Square-Enix is learning it.

#1 Posted by zhinse (164 posts) -

Does anyone agree that Square Enix is up there next to Capcom when it comes to evolving japanese game design and evolving with the tastes of the world?

My example. All they make are RPGs nowadays and i think that's fine. It's because of them its my favorite Genre. But the example games are The World Ends With You (although this is a Jupiter Developed game.. ), Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, and yes, i know you all dread this game, Final Fantasy XII. 

So what about these games that prove that square is evolving. It's because they're all so god damn flexible. They're not afraid to muck with the JRPG formula. They notice that everyone plays a game differently and they allow them to play it how they like, without penalizing them. TWEWY for example will control the top character for you, and it usually does it pretty well, you can also increase the difficulty of the game, or make it as easy as you want to. They've also noticed some of the less than stellar things of the genre, such as grinding and attempted to fix them. Crisis' Core DMW wheel was quite random, but it did the grinding for you while all you needed to do was concentrate on the fun stuff which was going through the story, equipping your character and all that nice-ness. 

And while they're mucking with JRPG formula (there isn't one really). They're also catering to fans of the old RPGs constantly with new releases and releases, the dragon quest series, Tri-ace being their right hand studio?  

Does anyone agree with me? I think there was a period in time in the last Generation of Consoles where Square was kind of stuck, but even though they haven't really released much current-Gen console games besides project slypheed and Infinate Undiscovery, they're continuing to evolve.
#2 Posted by Demyx (3237 posts) -

Haven't played many Square games, but I would kinda agree with you. But I did like FFXII for the most part.

#3 Edited by dankempster (2254 posts) -

In my opinion Square Enix has been pushing the JRPG template in new directions for some time. Back when Square and Enix were separate companies, they pretty much defined that template between them with the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy franchises. It's only right that they continue to experiment with it and try to improve upon it. Notable examples besides the ones you've mentioned would be Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy Tactics. Both feature gameplay changes that were by no means conventional in the JRPG field at the time, but were praised and accepted. More recently, we've seen the examples you cited, which have had a similar effect. I think it's great for the genre that they're constantly seeking to innovate, and while it doesn't always pay off, it's all part of a greater learning process that will inevitably shape the JRPGs of the future and our attitudes towards them. Nice write-up, zhinse.

#4 Posted by suneku (2997 posts) -

I agree, Square's been doing these types of things to their games since the PS1. They probably already know they're the shit when it comes to RPGs so they aren't afraid to try something new.

#5 Posted by atejas (3057 posts) -

I'm just glad they're breaking free of the Final Fnatasy syndrome, for a while, looked like the only Squeenix games to look forward to were FFs

#6 Posted by zhinse (164 posts) -

Isn't it Monumental when it comes time for a new release in the FF Series or the Dragon Quest series though? 

#7 Posted by Dalai (7069 posts) -

They've got their craft down, that's for sure.  Too bad I can't stand most JRPGs.

#8 Posted by m1k3 (1338 posts) -

Square has been doing it  forever since the days of Squaresoft and Final Fantasy

#9 Edited by Metasin (219 posts) -

Okay I'm going to preface this by saying I do like Square Enix. I find them to be more evolutionary than revolutionary. They have brought the genre forward, not in leaps and bounds but in baby steps. Tactics was awesome but that was two gens ago and has arguably taken a few steps backwards since. The main FF games have undergone incrimental changes for over a decade and not always for the better.

I will say that they know their fan-base, which is a rabid one. They know they can re-release old games with a little bit of polish and that they can milk FF7 till all the people who liked it have alzheimers and can no longer remember it. They know they have got the formula that certain people will always buy, and they use it a LOT. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, and speaks volumes about the Japanese market (see EGM with the soul calibur 4 cover). I mean TWEWY was one of the most original games I've seen recently and was SO centered on Tokyo culture but flopped horribly in Japan.

So to sum up, yes they make good games, but I don't really feel they are pushing anything forward that dramtically. As for Capcom? all their recent success can be attributed to making more 'western' styled games. Which makes sense because thats where the money is in gaming right now.

Now you want to see revolutionary Japanese design look at Grasshopper.

#10 Posted by AuthenticM (3802 posts) -

I love Square Enix. I really hope they snatch up some other developpers.

#11 Posted by Disgaeamad (1342 posts) -

Square Enix aren't afraid to try a new formula from time to time as they're pretty much safe if the game bombs, unlike many other companies which can go bankrupt when one game doesn't do well. I'm pretty sure this is why they milk their older and more popular series at first, and then follow it up with a couple of new games that try out new formulas and the like, as they'll have plenty of money to fall back on, which has been made from their remakes and the like.

I believe that this is the reason that they haven't remade Final Fantasy VII yet. They're probably waiting until they come up with an idea which could either be a great success or a massive failure, after which they would announce the FFVII remake, which would secure a great deal of money for them, meaning there's no worries if the aforementioned game bombs or not.

#12 Posted by zidane33 (83 posts) -

look at ffxii, how they changed the combat from the standard turn based system to the ADB with final fantasy  i find that amazing, now look at any successful western developer like blizzard or bungie can they change such a huge thing in their games?? no they can't because they can't tamper with the formula that gets them the $$$

#13 Posted by zhinse (164 posts) -

Seriously. Final Fantasy XII was just like the most controversial thing they ever put out. To a lot of people, it fucked up the 'final fantasy formula' but to me it represented the flexibility and willingness to evolve. Even Dragon Quest, which has always been be uptight the same damn game it has been forever, found a way to innovate without changing the game design or gameplay in DQVIII ( Level 5 Developed). They made the World Map into something living and breathing. They balanced and actually took out spells to have tighter strategy. 

#14 Posted by Disgaeamad (1342 posts) -

I love how a large percentage of the people that complained about Final Fantasy XII's Active Dimension Battle are the same people who wanted to see new stuff in a Final Fantasy game. I think it was a great feature, and made the game feel like actual adventure.

#15 Posted by KingBroly (1645 posts) -

Uh...no.  Square doesn't do different genres.  That's their problem.

#16 Posted by zhinse (164 posts) -

I wonder why they only make RPG's. 

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