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Shamdeo

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What this thread is about: a discussion for newsworthy topics about Square Enix as a company -- things such as interviews, comments by employees, acquisitions, fiscal information, community-side developments, blah blah.

What this thread is NOT about: OMG I HATE SQUARE WHY CAN'T THEY GIVE ME CHRONO TRIGGER REMAKE RIGHT NOW
 

Shamdeo

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Today's announcement of Core Onilne -- a new HD cloud-based streaming site for the vidjamagames.

Core Online press release said:
TOKYO (Aug. 29, 2012) – SQUARE ENIX HOLDINGS CO., LTD. today announced a new technology service for high definition games in the browser called COREONLINE. Developed by Hapti.co studio, a wholly owned Square Enix Group subsidiary, COREONLINE allows users to easily play popular, console quality games on the web.

"Square Enix is at the forefront of experimentation of new business and services models in the game industry," said Yoichi Wada, chief executive officer of Square Enix Holdings. "Through our COREONLINE technology service, users can access our content easily through the browser."

Games on COREONLINE are made available via a combination of Google and Square Enix's proprietary technology, which allows for support of Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. COREONLINE is easy to use, allowing players to click on a level and start playing instantly, and giving them the ability to start from any part of the game they wish.

Aspects of the user experience such as saves and achievements are managed in the cloud, and can be accessed from the browser. In the future, COREONLINE services may be a feature of Square Enix's global online services.

Also launched today is a new business model for COREONLINE, enabling free content supported by video advertising, similar to television advertising. Users can elect to skip advertisements by purchasing levels and entire games.

Titles available at launch include HITMAN: BLOOD MONEY, from the famed HITMAN franchise, and MINI NINJAS. LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT, the award-winning title announced in collaboration with Google at their Google IO event in June 2012, will launch at COREONLINE in October. Also under development for COREONLINE is TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD, from the famed TOMB RAIDER series, and GYROMANCER, the first title available on the service from Square Enix Japan. Further titles from Square Enix’s worldwide lineup of content are intended to be made available within the next year.

For more information on COREONLINE please visit Core Online
 

Recon

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Yay, we needed one of these threads. I find small tidbits all the time, but I'm shy to create new threads/clutter.
 

Shamdeo

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Interview with Shinji Hashimoto in May 1999 at E3.

http://web.archive.org/web/20000303195500/http://www.next-generation.com/jsmid/news/6655.html said:
FF8 Producer Talks FFIX

On the floor of E3, we caught up with Shinji Hashimoto, Square's Senior Vice President of Software Development and Character Licensing, and lead producer for Final Fantasy VIII.

May 17, 1999

Final Fantasy 8 is one of the most anticipated games for 1999, and for good reasons. FFVII was a critical success for Squaresoft because it not only introduced the world outside Japan to the Final Fantasy series, but to Japanese RPGs in general. So what will it take for FF8 to duplicate its success? NGO sat down with FF8 lead producer Shinju Hashimoto to find out.

NGO: Why did you decide to go from the more traditional 'superdeformed' style graphics to a more traditional Western style with FF8? Will this play a role in trying to make FF8 a bigger success in the United States and in Europe?

Hashimoto: First of all, we were able to sell 500,000 copies of Final Fantasy 6 in the U.S., but we sold 2 million plus copies in Japan.

We were trying figure out why we only sold 500,000 copies in the U.S. compared to the 2 million in Japan and we should be able to sell more in the U.S. So we were thinking what we needed to improve to sell more copies in the U.S.

Mr. Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy, wanted to do something about it. We thought about it day and night: in FF7 how can we appeal to the world? That was our task.

FF6 was 2-D rather than 3-D, as in FF7, so the characters were more alive and realistic in FF7. Final Fantasy 7's Cloud Strife is a very popular and was so real. We figured if we were able to bring it to this level, then we should be able to do something even better in FF3. FF7 sold 1.6 million copies in the U.S. and 1 million copies in Europe so far. The change from 2-D to 3-D enabled FF7 to generate better sales and we decided this was the way to go, so that's the direction FF8 headed.

NGO: How will Square EA market FF8 in the American Market? Will they show only FMV, game screens, or a combination of both?

Hashimoto: Sony played a big role in marketing FF7 for us. We will be working together with Electronic Arts to market and distribute games in the U.S. and it will enhance our position in the U.S. market. By doing FF8 sales and distribution with EA, it's going to cause "synergy" between Electronic Arts and us. The game will be on display at Sony's booth and this is what I call "enhanced synergy" as it strengthens our position with not only with EA but with Sony as well.

NGO: So the bond between Squaresoft and Sony is stronger than ever?

Hashimoto: That is so true. The bond between Sony and Squaresoft is even more enhanced. An example is in Sony's Playstation booth, where we have all of our products as an independent third party developer, thereby ensuring our relationship between Squaresoft and Sony.

NGO: Is there any chance that Squaresoft will work with Sega or Nintendo or is that completely out of the question.

