What the hell is going on with Square Enix?

What the hell is going on with Square Enix?

What the hell is going on with Square Enix?

Nintendo Life Square Enix Visual
Image: Nintendo Life

If you take a quick look at a release schedule for the next six months, you’ll see that there are a lot of games coming out. Look a little closer, though, and you’ll see that perhaps 50 of them are from Square Enix. And it’s only on Switch!

We’re exaggerating, of course, but it’s hard to ignore the company’s absolutely massive output over the next few months — and for all of 2022, really. We’re not going to list every single 2022 Square Enix Switch release here because that would take up a lot of space (although you can check out all the games here, or scroll to the bottom of this article). From September to next year, Square Enix is ​​developing and/or publishing 13 games on Switch alone. Whew! And of course we include the PowerWash Simulator in it.

Look, we’re not complaining – it’s actually pretty amazing to see Square Enix putting out so many titles, and it feels like we’re in another golden age of Square and Nintendo, just like the NES and SNES days. But with the Nintendo Direct starting in September, we couldn’t help but fall for each new Square Enix announcement.

We got release dates for two titles, a demo for another, and two brand new reveals in Theatrhythm Final Bar Line and Octopath Traveler II for February 2023. On other platforms, Square Enix also has Final Fantasy XVI coming out next summer. On top of everything else! How has this happened?

Well, we said development and publishing, and Square Enix isn’t just one big studio either. Next year’s headline Final Fantasy title, for example, is being developed by Creative Business Unit III – the team behind MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. And it’s the same for the Switch’s many upcoming titles.

There are several development teams within Square Enix, each working on a small selection of different titles. Octopath Traveler II is being developed by Acquire, the creators of Tenchu series, in collaboration with the Square Enix Business Division, with Bravely Default producer Tomoya Asano returning to lead the project. Fans often dub these games – they Brave series, and the HD 2D games — the works of Team Asano. Diverse Daylife also falls into this category, although the recently released Switch port actually originated on Apple Arcade and was developed by DokiDoki Groove Works.

You also have a number of ports or remasters coming to the console, such as NieR: Automata – which was developed by PlatinumGames and is being ported by Virtuos – and Yasumi Matsuno returning to oversee Tactics Ogre: Reborn. Then there’s the delayed Life is Strange collection, which Square Enix is ​​publishing.

Many studios, both internal and external, are helping to develop or bring Square Enix titles to the Switch, too. Indieszero is back to work on the new Theater rhythm game, and The DioField Chronicles real-time strategy comes from Lancarse, the team behind Zanki Zero: Last Beginning and Monark.

Of course, despite the fact that a large number of them are RPGs or RPG-adjacent, they are all quite different from each other. People who pick up Harvestella won’t necessarily be the same crowd who want Octopath Traveler II, and The DioField Chronicle is different enough from Tactics Ogre – which also has nostalgia on its side – to stand out. And even if you love your Final Fantasy music, Theatrhythm might not be for you!*

All of these releases follow a recent statement from the company, which suggests that Square will look to sell stakes in some of its remaining studios following a decline in profits for the first quarter of 2023. The Japan-based developer has also sold off a large number of its western studios to the Embracer Group, and the deal closed in August.

So the company has a little more money to play for. But the truth is, many of these upcoming projects have likely been in development for a while — July’s Live A Live remake took three years to develop, for example.

To many fans’ dismay, Square Enix has also jumped into the NFT world, releasing Final Fantasy-based ones, as well as joining a blockchain – all eco-friendly, apparently. Company president Yosuke Matsuda has not been shy about admitting his interest in NFTs, and many of the company’s profits have been invested in them. So maybe Square Enix is ​​trying to hide this from us gamers by throwing dozens of games at us, Right?

Probably not, but while the company doesn’t seem to understand consumers on the one hand, it has pumped out demos for many of its releases on the other. As far back as Dragon Quest XI S and the first Octopath Traveler, all the way up to Harvestella and the PlayStation console-exclusive Valkyrie Elysium, these demos work hugely in Square’s favor, allowing people to try the game before they buy it. Not only that, these demos allow us to transfer our save file to the full release, meaning that when we decide to buy the full game, we’ve shaved off a few hours of play time ahead of schedule. Result!

Square Enix isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, we’re sure of that. There are a few projects we haven’t heard from in a while, and a couple of Japan-only releases like the visual novel Elements with emotions, but us? We’re going to party for a while. Triangle Strategy and Live A Live are two of the best games released on Switch this year, and there are some top quality titles on the horizon (well, we hope). We feel only one a little overwhelmed amid a hugely busy slate in the final months of 2022, especially for RPG fans.

But this is not just about us! Vote in our polls below and let us know what you think of Square Enix’s output at the moment. Is it a Blizzaga style of overwhelming proportions? Or are you as happy as a Chocobo when you see all these games coming out? Oh, and don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments, too.

*This is actually wrong, as Teatrhythm is for absolutely everyone. Play it now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.