Square-Enix is in a bit of trouble. They are producing AAA titles that just don’t hit the mark. Tomb Raider sold over 3.5 million copies but that wasn’t enough for Square. They wanted to see it sell 5 million copies, and they wanted similar for Final Fantasy, Hitman: Absolution and more. They have been trying to re-engineer their games to fit American tastes, but perhaps they are mission the point. All it takes is a tiny look into Squaresoft and Enix’s back catalogue to fine 10 Games Square Should Be Making. Make any of these and we guarantee Square would hit the 5 million mark they are shooting for.
Remember, Square-Enix is the fusion of two companies, Squaresoft and Enix. So, one thing they can do is resurrect some old Enix properties. Ogre Battle was always an awesome game, with its squad based combat and incredible depth of characters classes. It was also one of the only RTS games that actually worked on a console and we would love to see some more.
Speaking of Enix properties, is there a particular reason why Square-Enix seems to have forgotten about the wonderful set of games known as the Quintet Trilogy? Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, and Terranigma were some of the best 16-bit RPGs to ever come out. They let you rebuild the world in your own image as you completed your objectives. Having a current generation game with that mechanic would be awesome. Sure Quintet may not be around anymore, but their IPs are still fresh for the milking.
Yeah, I’m going to harp on Quintet games a bit more. Actraiser was a genius game that combined 2D platforming with a top down city sim. If there’s any game that gamers would eat up as an HD remake, it’s this one. The SNES had limited power and so the city sim had to be basic, and the 2D action controls were sharp but limited. The power of a current generation system would give Actraiser the depth of Civilization and the action of Shank. Who doesn’t want that!
Speaking of 2D platformers that were underappreciated, E.V.O. The Search for Eden was a game before it’s time. It allowed you to customize a creature as it evolved from fish, to beast, to bird, to even man! The sheer customizability in this game, coupled with it’s interesting RPG elements, made it one of a kind. An HD remake would make an incredible splash in the indie market.
As awesome as Enix’s titles were, Square titles were ten times more popular. Final Fantasy Tactics was perhaps the only Final Fantasy spin-off that gamers actually liked. It was popular enough to sell well on the PSP, even though the game suffered from horrendous slowdown. Unfortunately, all of the sequels came out on handhelds and now it appears as if it will be a mobile only franchise. Granted, mobile is a great place to go for gameplay innovation, but Square fans are definitely looking for a more substantial console release.
Did you know that Secret of Mana titles were still coming out last generation? Yep! They were almost exclusively on handheld consoles and they all sucked. They tried to get gimmicky with the game’s concept, throwing in a whole bunch of unneeded systems when all we really wanted was a simple top down adventure RPG. Stop trying to reinvent the world and give us the Mana franchise we all know and love.
Squaresoft was one of the first companies to break the IP border and team up with other publishers to work on their IPs. It was the company that brought us the wonderful Breath of Fire series, at least in the early days. Capcom eventually took the series over for itself and ran it into the ground with Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. What better way to wake up this sleeping dragon than to give it back to Square in order to let them work their RPG magic.
Speaking of team-ups, Super Mario RPG might have been the best team up Nintendo ever did. This bizarrely dark but still quite childlike story is one of the most loved cult classic RPGs of the SNES era. The tale of Smithy, Geno, and the Star Road, had Mario bring down pirate ships, infiltrate dungeons, climb to the clouds, and eventually hop across dimensions. The Mario RPG series continued with Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga, but none of them quite held a candle to the original Super Mario RPG.
Square-Enix is kind of like that kid in school who always tried too hard to be cool. They are constantly updating their beloved franchise with action elements and systems that appeal to an American audience. However, this is exactly why they are failing. Square was beloved because they brought something different to the market. The Call of Duty fanbase will always prefer Call of Duty to Final Fantasy. But the Final Fantasy fanbase doesn’t want to see shooter elements or button mashy action game systems. They want Chocobos, menus, equipment, towns, and fighting against an ultimate evil in a last ditch attempt to save the world.
Finally, Square needs to absolutely stop letting this golden IP go to waste. They tried to follow up Chrono Trigger on the PS1 with Chrono Cross and it was… OK. It was a great RPG but it wasn’t Chrono Trigger. Then again, nothing will be Chrono Trigger, so it’s time to stop looking at Chrono Cross as a failure. It made Squaresoft money and it made gamers hope for a brand new Chrono game in the future. But that game hasn’t come… yet. If Square really wants to break the five million mark, then look no further to one of the greatest RPGs, if not video games, of all time. Take heed, Square-Enix! These are the 10 games you should be making.