In previous posts, I’ve provided explicit yet romantic lists of video game publishers that are now under the control of other video game publishers. However, one thing I’ve failed to mention is that this usually turns out poorly for longtime fans of the purchased companies. Here’s the shocking evidence!
Exhibit A: Squaresoft
Some will see this first listing and immediatley exclaim: “No! Square MERGED with Enix! No one controls Square!” I’m sorry to inform you that the board at Square didn’t come together one day and decide to team up with Enix to form RPG Superteam Company. Instead, something called Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within happened, and Square lost $100 million. Enix absorbed Square and the latter’s shareholders received less value for the new company’s shares than those of the former. With this unholy union came a desire to make lots and lots of money, mostly from Final Fantasy. In fact, the bulk of Square Enix releases have been Final Fantasy-related while Enix’s own Dragon Quest franchise has only been exploited slightly more than pre-SquareEnix levels.
There are some Final Fantasy fans that will say, “There more the better!” and never have their fill, regardless of quality. And in truth, the main Final Fantasy installments have retained their high level of critical acclaim. However, the market is now flooded with spin-offs of middling quality. There are mini-game collections starring Chocobo, a whole series of Nintendo-exclusive (big whoop) games called Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, all of which are pure saccharine. There are also several sequels specific to older FF releases. Admittedly, this practice began before the merger but with Final Fantasy X-2, a sequel to the then-recently-released Final Fantasy X. However, Square Enix is now releasing cell phone-based sequels to games originally released 18 years ago. NOW they’re releasing these fucking things incrementally so you can enjoy the thrill of paying for each section and waiting for the next section to be released. Some of the sequels, like PS2’s FFVII: Dirge of Cerberus have been very poor efforts, too.
Did anyone really need an overpriced castle-defense game with FF archetypes slapped into it on WiiWare? And a FF fighting is just silly. Square’s Mana series has fared much worse, first with a boring dungeon crawler and then a very poorly-received strategy game, both on DS. The biggest insult was Dawn of Mana, supposedly the first ‘main’ entry in the series since the SNES’s Seiken Densetsu 3. Unfortunately, the consumer has trained publishers that they will buy anything as long as their stupid beloved franchise characters are thrown in.
The Peoplez rest . . . for now.
-Matthew Bert Goode
Editorz note: The writer of this article is actually interested in some of the sequels to old FF games but he is not interested in playing Super Final Fantasy Bros.