Square Enix

Final Fantasy creator reveals the real reason behind the “Final” part of the hit series’ title

To those unfamiliar with the history of video game developer Square (now merged with former rival Enix and renamed Square Enix), the title of the prolific Final Fantasy series must seem pretty ironic. After all, the franchise’s Roman numeral-numbered sequels now go all the way up to XV, and by the time you add in the sequel’s sequels, like the recently rereleased Final Fantasy X-2, and spinoffs like Final Fantasy Tactics (which of course has a sequel of its own, too), there doesn’t seem to be anything “final” about the series at all.

Some gamers will be quick to point out, though, that had the original Final Fantasy not been a hit, Square wouldn’t have had the financial resources to keep going and would have had to shut its doors, and the title is a nod to that desperation. Others will correct them, saying that in fact the “Final” portion of the title was chosen because Hironobu Sakaguchi, the driving force behind the creation of the series and its most popular installments, was going to quit the gaming industry if the first Final Fantasy wasn’t a success.

But as Sakaguchi himself recently revealed, neither of those was really the reason Square decided to call what would go on to be its defining game series Final Fantasy.

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Toyota Chocobos?! Iconic Final Fantasy music used in new car ad 【Videos】

Following several years of building dependable, affordable, yet almost utterly soulless automobiles, Toyota is trying to get back to creating and market cars with a sense of joy and playfulness. After all, it’s a waste to treat driving as just going from Point A to Point B in the dullest way possible instead of the fun journey it has the potential to be.

That’s why in its newest commercial, Toyota is invoking the spirit of adventure with a fleet of yellow hybrids running about the countryside with the musical accompaniment of one of the most instantly recognizable pieces of Final Fantasy music every composed.

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Star Ocean 5 announced for PlayStation 3 and 4 as developer tri-Ace remains in the console arena

In the video game industry, tri-Ace occupies an unusual place in that quite a lot of gamers have never heard of it. On the other hand, out of those that do recognize the name of the developer, many are intensely loyal fans, largely thanks to the strengths of tri-Ace’s Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile franchises, in particular the games’ detailed worlds and combat systems that innovatively mix action and strategy.

So when tri-Ace was acquired earlier this year by mobile game developer Nepro Japan, many feared that the team’s talents for intricate craftsmanship would be wasted as it shifted to simplified smartphone titles. That doesn’t seem to be the case yet, though, as tri-Ace has just announced its newest project, Star Ocean 5, for PlayStation 3 and 4.

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Lifelong SaGa Frontier fan makes real-life princess outfit that’s a true labour of love【Photos】

Late-nineties roleplaying game SaGa Frontier may have had mixed reviews in North America, where critics slammed its non-linear gameplay as lacking in focus, but the game was a huge success in Japan.

And 17 years on from the game’s original release, one Japanese fan has finally achieved her lifelong dream of recreating the dress of Princess White Rose (aka Shirobara Hime), and she’s got the pictures to prove it!

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Gamers puzzled as Square Enix files separate trademark applications for “Squaresoft” and “Enix”

As someone who’s been playing video games long enough to remember when the ideas of putting a game on a CD or making a controller with more than two face buttons were considered revolutionary, I always have to stop myself from referring to the company behind the Final Fantasy series as Square. That’s because in 2003 Square merged with role-playing game rival Enix, publishers of Dragon Quest, to become the single company Square Enix.

But while the fusing of the two industry giants created one of Japan’s most respected gaming entities, it seems the formerly separate companies haven’t entirely lost their individual identities, as Square Enix Holdings recently filed separate trademark applications for the names Squaresoft and Enix.

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Square Enix now hiring Final Fantasy XV staff, might be planning to work them to death

Even though the Final Fantasy video game franchise has spawned a long string of sequels, very few of the games feature characters or plotlines from previous instalments. Instead, each title draws from a pool of visual cues, music compositions, and gameplay systems that together constitute the games’ shared legacy.

For example, almost every Final Fantasy includes summoning magic, where players call upon dragons, ifrits, or other powerful monsters to aid them in battle. Developer Square Enix can’t do the same in real life, though, which is why it’s currently recruiting employees to work on the upcoming Final Fantasy XV.

Obviously, you won’t need to know how to cast Meteo or throw a Dolphin Blow uppercut to land a spot on the Final Fantasy XV team. Having a heroic level of physical constitution might come in handy, though, as looking through Square Enix’s want ads suggests they might be planning to work the project members until they drop.

