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Author Topic: How did a company like Level-5 land DQ VIII?  (Read 5324 times)
phan1
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« on: March 13, 2006, 03:06:13 PM »

I don't get it.  Level-5 is a company that is known for the mediocre-popular Dark Cloud series.  How do they end up working on Square-Enix's Dragon Quest series?  From what I know, the Dark Cloud series is published by Sony.  Wouldn't Square Enix have it's own internal developers to make DQVIII?  Wouldn't that be like having Konami making a FF game for Square-Enix?

I'm probably just not getting it.  Could someone elaborate on this for me?
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phan1
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2006, 03:09:03 PM »

Oh yeah, How is Grandia 3 a Square-Enix game?  Doesn't GameArts make the Grandia series?  How is a GameArts franchise a part of Square-Enix?
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daschrier
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2006, 03:18:57 PM »

Game arts developed it and SE published it. They don't have to be related, but SE probably had the money to publish it and Gamearts didn't. As for Level 5, no idea. I think it was more the graphical style that they accomplished in Dark Cloud 2 that got them the job.
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Eusis
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2006, 03:59:45 PM »

First of all, double posting is considered a bad idea, and you could've easily edited that. Good idea to do anyway if you want the mods to not get on your ass. :P

Secondly, Level 5 isn't owned by SCEA; they were going to develop an MMO for Microsoft as well, though that wound up being canned. Not like Enix prior to the merger really had much in the way of internal developers, IIRC it was more that they were a good publisher. Pretty sure the recent DQs, maybe even all of them past the first few, weren't developed in house by Enix.

As for Game Arts, I think Enix owns a partial stake in them. They did publish Grandia Xtreme afterall. Logically, Square Enix would publish the next game in the series.
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Losfer
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2006, 04:06:39 PM »

Hey guys, Working Designs made Lunar.
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Professor Gast
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2006, 04:27:07 PM »

May be because Level 5 has proven that they can work with the PlayStation 2 hardware and come up with decent looking games :P. Square Enix looked at various Japanese development studios and eventually picked Level 5 which in retrospect was a smart decision. Besides, the game design, scenario, character design and music was done by Horii, Toriyama and Sugiyama anyways, so Level 5 was just executing the actual development. And since we are already at it, you might as well do me the favor and tell me an external development studio in Japan that would have been better suited for the job.

Second, Enix (unlike Square) has always relied on the outsourcing of game development (to Chun Soft, Heartbeat, Arte Piazza, tri-Ace, Racjin or in this case Level 5), because it did not have a lot of staff, in particular not development staff (unlike Square). As far as the internal development teams of Square Enix (the former Square) are concerned, they are busy enough to work on Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, SaGa, Front Mission, Seiken Densetsu, Hanjuku Hero and what not.

And yes, Enix acquired a stake in GameArts some time ago. Granted GameArts is now a consolidated subsidiary of GungHo Online Entertainment, but Enix has had an agreement with GameArts in place under which the company published the PlayStation 2 port of Grandia II and Grandia Xtreme. Hence it was only logical for them to pick Square Enix as publisher of Grandia III.
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John
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2006, 06:31:35 PM »

Okay, first, thanks for reading the rules, especially the part about multiple posts!

Oh, wait, you didn't.

Second, let me explain the difference between a publisher and a developer for you.  A publisher generally puts up the cash for development and goes through all of the issues in regards to advertising, etc.  A developer creates a game.  Sometimes developers are publishers, and sometimes publishers are developers.  It doesn't always happen that way.  Some developers create their game, and then hunt for a publisher.  These are generally larger studios (BioWare and Pandemic do this).  Some developers rely on finding a publisher first so that they'll have funding during development.  These developers are often partially owned by the publisher.

Square Enix is both a publisher and a developer.  Many of their games are developed in-house (Final Fantasy XII, Romancing SaGa), while others are created by outside studios (Radiata Stories, Drakengard 2, Dragon Quest VIII).  Many of the publishers in America are simply that - publishers.  While Agetec has programmers on hand for issues that come up during localization, there are no 'Agetec' games.  Some developers do not publish their own work - BioWare is one of these developers.  Their Baldur's Gate titles were published by Interplay, while Knights of the Old Republic was published by LucasArts, and most recently, Jade Empire was published by Microsoft Game Studios.

Some developers are fully or partially owned by publishers.  Enix had a 12% stake in GameArs before it became owned by GungHo.  Microsoft owns Bungie.  Microsoft owns Rare.  Nintendo owns Retro Studios.

That being said, Chris has already stated that Dragon Quest was primarily an Enix franchise, and Enix generally outsourced their games to other developers and primarily functioned as a publisher.