Hashimoto: In the past, we worked together with Nintendo and our relationship with them was very good. In the future, we wanted to use the system that would serve our purposes best in bringing our storylines to life, and currently that system is Playstation. But in the future, nobody knows, and as the producer, I have to look at the best hardware available at the time to create what it is that we want to create.

NGO: What aspects of FF8 will make it stand out beyond the other Final Fantasy games?

Hashimoto: The Gold Saucer mini-games stood out as the most memorable in FF7. FF8 is more of a human drama, and that is the focus of the game. This, I believe, will appeal to the American and European markets.

When FF7 was released, it wasn't even out that long before people started asking about FF8. What do you think about that?

Just like fans like to speculate about the upcoming Star Wars film, the same thing happens with Final Fantasy! Gamers like to dream and think about what will happen in FFIX and that gives us energy and encourages us to keep striving to do more cutting edge work. All I can say is to keep rooting for us and we'll deliver.

NGO: Speaking of part 9, is it in the works?

Hashimoto: Whether it will be called Final Fantasy 9 or not is not yet decided. At Squaresoft, we are always looking to come up with cutting edge storylines and systems. Whether that new storyline will be called FF9 has not been decided.

NGO: We heard that Sakaguchi called the first game in the series "Final Fantasy" because Squaresoft was in financial troubles in the NES era and it was meant to be his last game. Now that the series has gained worldwide monumental success, what is the reason behind keeping the name "Final Fantasy?" Is it because Squaresoft doesn't feel like changing the name because it is popular with its fans or is it because the title "Final Fantasy" is a prelude to the individual story of each game?

Hashimoto: The fans recognized and accepted the title "Final Fantasy" and we saw no reason to change the title. That is true what Sakaguchi said. Squaresoft was in financial trouble and he said that this was his final game and that if it didn't take off then he would retire from the gaming business; those were his famous last words. And then the game was a big success, as were the sequels. Now, we are going to think in lines of naming the next game Immortal Final Fantasy! (laughs)

NGO: Getting back to FF8, the storyline is based upon love. Now does this mean that the characters will be able to intermingle and date, which will give you multiple endings, or is it set on a path with just one giant ending?

Hashimoto: Oh, you want me to give the story away! (laughs) Well the truth is that the different guys will meet the different girls and a lot of exciting stuff will happen!

NGO: What was the idea behind the Junction and Draw Magic system? The idea behind the Materia in FFVII was innovative but it was taxing building up the magic levels. What are FF8's advantages over past Final Fantasy games?

Hashimoto: The Junction system is something brand new so in the beginning it something that you will have to get used to. So the players can add special abilities to each character to give them varying characteristics. In the past, the abilities of the characters were given through the weapon but now they are a human trait.

As for the draw system, we don't know what kind of magic system the opponent may have. So fighting the opponent will be more fun because you will always wonder what magic you're going to get!

NGO: Regarding Final Fantasy 4, for the Anthology. Why did Squaresoft elect to leave out FF4 in the anthology with FF5 and FF6?

Hashimoto: Right now, it is FF5 and FF6 only. When it comes to first four, they are too old and no English versions are available. But they did release FF4 as FF2 over here…

The true answer is that Final Fantasy - Final Fantasy 4 would cost a lot of money and use up a lot of the production staff. So when we think about doing FF9, we would have all of our people doing FFIV. This is not to say in the future we would not release them, but we are always looking for a new challenge.

NGO: Okay, last question: What is your favorite game in the Final Fantasy series?

Hashimoto: Hmm, tough question and it's the last one! I got involved with FF6 and because I got involved with it first, it is the most memorable. After that, we were separated from Nintendo and we had to work day and night drawing up the concept for FF7. However, though I have to say that FFVII is what we wanted to make a success in Japan and in other markets. So FF7 is memorable as well.

FFVIII will be released in October on the Playstation and during the Christmas season on the PC.
 

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Report: Circle Of Mana Trademark Filed By Square Enix

Whoa, the Mana series might be back in business. FF-Reunion reports Square Enix filed a trademark for Circle of Mana. We haven’t seen a new Mana game since Heroes of Mana, which was from Mother 3 developer Brownie Brown. It’s interesting to note that the trademark was filed with English text, perhaps a hint that this is being pegged for an overseas release.



Square Enix also registered "Ultima Box," Hitman protagonist’s name "Agent 47," and Wizardlings. Siliconera discovered the Wizardlings trademark earlier, which is from Square Enix USA.
Report: Circle Of Mana Trademark Filed By Square Enix | Siliconera
 

Ice Thug

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Re: Report: Circle Of Mana Trademark Filed By Square Enix

Yesterday was the best day of my life.
 

Magnus

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Square Enix is having a rough time at the moment. They're about to reveal a major loss in a week. I'm guessing Wada did not want this on his record. Although browsing other forums and comment sections it seems that this along with the new HD remasters of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts are getting people excited about the company again. I guess it's easy to blame it all on one guy. Wada has been great lately. He was the one who took the criticism about Final Fantasy XIII and XIV to heart and made sure the company tried to fix things for the fans. But they've unfortunately gone too far downhill in the past ten years for it to have made a big difference. The public needs to feel like the company is aiming for a fresh start.

