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Bogatyr
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« on: April 06, 2006, 08:50:39 PM »

So, this is not about wether it was a good thing or not, but rather how different do you think the RPG market would be right now if the two giants had not united into one company.
Would we be getting different games, the same ones we are getting? Would DQVIII be a different game altogether? What about KH II and FFXII?
This kind of thing.
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Professor Gast
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2006, 04:25:36 AM »

Nope, not at all. The development of games like Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy XII for instance had already begun before the merger went through. I don't think a lot has changed in terms of what games are being developed and released. They are just trying to exploit the Square brand to push Enix titles in the US and Europe. And in the case of Dragon Quest VIII that strategy apparently worked quite well.
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Eusis
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2006, 05:16:29 AM »

I think the biggest change wouldn't be in the games themselves, but their translations. Games Square would've made would likely remain the same, it's not like the Square USA really changed when it became Square Enix USA. But the Enix games would almost certainly be either mildly or substantially different in translation, whether it's different voice actors, different dialogue, or just completely different from what we ultimately got (I'd be willing to bet that unless Enix Japan would have decided to push for the voice acting and other changes, DQVIII would've been just the text translated, and probably a release as Dragon Warrior VIII). As well, I bet the more minor Enix games, espicially the DQ spinoffs/remakes would've made it here.
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Ryos
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2006, 02:12:52 PM »

I'm with Eusis.  The merger has mostly been a good thing in terms of localizations because Enix titles in particular had some pretty godawful localizations over the years (and often falling through the cracks even when they weren't, like with VP), so their titles now have more exposure and quality assurance through Square.  Sequels, like 'em or hate 'em, would have happened with or without the merger; companies milk series until they stop making a profit.
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vkamicht
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2006, 02:18:07 PM »

For the localization of Star Ocean 3, it definately would have been different if it was Enix only. I'm afraid what the voice work would have sounded like, but it would have been more respectable as a sequel. It seems Square-Enix went out of their way to localize terms differently to cut the ties the game had to SO2. That pissed me off.
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Bogatyr
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2006, 12:13:49 PM »

What about risks? Do you think after the merge - thus, at least in theory, becoming a larger, richer and more powerful company, with a larger market to explore and everything - Square Enix is more willing to take risks?
Do you think Square would had dared to develop Advent Children - a risky enterprise, despite the FFVII brand, considering the flop Spirits Within was - if it was still a single company?
Venturing into cellphones, online gaming etc? I don't know what was already in development before the merge took place, so I am sorry if I am commiting any mistakes.
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Professor Gast
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2006, 01:56:43 PM »

I don't think a lot would have changed. After all, all of Square's production teams that existed pre-merger are still in place and have not changed a lot. Enix outsources, Square develops games internally, that rule still applies after the merger. So no, I don't think the merger not going through would have changed anything in terms of what games they have been developing.

PlayOnline and Square's general online strategy were already in place before the merger took place. Don't forget that Final Fantasy XI has already been available in Japan for almost four years now. The point is that Square's online games have always targetted the Japanese and Western markets, while Enix's most successful MMORPG Cross Gate turned out to be a major hit in mainland China. So you had a good synergy effect there. Generally, most major third party publishers are involved in online gaming and mobile contents, because those two are growth markets. Obviously, this is also related to the spread of 3G phones in Japan which gives developers more freedom in creating games like Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII.

I suppose, when you are talking about "risk" you refer to developing games, not general management decisions (such as the Taito acquisiton). The entire industry has become somewhat risk averse with development costs rising with each and every new generation of hardware (one of the reasons of the DS' popularity in Japan are the insanely low development costs). Square Enix is no exception that rule, even though I don't think the merger has changed anything. Updates for all the major franchises (with the exception of Parasite Eve and Chrono) had been in the making or at least planning before the merger materialized.

You see, the change already happened about five to six years ago. Until then (under the back-then CEO Tomoyuki Takeshi) they had a strategy to diversify their portfolio beyond the RPG genre. Hence the development and releases of games like Tobal, Einhaender, Ehrgeiz, Another Mind, All Star Pro Wrestling, Chocobo Racing, Chocobo Stallion, the first-generation sports games for PlayStation 2, etc.). Then came the financial crisis as a result of the weak performance of Final Fantasy The Movie, the lower-than expected sales of Final Fantasy IX, the high development costs of PlayOnline and the lack of top sellers during the transition phase from PlayStation to PlayStation 2. Afterwards Youichi Wada became president and CEO and the company changed its strategy. It began to re-focus on the RPG genre and established franchises (Kingdom Hearts being the exception).

The downside of this new strategy is the obvious lack of original games and the absolute focus on the established series Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, SaGa, Front Mission, Seiken Densetsu, Hanjuku Eiyuu and Final Fantasy Tactics already before the merger (the same can be said about  Enix games of course). Another issue is profitability. One reason for the lack of a new Parasite Eve or Chrono game, might be exactly this issue. Those games cost a lot to develop back then and Parasite Eve 2 and Chrono Cross were not as successful as Parasite Eve and Chrono Trigger. Brands like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts are stronger, so they focus their development resources on them. The merger might have increased the focus on profitability even more, because traditionally Enix used to be more profitable than Square, though.

The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII in fact was not such a big gamble. Sure, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was quite an expensive project which after all suffered several delays. But contrary to Final Fantasy The Movie, it definitely did not cost anywhere close to 120 million USD to produce, was aimed at the DVD (and not the big screen) market and most importantly had the brand recognition of the company's best selling game.
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