Many of you may have noticed that, over the course of the past week or so, there have been a lot of rumors floating around concerning Square developing games for the GameCube. Now, this has been a hot topic for quite some time, but there seems to be more speculation going on with the impending release of the GameCube in Japan just over two months away, so I have decided to throw in my two cents on the issue.

First of all, let it be known that nothing has been confirmed yet, and at this point all we can do is guess based on the information we have. We’ll have to wait for an official announcement to know anything for sure, so while you’re reading, take EVERYTHING with a grain of salt. Now let’s get started, shall we?

We’ll begin with the information of why Square would NOT develop for the GameCube. It has been a long time since a Squaresoft game made an appearance on one of Nintendo’s consoles, and developing for the PSX turned out to be a good move for Square. The Final Fantasy series reached cult status, and Square has built a HUGE following over the years. Nintendo, however, has lost its support over those same years. Many gamers looked to the PSX for their entertainment, and with the release of the PS2, Nintendo would really need to have something spectacular up it’s sleeve to lure them back.

Currently Square plans to release FFX on the PS2, not the GameCube and not the Xbox. When asked if they had plans for a game on a system other than the PS2, a Square rep replied, “Absolutely not”. Also, Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi has made some pretty brutal statements about certain 3rd party developers, and he also commented on how the Final Fantasy series has undergone no innovation since it’s first installment on the NES. Obviously, these statements were not real popular with the folks over at Square. What is really odd about all this is the fact that, for a while anyway, it seemed as though the relationship between the two companies was improving. Then, after the statements made by Yamauchi, things crumbled once again.

Ah, things may have crumbled, but that does not mean they’re beyond repair. Despite the harsh words from both companies, there seems to be a few glimmering rays of hope. For one, TOSE, a company that did some work on some of the Final Fantasy FMV sequences, is supposedly working on 10 GameCube products at the moment. It is not known for which companies the work is being done, but it is certainly possible that one of those projects is from Square. Also, Tomoyuki Takechi of Square has commented that he hopes any hardware that is able to go online will be able to play Final Fantasy in the future. Keep in mind that the GameCube will support online play, so perhaps this was a hint of things to come.

It is also known, that at some point Square did express some interest in developing for the GameCube. After all, the GameCube is supposedly very developer-friendly, and putting it’s games on multiple platforms could mean higher profits for Square, and now that Nintendo has abandoned the cartridge format, games should be relatively cheap to produce.

Now remember, none of this means that Square will definitely be producing or not producing games for the GameCube, but it does offer us a few clues from which we can draw our own conclusion. Perhaps E3 will bring us the answers we seek, but for now, all we can do is hope and wait.

By Ryan Schaefer – 01/09/02

Screenshots for Square & Nintendo