Hey Square-Enix, Did PlayStation Fans Betray You?
You know, I've been thinking. Somehow, this whole thing must be our fault. There's no other logical explanation. So my question is, what exactly did we do?
Reminisce with me for a bit, here. Back between the years of 1996 and 2000, RPG fans adored their PlayStations. They adored them for obvious reasons, but we knew one basic rule, and it's a rule that most any role-playing aficionado would agree with: if it says "Squaresoft" on the box, pick it up, and bring it over to the counter. It's a guaranteed winner, even if it doesn't say "Final Fantasy" anywhere on it. Chrono Cross, Xenogears and Vagrant Story were three of the best RPGs ever, and while they didn't get unbelievable review scores, most still loved the likes of Legend of Mana, Parasite Eve, Brave Fencer Musashi, Threads of Fate, and yeah, even Einhander. There were a few slips (some silly Chocobo Dungeon game and Ehrgeiz, for example), but for the most part, that rule was cut and dry. Then we moved on to the PS2, and Squaresoft became Square-Enix. Many will say everything went downhill from there, and while I agree S-E has never managed to repeat the heyday of Squaresoft, I don't agree that "everything" went downhill.
Let's just say that if you can make Final Fantasy XII, you've got my vote. Now, we're in a new generation and PlayStation owners take a look around, saying, "...hey, where'd Square go?" Well, to be perfectly honest, I have no effing idea. I understand their desire to appeal more to Western gamers, and I also understand Microsoft's desire to snag some Square-Enix property. This is why I also understand most next-generation S-E titles are headed to the Xbox 360, and for the record, I have no problem with that. But I do have a problem with the fact that PS3 owners are continually left out in the cold. Infinite Undiscovery, although not great, was a 360 exclusive. Star Ocean 4 is a 360 exclusive. The Last Remnant is coming to the PS3, but it will debut first on the 360. As for Final Fantasy XIII, I still like the fact the PS3 was the lead development platform, but if I firmly grasp the situation...shouldn't the PS3 version launch well ahead of the 360 version? Square-Enix has already said they won't even start on the 360 version until FFXIII is on Blu-Ray and ready to go.
Soooo...why are we waiting? Just because the U.S. is the only place getting the 360 version, and Square-Enix doesn't want to piss off the 360 owners? Whatever. And yeah, I know Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still a PS3 exclusive, but I'm not about to put a huge amount of faith into a game I know very little about. And today, another kicker- it seems Square-Enix and Microsoft's booth at the Tokyo Game Show are right next to each other, and they're all sorts of buddy-buddy, according to attendees. Okay, fine. Put stuff on the 360. Good. Have fun. More potential greatness for 360 owners, and I have a 360, anyway. But why, why are you ignoring the PS3? Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't PlayStation owners treated you very well in the past 12 years or so? Square-Enix, I'm honestly not understanding this blatant snubbing of the PS crowd. I suppose I can take solace in the handheld stuff (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Dissidia: Final Fantasy and the Star Ocean remakes), but really, that's not good enough. I don't expect S-E to reclaim Squaresoft's former glory, but I do expect a little respect.
Perhaps it's just a business thing. The PS3 is still in third - although rising quickly - and maybe S-E wants to maximize profit potential. This is the argument the 360 owners make. Okay...to maximize profit potential, you release on multiple consoles. That's kinda logical. You know, unless someone gives you a large chunk of change to screw over loyal fans. I really don't see any reason why something like Star Ocean 4 can't come to the PS3; I really, really don't. So we PlayStation owners, as a unit, must've done something to piss off Square-Enix. Did one of you trip a S-E employee on his way to work? Did a bunch of you send nasty e-mails after FFX-2? Well now, see what you did? This isn't logical, either, so I'm just going to have to conclude that Square-Enix is voluntarily abandoning PS3 owners this generation when faced with a large check signed by Microsoft. And that, no matter how you slice it, is irritating.
10/8/2008 Ben Dutka