Square Enix What Are You Doing?
Square has long been an industry powerhouse in the RPG genre. After making the switch from Nintendo to Sony, Square began to spread its wings a bit. Square was still able to turn out gems such as FFVII and FFVIII during this time. That is an understatement. Final Fantasy VII is easily the most popular RPG of all time. (I mean no offense to the Chrono fans out there). Square already had an empire. This empire only expanded during the ‘Age of PlayStation’.
Square remained with the PlayStation brand into the next generation. Titles such as Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, and Final Fantasy XII were released exclusively for the PS2. These titles sold extremely well and further built on the dominance of the developer. Along the way it appears that something went wrong. Square merged with Enix and things began to decline. This is not a joke, Star Ocean 3 speaks for itself.
This console generation came with the promise of Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. We all had hopes for Kingdom Hearts 3 and figured that we would be playing another Dragon Quest. Final Fantasy XIII exclusivity was lost due to the funds of a company that will not be named. This fulfilled Square Enix’s promise to not throw its complete support behind the PS3 exclusively. This is an old wound though. It is a wound that only becomes aggravated when the PS3 is passed over for RPGs such as Star Ocean 4. Hello Square Enix, I’ve played all 3 of the previous Star Ocean titles and would like to play the 4th. It may be nice of you to note that I only own a PS3 console.
This is not only about the exclusivity issues that have come about under Wada’s reign. The company has recently purchased Eidos. Yea, I do not understand this purchase either. Square Enix has stated that it wanted a greater presence in the Western world and has spent about $125 million to do it. The price seems a little steep when you consider the company that was purchased. I love Tomb Raider. I am sure a great number of you do as well, but is Tomb Raider truly relevant anymore? Lara has suffered the same fate as Crash. Square Enix gets access to Western developers and supply lines, but at a cost that is far higher than necessary.
Let us sum this up. Wada has led SE into a poor year financially due to the love that he is showing a console that is not strong in the company’s home territory. He has also purchased a floundering company for a price that is far above what he could have purchased a company such as Free Radical. I am not going to state that I am a better business man or better suited to lead Square Enix, but I do believe that Wada is leading the company into a decline that it will not be able to recover from on its own. I am still looking forward to the titles that Square Enix will be releasing this generation, but I am also fearful that the company will not have as strong of a role in the gaming generation to come.