GameArts is another example of this - they were the developer for Grandia III, while Square Enix was the publisher.

Hope that cleared things up a little for you.

-John
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phan1
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2006, 08:29:58 PM »

OK, sorry for the double post guys.  

I just wasn't expecting how things would work out.  I'm still stuck in the good old PSX days I guess.  A couple years ago, would you guys believe that Square-Enix would emgerge?  That the Grandia series would be published by the newly found Square Enix?  And that Level 5 would be responsible for a great game called DQ VIII?  I sure wouldn't.  I also never knew the DQ series wasn't developed in-house.  I always thought it it was developed in-house given the brand name and prestige the series carried along with it.

Boy, Square-Enix looks like they're a huge powerhouse in the RPG market now.  They're share of the RPG market is just ridiculous!
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Eusis
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2006, 08:35:39 PM »

Well, I'm pretty sure that the first few were in fact developed in house, back when all you needed was 10 people to make a game. At the least, I know Yuji Horii was in a programming contest amongst Enix employees and won.

And as shocking as Square and Enix merging was, after seeing Sonic on a nintendo system, well. Anything was possible. =P
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MonCapitan2002
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2006, 10:46:19 PM »

I think Level 5 did an admirable job developing Dragon Quest VIII.  While I have known that the Dragon Quest series has been developed by outside companies, I did not know they were once developed in house.  I do hope that Dragon Quest IX gets developed by Level 5.
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blackthirteen
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2006, 12:44:02 AM »

Quote from: "phan1"
Wouldn't Square Enix have it's own internal developers to make DQVIII?  Wouldn't that be like having Konami making a FF game for Square-Enix?


Heh that's not impossible :P If I'm not completely wrong, Capcom developed Zelda: The Minish Cap and Oracle of Seasons  for Nintendo. So everything is probable.
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Professor Gast
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2006, 04:22:06 AM »

Quote from: "MonCapitan2002"
While I have known that the Dragon Quest series has been developed by outside companies, I did not know they were once developed in house.


I have thought about this issue for some time. Given that main development responsibilities rested with Chun Soft (until Dragon Quest V) and Chun Soft president Kouichi Nakamura was acting as series' director, technically even back then there was already little in-house development going on at Enix.
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phan1
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2006, 04:22:44 AM »

Yeah, I guess anything can happen these days.  I'm not sure what I like better.  Seeing game companies competing with each other to make great games, or colluding (hope that's a word) with each other to make great games.

Right now, I haven't seen any drop-off in quality due to companies working with each other.  I prefer current RPGs than the PSX ones.  Better graphics and better storytelling IMHO.  Some originality is hard to come by, but I think that's kind of expected.

I do miss the "little guy" though.  You know, companies like Working Designs, GameArts and other niche companies that made great games.  Now, it looks like only Atlus/NIS is left to be identified as "little" or "Niche".  Atlus looks like they've really grown though, which is good to hear.  They've really been able to be niche while having good business sense (unlike Working Designs).  They're games always have a great sense of charm to them in contrast to the big-budget epics.
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Professor Gast
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2006, 04:32:58 AM »

As Losfer already mentioned above, Working Designs never made games, they just acquired the North American rights for Japanse games and then localized and published them in the US. While Working Designs is gone, XSEED has opened its doors and at least so far Jun Iwasaki and Co. do not take 3-4 years to localize and release their games :P.

As far as smaller guys in the development business are concerned, there are still more than enough companies in Japan: Nippon Ichi Software, Gust, Idea Factory, Nihon Falcom, CyberConnect2, Level 5, Gaia Games, Craft and Meister, Game Republic, Chun Soft, Arte Piazza, Climax, RED Entertainment or Nautilus (which of course is part of a very big company, Aruze. Then again Aruze's console game division is very small). Hell, if you compare them to the largest third parties (Sega Sammy, Bandai Namco, Konami and Square Enix) then even companies like Atlus or Tecmo are very small (in terms of annual revenue).
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Raze
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2006, 05:15:51 AM »

Quote
While Working Designs is gone, XSEED has opened its doors and at least so far Jun Iwasaki and Co. do not take 3-4 years to localize and release their games :P.


They also didn't charge me 10-20 bucks over the standard retail price for a free keychain with Wild Arms 4 :P

On topic, Dark Cloud 2 was pure quality. I'm sure that's the reason they beat out the competition for the project.

Games looooong though, and I make it longer by tweaking out my weapons and Steve. Every six months or so I start a new game up and have a blast...but I've never actually finished the damn thing, something always ends up taking my attention away from it.
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