"I'm thinking of a word. The first letter is 'S'. The last letter is 'X'."
Square Enix is the result of a 2003 merger between two video game companies (Squaresoft and Enix, naturally). They are primarily known for their work on RPGs
, and several of their franchises have gone on to sell millions upon millions across the world.
"The 'E' in the middle is but one of two."
Their merger was a huge event at the time. Squaresoft and Enix had been major rivals for years; both were known for their RPGs, with Square being behind the world-dominating Final Fantasy
franchise, and Enix responsible for the sales-record-smashing Dragon Quest
games. By combining forces
, they created a game-industry juggernaut which is a force to be reckoned with, especially in the Japanese market.
Enix was the older of the two merging companies, and it found success earlier. Founded in 1975 as the Eidansha Boshu Service Center, it changed its name to Enix in 1982, just before it entered the video game market. In 1982, Enix held the Game Hobby Program Contest, whose ten winning entries became Enix's first published games; the winning game authors included Koichi Nakamura and Yuji Horii. Enix would remain exclusively a video game publisher and depend on the cooperation of independent developers, primarily Chunsoft (the company founded by Koichi Nakamura and Yuji Horii, now Spike Chunsoft), Heart Beat (a spinoff of Chunsoft and forerunner of Genius Sonority
exclusively devoted to developing Dragon Quest
sequels and remakes), Quintet, Almanic (later known as Givro), Produce and Tri Ace
. Enix's early games (which included some eroge
) were released principally on the Japanese NEC PC-8801
and Fujitsu FM-7 computers. Though games such as The PORTOPIA Serial Murder Case
were quite popular in Japan, Dragon Quest
was Enix's first game to be released internationally, under the Market-Based Title Dragon Warrior
Square's early years were leaner; they began as a division of the software company Denyusha. In 1984 they released their first game, The Death Trap
, whose modest success led them to create a few more original games, as well as technically unimpressive ports of Dragon Slayer
for the MSX
for the NES. After Square Co., Ltd. became independent in 1986, they formed the Disk Operating Group (DOG) with six other computer game companies (Micro Cabin, Thinking Rabbit, Carry Lab, System Sacom, Xtalsoft, Hummingbird Soft) and published a variety of forgettable games for the Famicom Disk System, and were not doing too well when, a year and a half after Dragon Quest
, they released an RPG called Final Fantasy
After the merger, fans were divided on how to refer to the company, as "Square Enix" was too unwieldy. Although some tried "Squarenix", it's now almost universally referred to as "Squeenix". Square Enix has even gotten in on this with their line "Squex Toys" in Japan, and their katakana Portmanteau Couple Name
スクエニ (SukuEni) has appeared in Japanese promotional screenshots as a stand in for a player name.
In 2005, Square Enix acquired Taito Corporation. Taito has mostly remained independent, retaining its games' copyright and self-publishing its games in Japan, though its parent company began to publish its games (such as Space Invaders Extreme
and Arkanoid DS
) elsewhere (with the label "Taito - A Square Enix Company" on the cover). See the Taito
page for a list of its games.
In 2009, Square Enix took over Eidos (best known for Tomb Raider
, and also published the PC versions
of Square's Final Fantasy VII
and Final Fantasy VIII
as well as the first of Enix's Dragon Quest Monsters
games for the Game Boy Color
in North America). Eidos was then renamed to "Square Enix Europe". Seems like a rather boring name until you look at the word they were getting at.
Shortly before the start of The New Tens
, Square Enix started publishing and even developing gritty, out-of-character
shooters such as Kane and Lynch
, Just Cause 2
, and they have been publishing the Japanese localizations of Activision
's games. It seems that their strategy for entering the Western market is to publish promising Western-developed titles— which causes existing fans of those series some trepidation and provides a convenient scapegoat
for perceived flaws in the final releases.
Square Enix is also a manga
publisher, continued from its Enix days. Its published works include Fullmetal Alchemist
and 666 Satan
, and a variety of manga based on its video game properties.
They're also known for having a very unpleasable fanbase
. The article even had its own example displaying the unpleasability of their fanbase, as well as the arrant hatedom that resulted. Similar to Nintendo
, they're also criticized for spinoffs and sequels of existing franchises and not coming up with new ones. This is despite all of the new IPs they develop or publish, most of which (think Infinite Undiscovery
) were ignored, and they are then called out for not
working on the next Final Fantasy
. There are some exceptions, such as The World Ends with You
, which actually wasn't
Around the late 1990s and first half of the 2000s, quite a few of Square's key members left. Writer Masato Kato went freelance, as did Yasunori Mitsuda
and Nobuo Uematsu
; Testuya Takahasi and a large portion of the Xenogears
and Chrono Cross
team formed Monolith Soft, which initally was owned by Namco until they were sold to Nintendo around 2007; Kameoka Shinichi and Kouji Tsuda of the Mana
series founded Brownie Brown, another first party subsidiary of Nintendo. As for Hironobu Sakaguchi, he founded Mistwalker.
Square Enix is also known for having one of the textbook examples of "Quarterback Syndrome
", in which the quarterback is Tetsuya Nomura
. Partly reinforced by how he had managed to misblame himself from various interviews, but it was still played straight when the Internet Backdraft
of Final Fantasy XIII
somehow treated him like he was the sole person involved in the game design (for the record, he only designed some of the characters and he wasn't even the art director).
Games originally published/developed by Square:
Games originally published/developed by Enix:
Post-merger Square Enix games:
Online games provided by Square Enix:
Games published by Eidos and its subsidiary labels:
Western-developed games published by Square Enix in Japan:
Eastern-developed games published by Square Enix in Europe:
Manga published by Square Enix's Gangan Comics imprint:
Tropes associated with Square Enix:
You weren't thinking of something naughty, were you? That's right! It's SQUARE ENIX!