The saga of Square Enix in recent years has been disappointing at best. Now we receive news that the company “expects to incur extraordinary loss in the settlement of the account for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2013”. Following that concerning news comes details that CEO Yoichi Wada is set to resign.
The game catalog of Square Enix both as separate entities and as Japanese development juggernaut has been influential in driving RPG design since the NES and created two of the most well known franchises in gaming with Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior. The last half decade however has been less than kind. Invoking the name of Final Fantasy no longer elicits good will or that wonderful nostalgia, but instead drives us farther away. Final Fantasy XIV Online (MMO) launched to such a poor reception, that after halting subscription costs to show good will, it completely shut down its servers and is relaunching as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Final Fantasy XIII also launched to lukewarm response, followed by an only slightly stronger showing in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Final Fantasy Versus XIII has all but disappeared since its original announcement in 2006. Fortunately the Dragon Quest series remains strong and has had great success in its first online outing in Japan on the Wii and Wii U.
The future for Square Enix is not yet bleak but there are a lot of questions to be raised about where these key franchises are going. Further reading reading and details can be found at Polygon and the Japanese press release.