I kind of like this new post thread, as it’s been leading to some interesting conversations with all of you.

I have a terrible confession to make: I never got into Chrono Trigger back in the day.

Now before you cry “Heretic” and raise pitchforks in my direction, I was always a Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star sort of person, and I was getting ready for Playstation, so there’s my reason why. But I did love Squaresoft’s RPGs. Final Fantasy VI (our III) was incredible, and I thought Super Mario RPG was wonderful. The games that the first Playstation brought out were equally great, from the FF VII-IX, Parasite Eve, Chrono Cross…. And with Playstation 2, the mere thought of Kingdom Hearts was too much to truly comprehend at the time (The first Kingdom Hearts was actually the last Squaresoft game, by the way).

I loved Square so much, that I am likely one of the few who actually liked Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and the merging of Square-Enix seemed like another dream come true (even though it was mostly done to save Square when The Spirits Within flopped as much as it did).

But initially, I was a little surprised when I read that Square-Enix was in as bad of financial straits as they currently are.

Looking back, I can understand why.

These days, it’s not even so much Square-Enix anymore. It’s more Square-Enix-Taito-Eidos. In that regard, that stands for a ton of franchises. Square’s best work seems to be more on the portable front. The DS’s The World Ends With You, and Space Invaders Extreme were excellent. We finally saw the third Final Fantasy, and a revamped Part 4, not to mention Enix’s contributions in the Dragon Quest category. I’d even go as far to say that Square-Enix is easily the most supportive of all third-parties when it comes to the PSP.

But there’s also a lot of things that don’t make sense. The company makes so many sequels of its sequels that it’s becoming messy in trying to keep up on what’s the real story to the game anymore, or if the “main” entry still matters. Each installment of the Final Fantasy series used to be its own story. Now each installment have become its own franchise, so the numbers don’t really mean anything anymore. Final Fantasy 13 is closer to Final Fantasy 30 at this point. I used to miss the characters once a story ended, but each game always had common elements to tie them together and make them familiar. How many sequels is XIII getting again? Or XII? Or X? Or VII? Or IV? You get the point.

I can’t truly understand how Square-Enix has gotten to the level of clutter that it has. There’s no reason to, and yet it partially makes sense. They release their older titles over and over for every single platform now, yet they refuse to redo the one game that there have been years worth of fan requests for: Final Fantasy VII, the title that simultaneously made and broke Square. The company has refused to make a sequel to Chrono Trigger, their other hugely beloved game. Kingdom Hearts has been diluted with numerous spin-offs, although they won’t commit to a Part 3 at any point in the near (or any) future. Seriously, how many times can you approach the events of the first game from a different angle? And who knows if Dragon Quest X is actually going to come out for the Wii as promised two years ago?

There’s also Secret of Mana, Actraiser, Einhander, Bushido Blade, Rad Racer…. What happened to those titles? They still currently team up with Nintendo for portable sports games, but can’t do another Mario RPG?

And what of Taito and Eidos? Taito, with games like Qix, Bubble Bobble, Rastan, and Space Invaders, have a rich history of arcade style games that could only help to diversify the company’s portfolio. Eidos is known for Tomb Raider, but Eidos also absorbed Crystal Dynamics, which owned titles like Gex, Pandemonium, and Legacy of Kain. A Gothic vampire RPG from a company that near exclusively specializes in RPGS? Why… How would they not capitalize on this?

It’s obvious that the company’s “Big Three” are Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts. Four if they can ever sort out Tomb Raider, and what to do with it. The biggest problems seem to stem from the fact that they’ve diluted the Final Fantasy brand with the sheer amount of releases and spin-off sequels to their sequels. And it’s clear that they are not listening to their fanbase. I’ve read way too many forums and message boards to know that a remade Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts 3, and a Chrono Trigger sequel would solve a LOT of their current financial woes, not 85 sequels to Final Fantasy XIII, or already hard at work on Final Fantasy 26, or whatever.

And yes, their past accomplishments are indeed beloved. They are still wonderful gaming experiences, full of great and compelling characters with complex and heroic personalities, beautiful artwork, sweeping musical scores, and heartfelt and engaging stories. My playthrough of Chrono Trigger is reminding me of the technical marvels that they did on the SNES.

But these titles need to be put to rest, no longer hyped as “the next big thing”, when we’ve already seen it 15 years ago. It’s time to make new classics and memories, Square. Quit riding the old nostalgia wave, and give us new things to fall in love with.

I’d hate to lose Square-Enix. I’ve built far too many memories with them to see them disappear into the night, but until they quit milking franchises to death and stop ignoring the requests from their consumer base, I don’t know what will become of them. In any case, their best work these days seems to be on the portable systems, and at least you can see some sparks of originality or the ability to count to the next number there.

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