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Creator / Square Enix

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"To spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable experiences."
Company Motto, 2009-present

Square Enix is the result of a 2003 merger between two video game companies (Square/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. 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-dominatingly popular 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 by Yasuhiro Fukushima as the Eidansha Boshu Service Center, it changed its name to Enix Corporation 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; it 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 and Thexder for the NES. After becoming independent in 1986, Square Co., Ltd. was founded by Masafumi Miyamoto and 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. It was a major hit and formed the beginning of one of the most successful video game franchises of all time.

In 1991, Masafumi Miyamoto resigned to the presidency of Square; but he remained a major shareholder in the company.

In 1995, both companies worked on Chrono Trigger.

In 2003, as mentioned above, both companies merged.

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 Interactive (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 merged with Square Enix's existing European subsidiary to form Square Enix Europe. Seems like a rather boring name until you look at the word they were getting at. The acquisition of Eidos also gave Square Enix ownership of Crystal Dynamics (best known for Legacy of Kain), which Eidos acquired in 1998. Crystal Dynamics is in charge of developing most Tomb Raider games since 2006, as well as any other side projects that Square Enix may not want to directly get involved in (for example, the Marvel's Avengers game). However, in 2022, the company sold most of their Western studios and franchises to Swedish holding company Embracer Group.

Shortly before the start of The New '10s, Square Enix, partly through the Eidos Interactive takeover, started publishing and even had their studios developing gritty, out-of-character shooters such as Kane & Lynch, Just Cause 2 and MindJack, and they have been publishing the Japanese localizations of Activision's games.

Square Enix is also a manga publisher, continued from its Enix days. Its published works include Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater and O-Parts Hunter, and a variety of manga based on its video game properties. Their monthly magazines are the Gangan titles.

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 composers Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu; Testuya Takahashi and a large portion of the Xenogears and Chrono Cross team formed Monolith Soft, which initially 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, while Mana series creator Koichi Ishii became president of Nintendo-affliated company Grezzo in 2007. As for Hironobu Sakaguchi, he founded Mistwalker.

Pre-merger games:

Games by Square

Games by Enix

Post-merger games:

** - denotes a Square Enix Collective release

Other works

Western developed


Mobile games provided by Square Enix

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:

Square Enix's Gangan Comics imprint:

Miscellaneous projects:

Tropes associated with Square Enix:

  • Anime Hair: Several heroes and villains have this. In fact, many of SE's games give their characters an anime-like look overall.
  • Breakthrough Hit: According to composer Nobuo Uematsu, the title for Final Fantasy came about because Hironobu Sakaguchi thought it would be the last game Square would develop before it went bankrupt (it didn't). Sakaguchi himself never confirmed nor denied this story, though he did note that because of the financial issues plaguing them back then, he would have expected the game to be the last he made for the company before he had to return to college.
  • Cash-Cow Franchise:
    • Three of them: Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts.
    • Inverted with just about every western focused game they release, no matter what they sell it's simply not enough for the executives who immediately label it as having performed "below expectations" to the point where it appears nothing but a Grand Theft Auto or Apex Legends style "billion dollars a year" microtransaction laden megahit is sufficient. As an example, Square Enix thought that six million units sold of Tomb Raider (2013) was a financial disaster, even though most of the financial issues and overly high cost for the development came from their Executive Meddling and a poorly run, excessive marketing campaign. This trend culminated in Square-Enix deciding to cut their losses and sell off most of their Western franchises and studios to Embracer Group for a mere $300 million, a small sum compared to many other high profile acquisitions in the video game industry around that time.
    • Fullmetal Alchemist is this for Gangan Comics.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Many games, especially the Final Fantasy series, feature amazing outfits that would give a cosplayer a run for his money.
  • Japanese RPG: The company's main genre. Whichever division of JRPG they use varies from series to series.
  • Killer App: Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games are these for any consoles on which they appear, to the point of being deciding factors in Console Wars. In particular, their exclusivity to Super Famicom ensured that Sega's 16-bit console would never be as competitive with Nintendo's in Japan as it was in the West, and Final Fantasy VII releasing exclusively on the PlayStation was a huge blow to Nintendo in the generation after that.
  • No Export for You:
    • An infamous case. For the longest time, Square didn't even have a European branch, and as such the games didn't see the light of day there until Final Fantasy VII.
    • Famously, Final Fantasy in North America experienced a sudden skip of number between III and VII, thus leaving three games ostensibly missing. The truth was that there really were games missing; Square did not release II, III, and V in North America, rebranding the rest to reflect this fact; II and III actually referred to IV and VI. Between VI (that is, the North American III) and VII, however, Square moved to producing games for Sony instead of Nintendo, because of the technical limitations of the Nintendo 64, where they decided that it's best to streamline the number in spite of the fact that it didn't make sense marketing wise.
    • For a long time, Square Enix did not bother to bring rereleases of their games overseas, the most notable ones being the Final Mix versions of the various Kingdom Hearts games (as the Kudzu Plot of the games factor in everything, including content added in Final Mix) but also the International editions of some Final Fantasy entries. However, this seems to have changed from 2013 onward, as they did bring them overseas for the next-generation consoles.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Trope Namer coming from Final Fantasy VII. It's almost a requirement for every game to have a One Winged Angel. Square Enix even has its own folder on the trope page.
  • Orchestral Version: Plenty of the games' soundtracks are mixed into orchestral versions and albums, and the advent of more sophisticated sound technology has lead to several game soundtracks that are orchestral in nature.
  • Persona Non Grata: After Final Fantasy VII moved from the Nintendo 64 to the PlayStation, Nintendo held this attitude towards Squaresoft for quite some time.
  • Preview Piggybacking: They have been famous for this since the PlayStation era, with lesser-known or brand-new franchises often being bundled with CDs containing demos of upcoming products (such as bundling Brave Fencer Musashi with a demo of Final Fantasy VIII), and it continues into the present day.
  • Rivals Team Up: The merger between Square and Enix.
  • Tech-Demo Game: The company has stated recently that all of their major titles were done just to show off. And it doesn't even stop there, as some of their niche titles get similar treatment.
  • Too Many Belts: Common when Tetsuya Nomura is the character designer of a game.
  • Updated Re-release: The reason their No Export for You cases are some of the most well-known.
  • The Wiki Rule: Squarewiki and Square Enix Wiki
  • Zipperiffic: Once again, when Tetsuya Nomura is the character designer. The quote of this trope's page (which comes from The World Ends with You) lampshades this.

You weren't thinking of something naughty, were you? That's right! It's SQUARE ENIX!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Enix, Square Enix Goya, Square Soft, Square


"Why Should I Care?!"

James Sterling asks this question in regards to Outriders when realizing that Square-Enix is just cancelling games left and right, even comparing them to Netflix and their handling of shows (using the Dark Crystal's sequel show as an example).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheFireflyEffect

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