Thursday, February 3, 2011

Anybody got a spare Phoenix Down?

When Square Enix (formerly Square) launched their first Final Fantasy game on the NES back in 1990 in America, it was supposed to be their last title.  The company didn't take off as expected and so they decided to put their skills to the maximum to produce the best possible game that they could.  What they didn't expect, however, was the complete 360 degree turn that ended up launching their most successful franchise to date.  Now, with the recent installment of Final Fantasy XIII and multiple spin-off titles, Square Enix has hit a rather large speed bump in the gaming industry, one which could prove to be fatal.

Square has made two large mistakes with the Final Fantasy franchise in the recent year.  Their first was with Final Fantasy XIII, which was several years in development, but was released to disappointed fans.  Yet perhaps the bigger failure was with the MMO Final Fantasy XIV released on the PC.  The game was such a catastrophe in beta that they ended up having serious issues with the development team responsible.  Another side reason is the fact that Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a sequel to the popular original, has been delayed for quite some time as well.

Because of this, Square Enix has lowered their projected profits for the 2011 fiscal year by more than 90%, going so far as to say that they will earn $11.9 million from the original $148.2 million by March 31st.

This is bigger than just the future of Square Enix as a company.  With so many FPS and sports games being released, is this the beginning of the end for JRPGs in general?  I believe so.  Face it, the generation there have been too little JRPGs released in American markets, at least, compared to the enormous library that the PS1/2 and Gamecube had.  I may even go so far as to predict that we will see the death of the JRPG in the next 5 years.  People are just too caught up with motion controlled games and shooters to give a damn about stories and character development.  It's quite a shame that Square Enix is having these difficulties, but my only hope is that this will pave the way for a new, bigger company to take its place.