Nobody could match the popularity of SquareSoft in the 1990s. Nintendo’s 16-bit classics often find themselves at odds going toe-to-toe with Square’s SNES masterpieces, and their weight was obviously felt when they shifted loyalty to Sony and trounced the Nintendo 64. Between refining old series and constantly throwing out new ones, the company held an air that nothing could bring them down.
So what happened? The RPG giant merged with its long time rival Enix to form Square Enix, and over the course of the decade, the company just seemed to lose touch with what their old fans wanted. Final Fantasy dried up, the Mana and Star Ocean series were hit with a few bad releases. New IPs were few and far between, and even then could barely match the intensity of Square’s heyday classics.
And apparently it has shown in the stock market, too, as Square Enix has just posted a net loss over the last fiscal half. In response, former Square executive Hisashi Suzuki has blasted the merger as a “complete failure” over Twitter. Now at SEGA, the director cites a failure to increase stock value since the merger, expensive production costs, and “no vision for the future” as his reasons to lashing out at his former employer.
After a decade of kind of agreeing with this guy, it’s a wonder why it has taken someone higher up to finally acknowledge that maybe this whole Square Enix idea wasn’t the best idea after all. It dried up competition in the JRPG marketplace and seemingly doomed the entire genre. Luckily, spry little companies like Atlus and Level 5 have upped their game and given a small needed boost, but its hardly the powerhouse we knew in the 1990s.
Any other old timer SquareSoft fans feel this guy’s pain? The World Ends With You aside, will we ever seen Square Enix making games like Brave Fencer Musashi, Parasite Eve, and Vagrant Story again? Or is leaning on Eidos really their “vision for the future?”