They've already made sure to acquire new studios who can produce games that will appeal to the western market, where most of the disappointed fans are. Sleeping Dogs and especially Tomb Raider have done wonders for the company's image. At the moment, it's mostly the reputation of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts that is stake. The HD collections are definitely a step in the right direction. People get excited about seeing the company acknowledging classic games that they love. I've even seen people who have been excited about giving Final Fantasy X-2 a new shot. This a temporary solution though. People will still want to play both Versus XIII and KH3. Good thing we've got a new console generation coming up. It gives Square Enix the opportunity to use the time they've got left to build up the hype on the current consoles with HD remasters and A Realm Reborn. As much as I'm looking forward to Lightning Returns, it would be wise if the doiwnplayed its importance, to make it look like a small side project and not a big project that fans might want instead of Versus XIII. There have already been rumours about the latter being renamed XV and that it has moved to the PS4. That would probably be the best solution, as long as the game is good.
 

Sean

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He was the one who took the criticism about Final Fantasy XIII and XIV
Yeah. Nah. He threw Tanaka under the bus so fast on that one he barely had time to pack his stuff and leave the dev team.

In any case, I'm really looking forward to what Matsuda has to offer for the company. Instead of being a traditional SE CEO, I hope he puts his foot down on some of the decisions regarding the development (and marketing) of games.
 

rokudamia2

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A couple of months ago a guy on far posted his.

First off: THE MERGER DID NOT SAVE SQUARE, NOR WAS IT REQUIRED TO. Everyone in this thread thinking/saying this, stop it. You are wrong. You are not right. Stop it.

Enix had a problem. They were essentially a tiny, completely unproductive publisher except for one mega-ultimate franchise. The problem? They controlled absolutely zero part of it. DQ is Yuji Horri’s, and Enix could never control how and when he made them. Thus, the expansion potential of Enix was completely limited. But they were the definition of stable.

So in 2000, off the heels of the megaton explosion of awesome that Square experienced in the previous 3 years, Enix approached them to merge. But Square was hesitant, because it would require a larger share to Enix on the backs of just their one franchise, a franchise they felt they could eclipse in the coming years.

So they bickered and went back and forth as mergers do for over a year. But then the FF film released. And it tanked. It was the product of Hironobu Sakaguchi, who called the shots on nearly every facet of concept development at Square, and Hisashi Suzuki, the old-school business man who ran the money and left all the smaller crap to his second-in-command, a man named Yoichi Wada.

Suzuki and Sakaguchi were the brains behind Square of the 90’s. Sakaguchi thought a change to Tetsuya Nomura’s art style suited a new generation of consoles, Suzuki envisioned the necessity of the CD, they both created the concept of having two concurrent teams making FF games at the same time, etc. And they both envisioned a massive CG development studio in Hawaii that would revolutionize games and simultaneously be able to create films as well…

So naturally they both caught shit for that. Now while the Suzuki/Sakaguchi plan was for the huge dev studio to recoup costs over time, even they overestimated, to their fault. The board of Square began to panic at the notion of recouping the entirety of the costs immediately, and it was perpetuated by the constantly reported losses of the film. Upon the film failure, the board naturally told Suzuki to shape up, increased Wada’s role, and essentially lost all faith in Sakaguchi. This was the beginning of the end of Square, and it’s name was Yoichi.

Wada thus moved in and took on a much larger role, relegating Suzuki to having to go along with his vision of a massive developer/publisher that relies on its tentpole franchises. Development costs were streamlined (read: cut), projects were cancelled. Suzuki, and more so, Sakaguchi, hated this idea, and hated the development reforms Wada implemented to make it happen. But when Enix started getting gun shy about the merger, it was all Wada needed to convince the board that Suzuki’s model was a disaster, and his was the future. Suzuki’s last true contribution to Square was finalizing the Sony stock purchase, a testament to the relationship Suzuki built with Sony over the years.

Wada also hated Sakaguchi, and feared he would make a decision that would screw him over like he perceived the FF film did to Suzuki. So he essentially boxed him out, relegated his role in FFXII to almost nothing, and continued with his plan to cancel a bunch of non mainline franchise projects. It left Sakaguchi with no choice but to leave as he was essentially no longer a part of the company. So he did.

Square and Enix merged, and Wada’s vision was now super strengthened with DQ on board. What else do we need?! The idiot. Suzuki was relegated further to ‘special director’ after the merger, then fully resigned two years later. SE was Wada’s now, and the rest is history behind the workings of who I believe to be the most incompetent, unprepared and short-sighted company head this industry has ever seen.

— LevelNth ,dropping truth bombs in Neogaf about the square and Enix merger.
I also find it ironic this happend right after EA's CEO resigned.
 
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