Thursday, July 2, 2009

Chrono Trigger's Next Sequel: Why SquareEnix Disgusts Me

Note: Thanks to good sir Seifersythe for correcting me on a numerical issue I initially made with this rant. The correction has helped to further prove my point here. Good man!

Yes, I know. This is pretty old news at this point. And there's not much to make a rant on. But I really just had to say something about it.

So here's the deal, for all 0 of you who haven't heard yet: a major representative of SquareEnix has gone on record to say that the company will not make, nor consider making, another game in the Chrono series because sales of the Chrono Trigger rerelease on the DS are not what they wanted. When told that fans were and always had been fanatically yammering, as fans often do, for another CT sequel, SquareEnix disregarded it by saying "That's not what trusty Mr. Sales Chart says!"

A few facts relevant to this situation:

Chrono Trigger is an SNES game released over 10 years ago initially.
CT is almost universally loved, and one of the most famous RPGs of all time.
It has already been rereleased before, on the PS1.
The DS release was priced at the same cost of a brand new game.
The DS release had sales of over 800,000 copies last year, its year of release. RPG Dark Cloud 1 has sold, years after being made, a total of about 800,000 copies as well. It has had a continuation of its series. RPGs Breath of Fire 4, Suikoden 4, and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 1 all sold significantly fewer copies during their years of release, as is the case of many, many other RPGs. Breath of Fire 4's units sold was less than in its initial year than CT's DS release, yet was deemed a success and had its series continued for a 5th game, not to mention was deemed one of the PS1's Greatest Hits. Suikoden 4 also had less than half the units sold in its launch year, yet not only had its series continued, but also had a direct sequel, Suikoden Tactics, made for it. And of course, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 1, a SquareEnix game, was deemed a high enough success with fewer units sold in its initial year than CT DS to have its series continued, as well.
Putting out a remake of a game with minimal added content (new translation, bonus dungeon, programming it to work on the DS) costs a LOT less in time and, more importantly, money, than making a new game does, so SquareEnix makes a lot more on average from a remake purchased at full price than a regular, new game.
Chrono Trigger's SNES release sold multiple millions of copies.
Chrono Cross sold well, probably because it was CT's sequel more than anything else.
Final Fantasy Chronicles, the package that contained the PS1 rerelease of CT, was very successful.

So basically, Chrono Trigger has been wildly successful for the company, is a legendary name of gaming, and has proven that a sequel to it can be profitable. Its first rerelease sold well, and its latest rerelease doesn't seem to me to be a sales failure, especially given how cheap it had to have been to produce it. The fact that SquareEnix can move hundreds of thousands of copies of a decade-old 16-bit game at a new game's price that has been rereleased once before in the recent enough past without a whole lot of advertising is pretty incredible, if you ask me. Not just that, but it's greatly outsold many other RPGs known to be successful during their initial years, some of which were new SquareEnix games!

Now, for the record, I don't want a new CT sequel. I really, really hope we never get one. Because as far as sequels go, Square and SquareEnix have always had a horrible track record, particularly in recent years--although, honestly, SquareEnix has just been terrible all around in the last couple years. I see no evidence whatsoever from their products, statements, or general business attitude to believe that they would produce a worthwhile CT sequel. I'd even be surprised if a CT sequel they made wasn't actually WORSE than the first one they tried--and you've all probably picked up on my great dislike for Chrono Cross by this point. I love CT, perhaps more than any other I've ever played. I don't want them fucking around with it.

Nonetheless, this latest little stunt of SquareEnix is just repulsive to me. If the company could just take a moment to remove its head from its ass long enough to look at the big picture instead of search its colon for its next Final Fantasy 7 sequel/prequel/whatever, it would recognize that there is ample evidence to prove that there would be plenty of profitable interest in another CT sequel. But no, it wants to bitch and whine and moan because its latest transparent, heinous attempt to cash in on its fans with another cheaply-made but expensively-priced remake didn't sucker enough fools for its liking.*

It's as short-sighted as it is callous, and shows the company's true apathy** toward the people it owes its existence to--long-term, loyal fans, ones who will keep interest in a good product long after its initial debut. The company's current plan of action for quick, easy sales relies heavily on those fans' support in both sales and word of mouth--a significant portion of SquareEnix's market for its countless remakes are people who owned the game the first time around and are just further supporting the company by getting it again, and people who have HEARD those old fans go on and on about how great these old games were. This is also true of its business plan of sequels and prequels to older games, too--the people buying FF7's countless spin-offs and FF4's sequel and so on are significantly comprised of old fans who loved the original. So instead of giving one of their most profitable demographics, to say nothing of that demographic's worth as a consumer simply by terms of loyalty, an ear and letting them know that they're appreciated by at least considering their wants, what does SquareEnix do?

It makes a final, conclusive statement to prove that it cares for nothing, absolutely nothing, but making a buck. Or yen, in this case. Quality, fans, pride, they all fall before the mighty power of money. Disgusting.

* Hypocritically, I might add, since it's made series continuations for games that had less profitable launch years recently!

** "Apathy" is me being very generous and giving SquareEnix the benefit of the doubt. What I REALLY think this move shows is real, venomous SPITE for its consumers. But I wouldn't want to be accused of not being objective.

...Well, being LESS objective, anyway.


  1. I know this is kinda old, but I just wanted to say that this is pretty much Nintendo's stance on anything related to EarthBound/Mother. Even going so far as to turn a blind eye to the fans outcry and eventual translation of Mother 3. They even went so far as to rub it in the fans faces by spoiling a large part of the game in Smash Brothers Brawl.

    I suppose that's better than bringing the hammer down on anyone interested in doing a Chrono Trigger fangame, as SquareEnix is purported to have done at least twice.

  2. I disagree I think Chrono Cross is a great I know this is your opinion but I have my opinion as well.

    The reason I like Chrono Cross is the story and while the battle system can be annoying I still think this is a fun game.

  3. I don't want a CT sequel. I'm someone who actually enjoyed the experience of playing Chrono Cross, more or less, who can still look at it and never want another game with those problems.

    What I DO want, is a game made by a team that looks at CT and explore what that game did RIGHT. It may be a simple and somewhat cliched game, but it's built on very solid foundations, foundations Square, Enix, and S-E have all done a very good job of building and scrapping with every single game they make.