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New Final Fantasy may not have playable female characters, will have almost naked male hero

When video game developer Square Enix gave the largest preview to date of its upcoming role-playing game Final Fantasy XV, it rubbed some fans the wrong way. Just about every installment since the series switched to having set characters has featured female adventurers, but the company announced that the playable cast of Final Fantasy XV is entirely male.

While details are still scarce about the separate but concurrently in-development game Mevius Final Fantasy, newly released screenshots of the smartphone title also feature only a male character. With a Y-chromosome suddenly seeming like a necessary bit of adventuring equipment, does this mean Final Fantasy has consciously decided to turn its back on the many female fans who’ve helped it achieve the success it enjoys today?

Probably not, since while it’s not certain whether or not Mevius Final Fantasy will allow female gamers to create a character in their own likenesses, it’s absolutely certain that the game is planning to provide a generous serving of extra-lean beefcake.

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Japanese convenience store’s registers play Final Fantasy victory theme for special items 【Video】

Although video game developer Square Enix had dabbled in a few direct follow-ups here and there, whenever the counter for its Final Fantasy role-playing franchise rolls over to a new numbered sequel, the company completely ditches the old cast of heroes and villains, and even the previous game’s world.

But even if the narrative is starting from scratch each time, that doesn’t mean the games aren’t connected. For example, every Final Fantasy has scenes where the player rides on airships or horse-sized flightless birds called chocobos. The cursor is always a white glove with a pointing index finger, and major victories in battle are marked by the sounds of the series’ instantly recognizable “Victory Fanfare.”

Gamers have already heard the short but sweet melody played by the NES, Super NES, and PlayStations 1 through 3, and this month, they can look forward to hearing it someplace new: at the register of Lawson convenience stores when they purchase special items.

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The 20 most fun PlayStation titles, as picked by Japanese gamers

Two decades ago, Sony had displayed about as much skill in producing video games as Nintendo had Hollywood movies. Sure, Sony had published games sporadically under its Sony Imagesoft brand, but it’s hard to build much consumer goodwill with such a small catalogue of titles, especially when most of said titles are terrible.

Then, on December 3, 1994, the company launched the original PlayStation. While the 3DO and CD-i of fellow electronics manufacturers Panasonic and Phillips would both end in ignominious failure, Sony would go on to slice itself a very large piece of the pie in its new industry, dominating two generations of console gaming and remaining competitive ever since.

Of course, hardware isn’t worth much without fun games to play on it. Thankfully, Sony’s systems had plenty of hits, as shown by a poll of Japanese gamers’ 20 favorite PlayStation games.

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Gamer newlyweds see eye-to-eye as they slice their wedding cake with Zelda’s Master Sword

There are two things that I think stand out as particularly memorable from my oldest brother’s wedding ceremony. One is the stuttering mess of a toast I gave as his best man. The other is that he and his wife cut their cake with an honest to God sword, since my brother, being a member of the Marine Corps, got married in his dress uniform, complete with Mameluke saber.

It definitely made for a much more dramatic effect than slicing up dessert with some puny kitchen knife, and you might now find yourself wondering how you could incorporate a similar idea for your own wedding reception. Thankfully, you don’t even need an official work blade, just a love of iconic video games, as demonstrated by the couple in Japan that cut their cake with the The Legend of Zelda’s Master Sword.

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Gorgeous animated video shows Hatsune Miku as designed by Final Fantasy’s Tetsuya Nomura

Given the massive success he’s since enjoyed as a video game character designer and director, it’s almost hard to remember how skeptical everyone initially was about Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura. When he stepped up to the plate as character designer for Final Fantasy VII, long-time fans were uneasy about his ability to fill the boots of predecessor and renowned artist Yoshitaka Amano. When Nomura announced Kingdom Hearts, a new series that would blend characters from Final Fantasy games and Disney animation, early reactions ranged from puzzled silence to nervous laughter.

Fast-forward 15 years, and Nomura has established himself as the single most influential person behind those two Square Enix franchises. As a matter of fact, his skills are now in so much demand that he’s produced his take on virtual idol Hatsune Miku, which was recently shown off in gorgeous animated form.

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Dressing up as Final Fantasy’s Squall for Halloween? You need this real-life gunblade 【Video】

Back at the start of the year, we all had the urge to go out and fight some monsters when we saw Hollywood blacksmith Tony Swatton recreate the massive sword wielded by Final Fantasy VII’s Sephiroth. Of course, Sephiroth is just one member of the gigantic collective cast of the long-running video game franchise. With so many more iconic weapons to choose from, it was only a matter of time until craftsmen went to work on armaments from the other games in the series, and next up is a real-life version of Squall’s gunblade from Final Fantasy VIII.

