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Square-Enix Dumps Its Half-Dead Western Division

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By Nelson Schneider - 05/08/22 at 03:30 PM CT

We at MeltedJoystick have never truly understood what Square-Enix was thinking back in 2009 when it bought the dying carcasses of Eidos and Crystal Dynamics – the Interplay-era Western developers responsible for Leaden Age PC games the likes of ‘Tomb Raider,’ ‘Deus Ex,’ and ‘Thief’ – and grafted those studios and development philosophies onto a Japanese megacorporation that built its entire reputation on a foundation of 16-and-32-bit console RPGs.

Obviously Square-Enix has finally come around to our side of the argument, and doesn’t know why they did that either, because news broke this week that they are now selling-off Eidos and Crystal Dynamics (along with their homebrewed Western-style developer, Square-Enix Montreal) to Embracer Group, a Scandinavian holding company that used to go by the more-familiar name of THQ Nordic. Even more shocking, in this era of Sony and Microsoft spending BILLIONS of dollars to buy studios and IP, Square-Enix only asked Embracer Group for $300 million… granted, that’s about $297 million more than Eidos, Crystal Dynamics, and their associated IPs are actually worth… but still!

This is just the latest head-scratching news about Square-Enix to break over the last few years. First the company was a “complete failure,” then the company finally managed to release a good game for the first time in a decade… but lied about it being a ‘complete’ product at launch. Oddly enough, while Square-Enix looks to be divesting itself of all Western IP, it will actually continue to act as publisher for third-party Western studios, so non-RPGs like “Outriders” and the ‘Life is Strange’ series are still wrapped in Square-Enix’s uncaring embrace. Could this be a sign that the House of ‘Final Fantasy’ and ‘Dragon Quest’ finally has its eye on the ball again?

NOPE!

In a press release issued by Square-Enix to explain the deal, the conjoined abomination revealed that they are still chasing stupid Western trends instead of focusing on being a traditional Japanese company that produces exceptional work. Buzzwords like “blockchain,” “AI,” and “Cloud” appear in the press release’s second paragraph!

It is so frustrating to see two of the greatest Japanese developers/publishers from the Golden Age of gaming continuing to live-on as an increasingly-decrepit Frankenstein’s Monster. For a minute, there, it looked like the release of “Dragon Quest 11” might have signaled to the company that doing the work they’re known for, and doing it well, is the most reasonable path forward. But, alas, today’s Square-Enix would rather chase absurd fads or pursue technologies in which they have no expertise. How are former Square-Enix fans such as myself supposed to maintain any level of expectations for upcoming sequels like “Final Fantasy 16” and “Dragon Quest 12” to be something other than corporatized, designed-by-committee dumpster fires, when the company behind these projects proves time and time again that it’s completely out of control?

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