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Square-Enix Circles Around their Loyalties
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 24, 2005   |   Episode 57 (Show Archive)  

   

Final Fantasy X-2 is hardly the best Square Enix game, but it sure does have a cast of sexy adventurers!
Square has always been a deeply loyal company, ready to support their console of choice with all kinds of Japanese role-playing games. But long-time fans know another side of Square, one that is a little less becoming of a company with such an amazing collection of successful titles. Square may try to stay loyal, but they jump ship right when the other company seems to need them the most.

Square started its life making some of the best 8-Bit RPG's money could buy. Even though their NES games were always highly regarded, it wasn't until they started releasing games on the Super NES that people started to take notice. With classics like Final Fantasy III and Chrono Trigger, Square managed to get a whole generation into adventure games while easily outselling their competition almost every time. Square and Nintendo were a powerhouse team that would surely rule the 32-/64-Bit era as well.

But that's not how things ended up going down. By the time Nintendo was ready to release their Nintendo 64, Square had jumped ship to support the company that would become Big N's fiercest competition ... Sony. On the PlayStation Square would go on to even bigger success. Thanks to games like Final Fantasy VII, Square was able to establish themselves as the premier adventure game company in the world. Up until the switch most gamers (especially in Japan) thought that Nintendo's rule would last forever ... but thanks

Here you see Vicky on her way to her job interview at the local Piggly Wiggly's!
to Squares offerings the dynamic was changed forever.

For two generations Square has provided Sony with popular quests and unique stories. But now that the PlayStation 2 is nearing the end of its life and brand new systems are almost upon us, Square has decided to yet again jump ships and support all three next generation consoles instead of just the one. On Monday, May 16, Square-Enix announced that they would be supporting the Xbox 360, the first time they have ever supported a Microsoft console.

This decision didn't start with Microsoft, though. A few years back Square made the shocking announcement that they were letting bygones be bygones and finally going back to support the various Nintendo platformers, including the GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and the Nintendo DS. This news delighted Nintendo fans the world over, many of whom had been waiting for this news since the day Square left for Sony's system.


If Square is going to port any game, why not making it Vagrant Story?
But for a company so willing to go the extra mile for the PlayStation, when it comes to their offerings on other systems, their games leave a lot to the imagination. So far Square has only given one game to the GameCube, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, a mildly amusing adventure game that fails to live up to Square's long history of excellence. The portable systems have faired slightly better, with a number of ports and only one real mediocre game. But even these games were not quite what the fans were hoping for, leading a lot of gamers to demand more from the company that used to just be called Square.

This tradition of pseudo-supporting the non-Sony systems seems to be continuing on the Xbox 360. Instead of getting a brand new adventure with unique characters and amazing cinemas ... Square has decided to simply port Final Fantasy XI to the Xbox. That's right, the very same game Sony used to promote the PlayStation 2 Hard Drive oh so many years ago. The same game that practically nobody bought for a console (the large majority of gamers who play FFXI

PlayStation fans everywhere are excited about Final Fantasy XII, even if it was an E3 no show this year!
are playing it on the PC). The very same game that really isn't all that similar to any of the other Final Fantasy games. Gee, thanks Square.

While the PlayStation receives hotly anticipated sequels like Final Fantasy XII and Kingdom Hearts 2, Xbox 360 owners have to put up with an out-of-date massively multiplayer online role-playing game that almost nobody was excited about. It takes Square-Enix a long, long time to craft (and eventually localize) one of their role-playing games, so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that they chose to make their first Xbox 360 game a remake. But wouldn't it make more sense to port Final Fantasy XII (which will hopefully be out on the PS2 by the time the Xbox 360 shows up)? Heck, a lot of gamers wouldn't have minded seeing a remake (and remix) of 2001's amazing Final Fantasy X. Anything but Final Fantasy XI, anything at all!

Will Square have the same impact they did almost a decade ago with the original PlayStation? Probably not ... especially if they release side adventures like Final Fantasy XI. Announcing an out-of-date MMORPG is a start, but will Xbox owners find what they are looking for in a pay-to-play RPG that was once a big PlayStation 2 game? I have a hunch this is going to be an extremely bumpy ride for Square's newest adventure ... at least until they come out with something American (and Japanese) gamers are actually interested in.
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