The History of Square-Enix - Part 4: The Golden age of the 2D RPG
Release Date: 12/07/2015
This week, we read part four of Joe's Epic Enjoy!
History of Square-Enix - Part 4: The Golden age of the 2D RPG
Enix could have floated on Dragon Quest V mega-release for the next 10 years, but they were well on their way with publishing multiple I.P.’s for the rest of the early 90’s., although this wasn’t without a few setbacks.
Enix released “The 7th Saga” in 1992, which had both mediocre reviews, as well as middling sales, and King Arthur and the Knights of Justice was apparently a hunk of Junk.
And in 1993, Enix released E.V.O: Search for Eden (A prehistoric RPG filled with dinosaurs) to similar results as the 7th Saga.
Square, however, was on top of the world. Secret of Mana in 1992 would go on to sell 1.83 million copies worldwide. It was praised as for it’s gameplay, music, and graphics, and would later be called “one of the high points of the 16 bit era” by Edge Magazine, as well as one of the greatest games of all time by famitsu, Nintendo Power, and IGN.
Although not nearly as well regarded, Square released Romancing Saga 2 to similar commercial results.
These games would kick off the golden age of 2 Dimensional JRPG’s.
Enix, in this SNES era, released a slew of games from ‘93 to ‘95, mostly in Japan due to the middling sales of Dragon Quest.
One of these was puzzle filled action RPG called “Brain Lord”, which was well reviewed, though didn’t exactly set the world on fire.
“Robotrek” would follow: a sci-fi precursor to pokemon in a sci-fi universe, that unfortunately tanked on released.
“Terranigma”, which told the story of a boy named “Ark” trying to resurrect Earth, would later be hailed as a forgotten classic, but went nowhere near Square’s sales at 200,000 copies.
An RPG/Sim/War game called Ogre Battle (one of Enix’s most important games) was released to rave reviews, and would set the stage for it’s more famous sequel: Tactics Ogre.
Little is known about Enix’s game “Jyutei Senki”, except that it was only ever released in Japan, and that it’s a science fiction RPG game. “Mystic Ark” was another little-known RPG game put out by Enix, although it was successful enough to spawn a playstation sequel in 1999.
The biggest game of 1995 (Sorry Square) was Dragon Quest 6. It sold a whopping 3.2 Million copies, and this was only in Japan!
By this time Enix had given up on selling games outside of Japan, and before 1996’s game “Star Ocean” was released, they had closed their offices in North America. The game did alright for itself, selling about as much as “Terranigma” did before it, but as with a couple of these games it’s now looked upon as a forgotten gem in the west, Nintendo Life eventually praising it as one of the best-looking games on the Super Nintendo.
In contrast, Square was doing quite well in North America, while still doing good business in Japan. For Square, almost everything they touched turned to gold.
In 1994, Square would release one of it’s most well known RPG classics, “Breath of Fire” to good reviews and financial success.
But that was nothing compared to Final Fantasy VI, now seen as one of the greatest games of all time by most sources, eventually selling almost 4 million copies worldwide. That game is f--king awesome.
Last in ‘94, the forgotten game “Live a Live” would also be followed by another big success in early ‘95: “Front Mission” a sci-fi tacticle RPG game would sell half a million copies in the first week of release.
That same year we would see what some have called “The greatest RPG game of all time”, Chrono Trigger, a ground-breaking (I think, I haven't played it) RPG praised for it’s gameplay and non-linear story filled with optional endings that have kept people coming back to the game over and over for the last 20 years.
Square would round of 1995 with hits that included the 3rd mana game, Secret of Evermore, and Romancing Saga 3.
Square was on a role. Kazushige Nojima would direct a game called “Bahamut Lagoon” in 1996, and they’d follow that up with the famous and well-regarded Super Mario RPG.
By the end of 1996 Square was setting it’s sights on the 3rd dimension, and it’s last 2 games on the SNES: “Treasure of the Rudras” and “Treasure Hunter G”, would be overshadowed by the new consoles that were gaining some steam: Sony’s Playstation and the Nintendo 64.