Alex Wollenschlaeger - August 18, 2001- 5:00 Eastern Standard Time|
I finished reading Ed Brubaker's Dead Enders today, and it was one hell of a ride. If you're into comics at all, or are interested in seeing how comics have progressed since the days of spandex-clad, chiseled heroes you should give it a try.
I mention comics, because, as I was discussing with someone in #edscorner recently, games and comics parallel one another, to a certain extent. The most glaring flaw inherent in both media is a lack of vision, that something that will allow creators to better utilize the canvas with which they are presented. The comics industry has highly talented folk like Brian Bendis and Garth Ennis to lead the art form into the next century. Who's going to do it for games?
Interesting topic, If I do say so myself... Well, OK, I'll admit here that
I'm not the best gamer around, (but some people think that) but I am halfway
decent. I've played enough Square games to know about them. and, IMHO, Square
is going to hell in a handbasket. Sure, they make decent games, and a few
REALLY good ones, (though I can name any right now, since I haven't played
Xenogears...) but I'm talking financially. Think FF:TSW. Sure, Iím basing my opinions off
of one movie, but still, that movie was ... not-so-good. Well, that's all.
Oddly enough, I still like Square...wonder why....
Financially, its no secret that Square has dug itself a bit of a hole,
but, being the optimist that I am, I can see it getting out of it quite easily.
The recent movie set the company back $130 million, and only brought in
about $32 million, so its safe to assume that it needs a couple of blockbuster
games reasonably soon. It's for this reason that I don't foresee Square
straying too far away from its successful formula, at least not right now.
Also, its important to keep in mind that a lot of the graphical tools that
were created for the movie are going to be applied to its upcoming games.
Then there is also the home market to consider. Square is packing the upcoming
DVD with a ton of extras (including the most bizarre thing I've seen in a while;
the "actors" recreating Michael Jackson's Thriller video), something
that can only sweeten the deal for the target audience, which is already
inclined to purchase the disc. And remember, the movie hasn't even opened in Japan
yet, and since that market seems more inclined to go for some of the "mumbo-jumbo"
contained in the film, it will more than likely be at least reasonably successful over there.
I think that Square will be fine, and the gargantuan sales of Final Fantasy X in
Japan back me up.
Let's Blame the Lightman
I think Square isn't as good as everyone thinks, simply because too much is
expected of them. It seems when people buy a Square game, they expect a
life-changing ordeal that will consume weeks of their time. I think Square
has this high level of expectation because of the Final Fantasy games.
Personally, I think of Square as just another company.
There are two sides to this coin. I definitely think that there are a
lot of people that expect way too much from Square. Then when it doesn't
deliver the gaming epiphany that they were expecting, they stink up message boards
across the net with their bile. But you have to admit that there is also a
substantial crowd that will give Square a lot of leeway when it comes
to the quality of its games, and will let annoying facets slide easier for
Square than they would for some other company. I don't think that either approach
is right, and, at the risk of sounding ridiculously idealistic, I think that all
games, whether they're developed by Square or 3DO, should be judged based on
their merits alone.
First Rule Is
Hey Dagon, can I call you "Dag"? ;-)
Anyway, you bring up an interesting point about Square coasting. I think
they've been coasting since moving to the PSX, but I'll get to that in a minute.
First a question, then a comment.
With Enix saying that they'll be bringing DW4 to the PSX instead of the GBA
which most everyone had anticipated, do you think that this puts the kibosh on a
GBA port of the title in the near future? I still believe that there will be a
portable version eventually.
Just so you know, I was reading quite a bit about Suikoden over the last
couple of weeks in the Q&A section, so I decided to pick it up. I found it
for $15 on the bargain rack at Zellers, WOO-HOO! Yes I said Zellers, hence I'm
Canadian. After taxes and the exchange rate, that's around $11 American.
Now getting to Square, I find that they have been resting on their previous
success, why do I say this? Because last week I just finished Final Fantasy IX,
which is so far the ONLY Square game on the PSX I've finished. Not FF7, FF8,
FFT, Chrono Cross, nor Legend of Mana (That was a waste of money.) That's right,
Final Fantasy IX, the game that was trying to go back to the series roots, was
the only game they made in the last five years that interested me enough to
stick with it to the end.
On the SNES, I couldn't put their games down. When I started FF2, FF3, Chrono
Trigger, Secret of Mana and even Secret of Evermore (I enjoyed it) I couldn't
stop until I finished them, even now I find myself going back to play them
again. But I can barely stand the latter PSX games. I don't know what's happened
to Square, perhaps they've gone more "mainstream", perhaps it's just
the movement of time changing the company as old employees leave and new ones
join. It could be me, but then again, I have finished other RPGs in the last few
years: Star Ocean 2, Tactics Ogre, Skies of Arcadia, Grandia 2, Dragon Warrior 1
& 2, Dragon Warrior 3, Summoner, Ogre Battle 64, Aidyn Chronicles, Pokemon
(All versions except Crystal), and even if some don't consider them RPGs--The
Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Seasons.
I really think that Square is losing it, perhaps they should develop for
Nintendo again and try to get some of their magic back.
P.S: Tell Kahgani that putting lettuce on your head is unsanitary and should
only be done by expert comedians like the old Kids in the Hall crew.
As long as Enix and Nintendo remain on amicable terms, I see no reason why Dragon Warrior 4
shouldn't arrive on the Game Boy Advance. I don't know enough of the specifics of the
publishing deals that were set up to get the game on the PSX to say for sure.
