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The RPG Sanctum - #3: The Relevancy of Square Enix

RosestormRosestorm Full Members
edited February 2011 in Latest Updates
The RPG Sanctum #3: The Relevance of Square Enix
Is SE still relevant in today's gaming world? Does it still make the best that JRPGs have to offer? Our panelists will traverse a sea of remakes and failed titles to bring you the answer.
Guests: David McBurney (fbm), Alex Reimer (Clix), Alex Fuller (Severinmira), Sarah McGarr (Noodle)
Date: Wednesday February 16, 2011 10pm US Eastern Time

Be sure to leave feedback and leave reviews on itunes.


We went with a new format this time around with no music interludes, please tell me whether you guys this one or the older format.
-A lie would be considered the truth if only more people believed it.


  • moenkimoenki New Member Full Members
    edited February 2011
    Whatever happened to RPGs, and Final Fantasy in particular, not making a whole lot of sense and being kind of goofy? I'm starting to like FFV more and more...
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited February 2011
    You know, for me personally, Square Enix hasn't been a relevant in my RPG endeavors. I stopped playing the series officially after FFX which did not enjoy one bit, and realized that perhaps I had grown up and Final Fantasy hadn't grown up with me. That being said, I got a copy of FFXIII as a gift, and while I don't like it or hate it, it has left a feeling of indifference as a whole for me. I find as a developer, especially in these last few years they've just been all over the place, creating some really disjointed games plot-wise. FFXIII's story for me right now feels like a giant LOLfest (keep in mind, I'm only in chapter 5), and I find it somewhat disappointing considering story use to be very key for older Square games. I don't know if I'm alone here, but I just cannot get hyped or even show a smidgen of care for SE titles. Heck, I use to get excited over tri-Ace games and now I can't even do that since the last few I played were crap.

    That being said, I'm happy with the publishing route they've gone, and I'm very excited to see how Deux Ex: Human Revolution is going to be like once it's completed. We'll see how things go in the coming months but I wish SE would create a new IP that doesn't have the name Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts plastered on it seeing as I'm not a fan of either.

    Good discussion this week! I had a lot of fun listening to this episode!
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited February 2011
    Yeah, I treat Square Enix like any other game company. Does individual game x appeal to me? Okay, I'll give it a whirl. But then, I didn't grow up console gaming, so I don't have that nostalgia factor for early Final Fantasy games going for me. I've liked FFs 9 and 12-13 and I've loved the last two Dragon Quests, so I'm a pretty happy Squeenix customer. I think it helps not to have super-high expectations. Without a deep attachment to the company or its main series, I think I enjoy its games more than a lot of long-term fans, because I wasn't hoping the game would be better than it turned out to be. :)
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited February 2011
    I also treat them like any other company. I am enjoying their past games I missed out on, and I dearly hope for a The World Ends With You 2 (You, too?).
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • HJ+HJ+ Banned Banned Users
    edited February 2011
    I don't mind Squeenix. Sure, most of their new games range from below average to horrible, but there's a few great ones too (BBS for example, inb4 haters).

    The remakes though, are almost always excellent, and there are a lot of old Square (and Enix) games I never got to play, so while some may think they should stop churning out so many remakes, I love it. Dragon Quest 4-6 are all great games that I first experienced and really enjoyed on the DS, and recently I've been playing the Tactics Ogre remake and loving the crap out of it. So yeah, they can keep on doing their thing as far as I'm concerned. I don't follow them blindly and hype every title they release just because it's Squeenix though, that would be dumb.

    Speaking of remakes, where's the Soul Blazer trilogy remake at?
  • SpartakusSpartakus One Knight Stand Full Members
    edited February 2011
    Their relevance (relevancy?) can hardly be disputed. Even if you absolutely hate them they are the most influential JRPG company.

    I'm as big a S-E fan as I've always been. They got me into JRPGs with VII, then I went back and enjoyed IV and VI a great deal, and I've been going strong ever since. I've been unhappy with some of the spin-offs, like Dirge of Cerberus, and only mildly enjoyed some of the others, like Crisis Core, but the FF flagship titles and the KH franchise go a long way for me. Even the fanrage games like XII and XIII sat really well with me, as I felt their innovations came at just the right time and as a natural development of the franchise when old school turnbased RPGs were becoming increasingly niche.
  • NightfoxNightfox Member Berkeley, CAFull Members
    edited February 2011
    Square-Enix no longer holds the same clout it used to for me either. Back in the before days, Squaresoft was always the company releasing the most polished, deepest games with tons of hidden content and little details at every corner, especially compared to any competition at the time. It was always exciting waiting for the next game, because it felt like those games could be replayed over and over again for quite some time and still see something new.

