Square Co., Ltd.

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Square Co., Ltd. was a Japanese company founded in September 1986.

Square's first games were released for the Nintendo Family Computer ("Famicom," known as the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America, Europe, and Australia) and the Famicom Disk System. Their early games were not very successful, and by 1987 the company was faced with the possibility of bankruptcy. That same year, Square employee Hironobu Sakaguchi was charged with the creation of a game that might well prove to be the company's last. The result was Final Fantasy, a console role-playing game for the Famicom. It is rumored that the name Final Fantasy is derived from the fact that it was Square's last, or final chance to stay in the gaming industry. Final Fantasy did much better than Sakaguchi and Square had hoped, and led to a North American distribution deal with Nintendo of America, who released to market Final Fantasy in the United States in 1990.

Final Fantasy was followed by a sequel in 1988, marketed exclusively in Japan until Final Fantasy Origins. North American localization was originally planned for the Famicom version of the sequel, but given the age of the game at that point, and the immiment arrival of Nintendo's Super Famicom system, it was abandoned in favor of the 16-bit Final Fantasy IV.

Square has also made other widely known games such as Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, Xenogears, Final Fantasy Tactics, Brave Fencer Musashi, Vagrant Story, and Kingdom Hearts (done in collaboration with Disney Interactive).

Square agreed to merge with Enix (another Japanese company best known for its popular Dragon Quest series) in 2002 so as to curb development costs and become more competitive. In April of 2003 the merger was completed, forming the new company, Square Enix.

Subsidiaries and related corporations

Squaresoft is a brand name used by Square between 1992 and 2003. As such, the name is often used (incorrectly) to refer to the entire organization, but its corporate name remained Square Co., Ltd. until the Enix merger.

Square Soft, Inc. was established as the official North American subsidiary of Square in March 1989. It was responsible for the both the production and distribution of North American localizations of Square titles during the 16-bit era, and continued to produce English language localizations of Square games in the 32-bit era. It has also been responsible for the localizing a number of non-Square titles, including Capcom's Breath of Fire for the SNES and Sony's Wild ARMs 3 for the PlayStation 2. It developed the game Secret of Evermore for the SNES. It is currently known as Square Enix USA, Inc. Square Soft's original headquarters were in Redmond, WA, but it was relocated to Los Angeles, CA in 1997, where it remains to this day.

Square L.A., Inc. was established in August 1995. It was subsequently renamed Square USA, Inc.. It operates as a high-end computer-generated imagery research and development studio, and has been integral in the production of graphics for Square-produced games since the beginning of the 32-bit era. Its headquarters are in Los Angeles, CA.

Square Electronic Arts, L.L.C. was a joint venture between Square and Electronic Arts (EA) established in May 1998 to distribute Square-produced game titles in North America. Its counterpart was Electronic Arts Square, K.K., in Japan, which was established to distribute EA games in Asia. Both companies were folded at the end of March 2003 as a result of the merger of Square and Enix.

Square Europe, Ltd. was established in December 1998 to localize and market Square-developed games in Europe and Australia.

DigiCube Co, Ltd. was established in February 1996. It was formed to market and distribute games and related merchandising (toys, books, music, etc.) in Asia.

Square Pictures, Inc. was established in November 1997 to develop an produce computer-generated imagery films based on Square properties. It was folded in 2003, following the box-office failure of its only feature-length production, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within however, it did survive just long enough to create the CGI short-film, Final Flight of the Osiris for The Matrix spinoff DVD, Animatrix.

Quest was an independent software development studio established in July 1988, best known for the Ogre Battle series. Several team members, including Yasumi Matsuno, Hiroshi Minagawa and Akihiko Yoshida, left Quest in 1997 to join Square, where they worked on several titles for the Sony PlayStation, including Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. In June 2002, Quest was purchased by Square.

Square Visual Works Co., Ltd., Square Sounds Co., Ltd., Squarts Co., Ltd. and Square Next Co., Ltd. were all founded in June 1999. All were subsequently absorbed into Square Co., Ltd. in 2001 and 2002.



External links

de:Squaresoft fr:Squaresoft it:Squaresoft ja:スクウェア (ゲーム会社) pl:Square Co., Ltd.


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