As for Zellers, that is occasionally a good place to buy games. I
picked up both Suikoden and Vanguard Bandits there for $15 CDN each, and they were well
I think that Square, on the whole, has been doing an admirable job of late. It's all too easy
to ignore the rest of the games that the company has put out in the last three years and focus
only on the Final Fantasys. While I have enjoyed the recent installments in
Square's flagship series, I admire the fact that the company has tried out different things
in their other series. For every random f#$%ing encounter I have to sit through in a Final
Fantasy, there is the oh-so-convenient post-battle healing feature in Chrono Cross, or complex
micromanagement and strategy system in Vagrant Story. That's a fair trade-off in my book.
I personally think that square usually pulls through with good games,
however sometimes people assume that a game made by Square is good and
buy it even when it sucks (Secret of Evermore and the Parasite Eve
games...blech). Luckily it will also produce great games that people
play years after it comes out. The success of the re-released games shows
this. I also think that Square is realising that a lot of people want
old-style games. The only real problem I see in the future is the
Xenogears team going to MonolithSoft, and the FF Tactics team going to
whoever is making Hoshigami.
I touched on the "Square-heads" in a previous reply. The fact that
someone would willingly plunk down a wad of hard-earned cash for a game simply
because a specific company developed it is something that I can't fathom. There are
so many people that work at Squaresoft now, and so many that have left the company,
that the days of assuming that everything they touch will be gold are long gone.
I don't think that the success of the recent re-releases has all that much to do
with a sudden desire for old-school games. I am more inclined to think that the collections
are selling well because of people who used to have them are picking them up again,
and also just people checking to see what all the fuss has been about if they missed
the games the first time around.
Letter from the Scallop Boat
Personally, I love Square. I think they are an
amazing company and do great work. My only complaint
is that THEY TRY TOO FRICKIN HARD. I mean, give us a
break! I was actually happy when I found out
the US wouldn't see a Final Fantasy title in 2001. I
think if they gave us a little bit more time in
between games they would sell even better than they
As for Final Fantasy: TSW, I'm kind of glad it
performed the way it did. Now Square knows for sure
that its niche is in the gaming industry, and it
should stay there.
The lack of RPGs over the last couple of months is something that I am relishing. Square
really went overboard last year and released way too many titles for me to keep up with.
Now is the ideal time to check out some of the games that you might have overlooked.
And I don't just mean Square games.
You seem to be taking a pretty harsh stance as far as the movie is concerned. Sort of like
a parent letting a child learn about fire by letting him get third degree burns on his hands.
I had high hopes for the movie, and I'm frankly dumbstruck by how poorly it's doing. The success
of the movie would have had positive repercussions in the game industry, even if it was only more
exposure for RPGs. More exposure means more sales, which means more companies wanting a piece
of the pie, and that would (ideally) lead to something that is needed in this genre,
Hate Love Songs
I say Square should get some nice, healthy competition from Enix. Think
about it: Quake has Unreal (and Halflife), Mario has Sonic (er, had),
Command & Conquer has Warcraft/Starcraft, Resident Evil has Alone in the
Dark, etc etc etc...
Competition between two brands who both do a good job at the same thing
always turns out interesting. It'd be nice to get some Final Fantasy vs.
Dragon Warrior arguments going.
"What IS your major malfunction?!?" -Siege Tank Commander
Yep, as I stated in the previous response, competition is one component
that is sorely missing. While there are a few companies publishing
RPGs at the moment, there is no real sense of rivalry between them. I would
assume that its because the Final Fantasy series has been present consistently for so long,
and for a lot of people it has almost become synonymous with the term RPG. I am glad to see
that companies like Konami and Enix are starting to give Square
a run for their buck. Enix's momentum took a serious blow with the constant
delays for Dragon Warrior 7, but they seem to be ready to jump back into the pool.
Konami's Suikoden series is one that by all accounts should be able to compete as
well, though it seems to have been getting the short end of the stick up until
now. Maybe, with the release of Suikoden 3 for the PS2, the series will get
the attention that it deserves.
The Private Pain of Techno Destructo
D&D rocks the casbah. Surely you've heard both of the Dr. Demento
parodies about the most righteous game, ne? I'm more a of a Shadowrunner,
About Square, I remember playing my first Square game EVER, back
on the good old NES. King's Night was a fun game, before I picked up some old
school RPG's. Final Fantasy, another Square gem, was great too. I love the
Dragon Warrior/Quest series, but I opted for Final Fantasys because they took
the next step over here in America. If Dragon Quest games had been developed for
our SNES, N64, PSX, or even Dreamcast market, I'd switch back to Enix in a
heartbeat. But Square is almost the Microsoft of console RPG's, so I take what I
can get. I DO wish they'd wait a little longer to hammer out the kinks before
releasing games. I would LOVE to see an actual Final Fantasy sequel. It would be
awesome to see how the characters from Final Fantasy 6 got reinvolved in a plot
that would slowly bleed into EARLY FF7...... But I am but a humble gamer.
Long live Pen-and-Paper RPG's, Shadowrun and D&D rule! I'm attacking the
IceDingo, Dark Elf Thief, Dwarven Rigger
Pen and Paper RPGs are something that I have never been able to get into. The idea is
intriguing, but, unfortunately, I never had that many friends that shared my interests. The
"closest" I ever got was those old Joe Dever Lone Wolf choose-your-adventure books,
although those were pretty cool themselves.
The issue of Final Fantasy sequels is something that I see brought up quite often. The only way
that I can see it happening is if Square drastically changes the design of its games. Since each
one is created as a stand-alone entity, continuing the story isn't always an option. Seriously, after
the hero has saved the day and gotten the girl, what else is there for him to do? I can completely
understand loving the characters and locations, and wanting to see that explored further,
but that is why replay value is important.