Now that Club Nintendo is closing its doors, it's safe to wonder if this will be the end of the physical reward system. We go over a brief history of some of the rewards granted to gamers from Nintendo Power strategy guides to soundtracks and weigh it against the digitized reward systems.
Square-Enix Must Really Hate Money
For Square-Enix it seems the bulk of their “hating money” tactics lie directly in not localizing titles. Square likes to re-release titles, remake them, or come out with the strangest but most unique games. Most of them are never seen outside of Japan, however.
For years and years we’ve had to hear announcements for games like that being announced only for Japanese audiences. It’s almost to the point where whenever Square puts up a new countdown clock on a website I just can’t get excited anymore. Why? Because there’s too damn high of a chance that I’ll never be able to play whatever they’re announcing.
Since the Nintendo DS came out, Square-Enix has been on fire with “hating money”. A total of 64 games since 2003 never made it out of Japan. While some of them may be for Japan-only cartoons, anime, shows, or movies a lot of them had the potential for release in other regions.
Let’s look at the six top reasons why Square-Enix hates money:
No Kingdom Hearts Final Mix or Final Fantasy International Version games for North America
For anyone not knowledgeable about Final Mix or International Version, they are basically “director’s cuts” or “game of the year” re-releases for key Square-Enix franchises. Kingdom Hearts currently has three Final Mixes out in Japan for the first game, second, and even Birth by Sleep. They add a ton of new content including some of the coolest boss fights.
Final Fantasy is the same way but with International Versions. While these versions for the VII games are just ports of the American versions to other regions, X, X-2, XII, and XIII had massive changes in their International Versions that are not seen in the American games. In fact, XII’s International Version is severely different from the normal version we got here.
These versions have never been announced for a North American release and because of this, it is highly rumored that Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix will never see the light of day on our shores due to the HD version of Kingdom Hearts 1 being the Final Mix version.
Key PSP games not on Vita store
The Vita may not be selling like hotcakes but the available game selection is sizzling right now. There have been key releases throughout the past few months and when you add it all up, the Vita is a nice chunk of portable gaming. However, when you look at the available PSP games to download you can see a few missing. Specifically, the Vita’s PSN store is missing huge hits from the PSP library such as Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, both made by Square-Enix.
These games are synonymous with “best games for the PSP” and yet they are unable to be played on the Vita (or the PSP Go, for a matter of fact).
I know I would love to roll around with Zach Fair on my Vita’s large screen. I’d also like to play through Aqua’s story again in Birth By Sleep. C’mon, Square…
The best rated Final Fantasy game in years is no where to be seen outside of Japan
I’m talking about the PSP masterpiece Final Fantasy Type-0. For those of you who have not heard of this game, let me run it by you quickly: 2 UMD discs, improved and mastered Crisis Core-like gameplay, insanely emotional, breathtaking graphics, unforgettable story and characters. Sound like something Final Fantasy has been missing lately? Well, you can’t play it unless you know Japanese.
This is mind blogging. Square-Enix basically continues to say there is no demand for Type-0 in America. Obviously they wouldn’t release this on the PSP since that is dead as bricks here so they are talking about the way the Vita is selling. All they need to do is release this gem on the Vita and have a system bundle with a special looking system and boom, you got traction immediately.
Type-0 is the kind of the game that can be a system seller. Holding it back until sales rise is a bad choice. Also, don’t even think about releasing it as a PSP game on the PSN store. Type-0 needs to be a Vita release and if they announce it at E3, show off the bundled console, and get it out in July or August, then color me surprised and happy as hell.
No Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box Set outside of Japan
Ever hear of the 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box Set? This thing is gorgeous. It contains Final Fantasy I through XIII in their original formats (III is on a PSP UMD disc), a ton of art, two-disc music set, and an exclusive item for Final Fantasy XIV. All of that comes in a beautifully crafted box and goes for around 35,000 Yen. Well, it did when you could pre-order it. Good luck finding it for anything close to that number.
The thing that really ticks me off is that all of those games have released in America and a lot of art books have as well. You can get the music in America, too. So why is this Ultimate Box Set only for the Japanese?
Square-Enix’s missing DS and 3DS titles in America
There’s no denying that Square-Enix had a decent presence with the Nintendo DS and even is keeping up with the 3DS a bit. However, some of their best titles are still Japan-only. For instance, I’ll name Sigma Harmonics, Bravely Default, Blood of Bahamut, Sa-Ga 2 remake, and Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland and go on to say that while Square-Enix released a bunch of titles worldwide for the DS they held back a lot of their great experiences.
While Bravely Default may get localization sometime this year, the same can’t be said for the other titles. I’m surprised Terry’s Wonderland never made it over here since the DQ: Monsters series did really well.
Stuck in the past but not giving the fans what they want
Let me explain that: Square-Enix basically said that in order for a game like Final Fantasy VII to get an HD remake the company would have to produce a new Final Fantasy game that becomes more popular.
Well, let me tell you something guys, not gonna happen. No matter what you do right now, even if Versus XIII or XIV: A Realm Reborn do insanely well, you’re going to have a huge percentage of fans who want to live in the past because they either loved the games that much, miss the old gameplay, or don’t enjoy your newer Final Fantasy games.
You say you want to move forward before revisiting the past yet we have three versions each for Final Fantasy I to IV, two side games and a movie (which has two versions) for Final Fantasy VII, an upcoming HD remake for X, and trust me I could go on and on about other series as well (like the three versions of Chrono Trigger).
I respect the want to move forward and all but right now the series is hurting and you should feed the fans before they pack up and leave.
Face it, Squeenix, your past will always be there. The fans want these remakes/re-masters so just do them. You never had to make that tech demo featuring Final Fantasy VII, did you? That’s what started all of this so just complete it and move on. You’ll never hear the end of it plus, come on, you know how much money you would rake in.
A Final Fantasy VII HD would become one of the biggest sellers in gaming history. Again, just another example of why Square-Enix hates money.
Before we end here, let’s look at a list of the games that should be released in America made by Square-Enix:
- Blood of Bahamut
- Bravely Default: Flying Fairy
- Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Portable
- Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland 3D
- Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online
- Final Fantasy Type-0
- Final Fantasy X International Version
- Final Fantasy X-2 International Version
- Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System
- Final Fantasy XIII Ultimate Hites International Version
- Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
- Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix
- Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix
- Sigma Harmonics
- Sa-Ga 2 DS remake
- Sa-Ga 3 DS remake
P.S. I’m still waiting for The Bouncer 2.