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We raid the new Final Fantasy restaurant on our quest for drinks, desserts, and blue ramen

Earlier this year, we stopped by Artnia, the café run by video game publisher Square Enix, to munch on buster sword chocolates and drink material cocktails. Just as you’d expect from the company behind some of Japan’s biggest RPG franchises, though, there’s now an upgraded sequel, the Eorzea Café, with an even larger menu of Final Fantasy themed foods.

Led by our sense of adventure and gnawing appetite, we journeyed to the strange and wonderful land of Tokyo’s Akihabara to check it out.

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Did a Dragon Quest slime car just appear on the expressway in Japan?

As fun as it is to step into the shoes of a video game RPG hero for a few hours, imagine how it would be to live your whole life, day in and day out, under the in-game rules and systems. Some of the differences would be pretty inconvenient, such as a mysterious force preventing you from ever going anywhere with more than three friends at a time. Others would be a definite plus, though, such as working hard at your job periodically making you not only more intelligent, but stronger, faster, and luckier, too.

But perhaps the weirdest change would be knowing that anytime you left your neighborhood and wanted to go from Point A to Point B, there was a chance of monsters randomly appearing, like two Japanese businessmen thought was happening to them when they spotted what looked like a Dragon Quest slime car on the expressway.

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Gear up for Halloween parties, epic adventures with official Dragon Quest costume

Back in May, cosplay manufacturer Cospa released a real-life version of the eye-catching Hawaiian shirt worn by Dragon Ball’s martial arts master, Kame Sennin. But while that was perfect for the warm months of summer, it’s now time for fans of Dragon Ball to put away their beachwear. With the harsher temperatures of autumn coming, the only sensible thing to do is to change into warmer attire, like the soon-to-be-available outfit of the hero of the fifth installment of Dragon Quest, the other hit franchise artist Akira Toriyama serves as character designer for.

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Video game giant Square Enix to launch game streaming service for iOS and Android in October

A complaint that some video game fans have with the current crop of mobile titles is their unambitious scale. Designed to played in short bursts, their aim is often limited to providing a way to enjoyably kill a few minutes of spare time, which can leave those looking for a more engaging experience feeling cold and uninterested.

But everyone who’s shunned mobile gaming for that reason might have to rethink their stance come October, with the launch of a new cloud gaming service from Square Enix, Japan’s most storied developer of grand adventures.

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And the most popular video game developer in Japan is…

Whether you’re an avid gamer with over 100 titles in your library or you prefer to buy only new installments of your favorite series, chances are you have a favorite video game developer or two in mind. In an attempt to draw out the most popular names, one recent internet poll asked 500 Japanese men and women to share their opinions about their favorite game developers.

Can you guess the top three in the correct order? 

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Slimes in your glass are a good thing as long as they’re awesome Dragon Quest ice cubes

There are some things that are nice to have in your drink, such as those little paper umbrellas, or a shot of bourbon. On the other end of the spectrum, there are things no one’s happy about having slipped into their beverage, like a mickey, whether it be the mouse or the incapacitating drug.

Ordinarily, slimes would fall into the latter category. But what if the slime were actually an ice-cube, and shaped like the beloved mascot monsters from role-playing game series Dragon Quest?

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Final Fantasy Tactics concert is coming to Tokyo, completely free, and needs volunteers

Even though the numbered sequels in the Final Fantasy video game series stretch all the way up to 14, there are actually far more titles than that in the franchise. One of the most popular spinoffs to Square Enix’s massively successful role-playing game is Final Fantasy Tactics, thanks to its deep customization, complex and unpredictable plot, and stirring soundtrack.

The strategy role-playing game has been entertaining fans for the past 17 years, and as testament to its lasting appeal, this summer a symphony orchestra concert will be held dedicated to the music of Final Fantasy Tactics. And best of all, it’s free.

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A Dragon Quest slime glass draws near! What will you drink?

Even though Dragon Quest has been one of Japan’s most popular video game franchises since its start in 1986, it doesn’t really have an iconic hero. Like many long-running role-playing game series, each installment brings in a fresh cast of characters, and despite the name, Dragon Quest doesn’t have an instantly recognizable recurring dragon, either.

Instead, the face of the franchise is the lowly slime, ordinarily the very first enemy the player encounters. The monster shows up in each and every Dragon Quest game, and now, it’s ready to show up in your kitchen, too, with this wobbling slime drinking glass.

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