    The recent decade has seen less and less of this quality from them, as their titles become focused with less interesting (or any!) side-content and further take themselves too seriously. To counter their overly serious/dramatic tone, I know there's the smallest bit of humor in every game but I never get that sense of warmth and well-roundedness of the game worlds anymore that makes me enjoy "visiting" them with each release. I think that's why I like the disappearing RPG cliche of teenagers saving the world, because youth is supposed to be full of mystery and hope. As titles have more mature casts you never get that feeling anymore, it's always closed-in worlds and societies of utter despair from the outset. I guess I just can't relate to that content as much. I know that the older Squaresoft titles had serious, powerful stories, but it hit home more because you had time to like the world before it (or your characters) got kicked to the curb.

    Of course, that's just me. I think it just comes down to the fact that I play RPGs for all the little nuances packed into their worlds, not the pretty-looking characters, which S-E has almost entirely focused on in their console releases.
    http://www.shadowdawngenesis.com - follow progress on the upcoming RPG series Shadowdawn on Xbox Live Indie Games and PC (and wherever else we can take it)
  • chaoticprimechaoticprime Member Full Members
    edited February 2011
    I have been playing console RPG's since 1989 starting with Dragon Warrior. I have since played through the majority of them released on every console or hand held. I never held Square in any esteem higher than any other company that made RPG's. On the NES the best RPG was Dragon Warrior III; on the SNES it was Lufia II; on the PSX it was Breath of Fire IV; on the PS2 it was Shadow Hearts (all in my in opinion). Square has made some damn good games, but when it comes down to it, I care for game play more than anything else. I like long hours of exploring, I like doing stuff, I like base romantic storylines. I never once thought, while playing Final Fantasy on the NES, that the game could be greatly improved by the addition of intense melodrama and a vocal theme song sang by Debbie Gibson. I like a story done well, but find that they are not necessary. I mean, if I want a good plot, I'll read a book.

    I believe that Square Enix's new policy is of style without substance; this is evident by their remaking their old titles with better graphics. They do indeed make some changes to gameplay--often to make the games easier, however. Their new titles are principally story segments with gameplay only inserted just long enough to validate more story. Kingdom Hearts II, to me, was a nightmare. Ten minutes of dungeon and then a fifteen minute boss fight. That is no way to make a game. The TRON level made me sick to me brain. Final Fantasy XIII's characters, to me, seemed to be each the avatar of a social trend deployed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. From a business perspective that is fine--but do not take a whizz on my back and call it rain.

    I am not a fan of the mentality that RPG's need to change from their classic formula to still be interesting. If they do that, they will no longer be RPGs. How has baseball significantly changed since its inception? I enjoy games like Dragon Age, those with as much time talking than fighting/exploring, but not so much as those where I could really care less about what motivates the characters. I simply do not care about what the Prince of Cannock's favorite color is.

    Ultimately I think that what is going on with Square Enix is that they are imitating imitations. Final Fantasy was heavily, heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, which was before inspired by Tolkein, Howard, Vance, & Leiber, which was before inspired by mythology (particularly Der Ring Des Nibelung, The Ulster Cycle, & The Matters of France, Britain, and Rome). Final Fantasy served to inspire the fantasy game makers of the west, and now Square Enix is imitating itself. Rob Kuntz, one of the original writers of DnD, conceived the idea of using the name Paladin (a knight of Charlemagne) as class advancement for a fighting man in original DnD. Since then, it has evolved into something scarcely similar to its roots. From its use in console RPGs such as Final Fantasy II(IV) it has been imitated in western RPGs as such and now in the actual DnD game is more like its video game facsimile than its source in the very same game published in 1974.

    I can say this, though, I am happy with all their good games they have made thus--they could vanish tomorrow and I would think fondly of them, not knowing of their future mishaps and triumphs. I can say that I hope they never make a Vagrant Story 2, though. I think you all know why.
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