Of all the game developers, Square Enix seems to acknowledge its back catalog better than most game developers. This year alone has seen Chrono Cross (albeit in a slightly messy port), Romancing SaGa Minstrel Song remaster, and NieR: Automata all make the jump to the Switch. And since the future looks equally bright with Octopath Traveler II and Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, why does this weekend’s announcement seem to be a little wrong?
First revealed at E3 2021 as a PC and mobile exclusive, it took Square Enix over 18 months to announce these console ports. The last of the Pixel Remasters – Final Fantasy VI – launched on Steam in February, so we at least understand waiting for all six hardware releases before announcing a port. And we know you need a big celebratory ad on the birthdays of one of the biggest franchises, and ports of classic games are always sure winners. Although, come spring 2023, we’ll be close to two years since FFI, II, and III came out on Steam and mobile.
For many people, the NES and SNES eras of Final Fantasy are very special. Plenty of RPG fans cut their teeth on Final Fantasy I, IV, and VI, while many Final Fantasy games and mainstays were created in II, III, and V. Physical Editions – Standard edition at £64.99 which includes all six games, and an The absolutely gorgeous Collector’s Edition for £244.99 (plus shipping) which includes a vinyl album, art book, adorable box and some small figurines. It’s a sumptuous limited edition that any fan would give up a lot of a generation to get – and Square Enix knew it.
Of course, there were some caveats when Square announced these long-awaited ports for the Switch (and PS4). First, in the UK, the re-release was announced at 6am on a Sunday morning, which is when most of us are still rubbing our eyes (and certainly not looking at emails or Twitter) — and in the US, that means they’ve found about This is at 1 a.m. on the East Coast. Secondly, both the Standard and Collector Editions were sold out in ‘limited quantities’ – the Standard Edition sold out in a matter of minutes, and at around £250, many budget editions – which are also now out of stock.
Both versions were exclusives to the Square Enix Store, so it’s unlikely (though not impossible) that there will be more available for purchase, and we know from the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 pre-order debacle that people will list copies of the game on eBay for exorbitant prices. Many fans feel left out of the festivities and will have to accept digital releases. [Note: Square Enix has since restocked both editions on the North American store without any warning, so it’s worth keeping an eye out if you’re desperate for one.]
We have to wonder how long Square Enix has been sitting on this news, too. We understand this was announced on the series’ 35th anniversary, but it’s something the company has been aware of for a while. In July 2021, the publisher said the console releases would be based on demand — although many fans were already crying out for these games to hit the Switch (these were the days before Steam Deck), but the demand has been there since almost day one.
Square Enix has released the games on Steam and Mobile, but with Final Fantasy VI only arriving in February of this year. We’re totally waiting for all six to come out before letting them hit consoles – and Square Enix has also been working on patching these versions for a while (Final Fantasy was last patched in August of this year, for example). But Square always seemed to know it wanted to bring games to other systems, and instead teased them over a long period of time before pre-orders suddenly dropped at the crack of dawn.
One sticking point of the PC versions remains, however — the font. Instead of opting for a vintage, pixelated font, Square Enix opted for a thin, white, minimalist affair that screams “quick and dirty mobile port” and can be very hard to read at times. Square Enix hasn’t updated this at all, with modders coming to the rescue to create more appropriate and readable text for the game. And when the Switch version was initially announced, Steam screenshots were used to announce it.
A few hours after it was announced, the RPG site discovered that Square Enix had removed every screenshot containing cute spider-writing. According to the RPG website, multiple sources have confirmed to them that the console versions will Use a new line. Since we still need to wait until Spring 2023 for a Switch version, maybe the extra time will be used to get this streak right. Why it might cause such a problem when the problem in the PC is fixed so quickly, we can’t say – we can only hope for a fix!
We’re glad we at least got all the Pixel Remasters at once on Switch. These games are important parts of Nintendo and RPG history. Line plus aside, these transformers look like Great. tIt’s really great colors (imagine those pixels on an OLED!), and the remastered music is absolutely amazing. These are also the “real” versions of their original releases, which means that some of the content from GBA and other releases is not present, but the basics are. Square still puts a lot of effort into these adapters, acknowledging their importance to the video game, and their popularity reflects that. Honestly, why the company wouldn’t anticipate demand for the physical copy is beyond us, but you’re in.
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