Saturday, January 14, 2006

Square Enix Publishing Grandia III Could be Either a Good Thing or a Bad Thing

Grandia II for the Dreamcast was a spectacular, top notch RPG. It was filled with memorable characters, spectacular dungeons, challenging puzzles. Perhaps, best of all, it was one thing that most RPGs weren’t: it was funny. You’d be hard pressed not to get a few chuckles after listening to the character’s hilarious dialogue.

Now, arguably the world’s most well-known RPG publisher/developer, Square Enix, is publishing Grandia III. Now, while the average gamer/RPG fan might think this is a good idea (a kick-arse RPG series is getting published by a company that is known for kick-arse RPGs), in reality, it can be either a good thing or a bad thing.

First, I’ll get the bad out of the way.

Many people flocked to the two Grandia games to have an alternative to typical SquareSoft RPG fare. Instead of serious, emotional, pointy-haired heroes, (which you’ll find in any Final Fantasy game), we got hilarious and though-inducing characters like Ryudo and Millenia. In my opinion, many of the characters from the Grandia games are more interesting than Final Fantasy ones (Sephiroth is a pansy!). In terms of design, the Grandia games may have seemed like typical Japanese-produced RPG fare, but beyond that you would find so much that was set it apart from the Final Fantasy games that it was amazing. The two Grandia games also did not heavily rely on CG cinemas as much as the Final Fanasy games (or any game by Squaresoft did). The game’s storylines unfolded in unique, interesting ways.

So, while you may be thinking that Square Enix is “Just publishing the game”, publishers required standards for them to publish the game. If Square Enix doesn’t like what Game Arts (the developers of the Grandia series) is doing with the game, they can demand for them to change features in it or they simply won’t publish the game. It’s as simple as that. Will Grandia III be more serious and similar to the typical Square Enix game? Only time will tell. But let it be known that they can be playing a huge role in how the final product comes about.

However, there is also and upside to this. When Enix’s U.S. devision was just a small company that would publish and develop some very good RPGs (such as the Dragon Warrior series, and, yes, the original Grandia), they did not have much luck having these games catch the average mainstream player’s eye. Enix was simply not a large company in the U.S. (even though they were a huge company in Japan), so they did not have much money for advertising and marketing these games. However, when SquareSoft and Enix merged into Square Enix in late 2002, things were looking better for Enix. Although Dragon Warrior VII did very poorly in sales in the U.S., thanks in big part to Square’s help, the most recent release in the series, ‘Dragon Warrior VIII: Journey of the Cursed King’ caught on with the mainstream and has been selling at a steady rate. This can happen with Grandia III. More players experiencing the series are certainly not a bad thing…

….But possibly losing what made the series so special in the first place can be.


At 2:31 PM, Blogger Ender said...

Good valid points, Ross. And I would have to agree with all of them. I really loved Grandia II on the DC, and I have high hopes for this one.

I also am a Square-Enix fan, although I am more of a old Squaresoft fan. I have faith that SE will allow the makers of G3 to keep it faithful to the series. I could be wrong. Hopefully, if SE injects anything into the game, it will only be the best parts of the SE empire, not the soggy typical stuff.

Either way, publishing under the umbrella of Square-Enix almost guarantees at least decent sales.

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Ross said...

Outlook isn't looking good so far... Grandia III has a 2.5 customer review average on

I tried translating some of the stuff that the reviews said to English, but it did not work well and most of it didnt make sense. One person said something about being able to play as two characters, though playing with one is impossible, or something like that. Yeah, it doesent make sense...

I really hope that all of these reviews are somehow wrong, as this was one of my most anticipated games of this generation.

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Ender said...

I don't find myself agreeing with the Japanese market very often. I'm not too worried.

Plus, you and I both know that some of the greatest games ever made got poor reviews by gaming companies, magazines, and consumers.

At 10:01 PM, Blogger Ross said...

True, very true. I also looked at their reviews for Fable. It only has a three average on their site, yet I loved that game.

And I can name countless other games that got unfair score by game magazines.

We'll just have to use our own judgment until Grandia III is released. Which is to say, I can't wait!

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Ender said...

Agreed. What do you think of Final Fantasy XII so far?

At 1:17 AM, Blogger Ross said...

I haven't played the demo, but from screens it looks kinda... eh to me. The characters look a little, dare I say it, fruity? Scrubking (who writes another gaming blog) said posted unfavorable views about the battle system in the demo on his own blog. I'll just have to wait and see though... Personally I haven't really liked much of what Square Enix has put out... I'm more of a Squaresoft fan myself.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Ender said...

What is Scrubking's blog address?

And yea, I'm with you on both counts: the battle system is iffy, and I like Squaresoft better too.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Ross said...

Alot of the stuff he posts is actually pretty interesting.


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