Thursday, June 14, 2012

Square-Enix Peg in a Round Hole World...

After paying little to no attention to the happenings at the E3 convention (as per usual), I am just now catching up with some of the goings on with my former favorite video game company, Square-Enix.

There is much shared history between S-E and myself; together, we had a relationship that spanned almost three decades.  It has become apparent, however, that the time has come for me to bid farewell to them on a sour note...which is ironic, considering their next "major" release is Final Fantasy Theatrhythm, a lame ass rhythm game featuring music from their once glorious past for the Nintendo 3DS.

Some of my best memories from childhood involve Squaresoft games, before I even knew that a single company was responsible for my favorite games.  I would rent Final Fantasy for the NES from the local video store, Video Madness, nearly every weekend just to start back where I left off (assuming someone hadn't replaced my save file).  When I finally purchased the game, I would take it everywhere I went.  Family beach trips were spent indoors with the tinny 8-bit music filling our condo while the rest of the family were outside on the sand and in the Atlantic.  As they enjoyed the waves pounding against the coastline, I was traveling by boat from one port to the next to fulfill my quest to save the world from Chaos.

As I got older, my love of Final Fantasy grew with the platforms; from Final Fantasy Legend on Gameboy, to Final Fantasy II (which they never told us was actually IV) on the SNES, the Final Fantasy series of games grew up, it seemed, alongside me.  When I entered high school, Final Fantasy VII and VIII introduced the novel concept that characters used vulgar language, blood was actually red, characters got drunk off of alcohol as opposed to milk or soda, and, surprisingly enough, some characters who inhabit the worlds of Final Fantasy were gay.

Sure, they were gay at a bathhouse in a slum, participated in a very confusing exercise-based gangbang, and then dragged a barely unwilling Cloud into a sauna to relax the muscles...all so he could gain access to the "best" pair of underwear to dress up like the most attractive female he could be......

Actually, now that I look back on that, this scene was pretty transformational, for me, at the time when I was just coming out in high school.

I digress.

Square-Enix was once a transformational company, constantly pushing the boundaries of RPGs to new heights, and fundamentally redefining for an entire generation of gamers what it meant to play a Role Playing Game.

And then came the ability to have realistic graphics.

With the release of the PS2, their landmark series, Final Fantasy, suddenly shifted from a series that was more about the story to one that was more about the graphics.  Square-Enix went from releasing a new main-series Final Fantasy game once every 1-4 years, to suddenly having six-year release schedules.  They instead focused on releasing spinoffs, remakes, ports, and a slew of Final Fantasy VII drivel that just needed to stop.

At this year's E3, Square-Enix unveiled their Luminous game engine with a tech demo that featured a fake Final Fantasy game, and of course the tech geeks lost their fucking minds.  What's sad is that they didn't actually present anything worth buying.

Instead of localizing the series that it bought when they enveloped Enix, Dragon Quest, they continue to release the games only in Japan, despite the cries from their Western fans.  They went even further to ruin the series by making the latest iteration of the game, number ten in the series, an online game.  Awesome.  So, you've taken the last bastion of the classic JRPG and turned it into an online nightmare?      Great.

Unfortunately, gone are the days of the good JRPG from Square-Enix, and instead, we're left with gaming travesties like Final Fantasy XIIII and XIII-2.  

The moral of the story is this:

RPG fans don't want better graphics; they just want better games.

No comments:

Post a Comment