps. Also, don’t forget Japan will pay the highest prices in the world of the three big markets for games and that it has the easiest distribution of the three and is still an extremely large. If you compared for population differences, it would be as large as the US market right now and that’s after years of rising in there and years of dwindling here. And the density of spending gamers to population is still really, really high.

I don’t think Japanese will set the trends for the US market anymore outside of some titles, mostly because I think its become large enough to generate its own trends, which is the ultimately the more healthy reality. I do think however, its a good asset to have a rich selection of Japanese titles on your system because it tends to broaden the spectrum a lot, because what we’re doing is not always in tandem with what Western developers are doing. I suppose the downside is that using engines and such is pretty shunned, so development is more expensive in that sense, though Japanese developers don’t get paid as much. Then again, there’s not as much of a need for rich graphics to really sell well over her I don’t think. (Not that it doesn’t help, but it simply doesn’t amount too much difference a lot of the time.) But in any case, the point is, winning the Japanese market and you get domination, and with that comes lots of moola.

That said, I do have a hunch that it might perhaps be true that Japanese will drop gaming in the future and go on to something else. It would be largely in keeping with our history. My friends and I have echoed that sentiment, that there seems to so many good games already out, that one scarcely feels the need for more anymore, though we still buy and enjoy new ones.


I happen to be one of those huge detractors of Final Fantasy X2, but since when did more than 4 million copies equate to reasonably well. And to think Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X beat that number, and that Dragon Quest VIII almost did in ONE TERRITORY…[/quote]

You sort of answered yourself. Reasonably well relative to other AAA games.


4 million is more than most AAA games sell.

Dear Kitsune,


Dear Jose Liz,



What are your thoughts on the importance of the Mistwalker titles? Is Sakaguchi still a big enough name to drive sales of a console just to play his games?

AAA = San Andreas, Halo, HL2, for Fall 2004 at least (in my opinion).

I’d bet Japan.

So AAA now only includes the top two selling titles of this generation (no idea on HL2 sales)? What crackpipe are you smoking?

In my opinion, yes. Other titles are “great” or “stellar” but AAA status is a select few. I smoke no crackpipe.

You do when your definition of AAA is completely different from the rest of the industry.

Jose, just add more A’s.

Yeah, that’s what we need. That way, I can be crunching at 4am and some power-that-be will come storming into my cube and start screaming about how [titleX] has 3 more A’s than we do, and how I need to up the A count pronto or be looking for a new place to keep my stuff while I sleep under a desk…

[size=2]…the above piece of semi-humor was in no way representative of my actual work conditions, which are pretty nice and I get bagels and to go home at 6 and they’re very good to me, honest[/size]