Square (company)

Last updated
Square Co., Ltd.
Public
Industry Interactive entertainment
Publishing
Fate Merged with Enix
Successor Square Enix
FoundedSeptember 1986;32 years ago (1986-09) [1]
Founder Masafumi Miyamoto
DefunctApril 1, 2003;15 years ago (2003-04-01)
Headquarters Meguro, Tokyo, Japan [1]
Key people
Tomoyuki Takechi, Chairman
Hironobu Sakaguchi, EVP (1991-2001)
Hisashi Suzuki, President and CEO (1995-2001)
Yoichi Wada, CFO (June 2000-September 2001), President (December 2001-2003)
Products See complete products listing
Number of employees
888 (September 2002) [1]
Subsidiaries See subsidiaries and related corporations
Website www.square.co.jp

Square Co., Ltd.(株式会社スクウェア,Kabushiki-gaisha Sukuwea) was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1986 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 to form Square Enix. The company also used SquareSoft as a brand name to refer to their games, [2] and the term is occasionally used to refer to the company itself. In addition, "Square Soft, Inc" was the name of the company's American arm before the merger, after which it was renamed to "Square Enix, Inc".

Masafumi Miyamoto is the founder of Square. Miyamoto graduated from Waseda University in 1983, and joined his father's electric power conglomerate, Den-Yu-Sha as a programmer in their software division. After transforming the games division from a group of generalist programmers into specialists working together on a common project, the group was spun out into its own company in 1986. Miyamoto served as president of the company until 1991, though he remained a major shareholder in the company.

Mergers and acquisitions transactions in which the ownership of companies, other business organizations or their operating units are transferred or combined

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are transactions in which the ownership of companies, other business organizations, or their operating units are transferred or consolidated with other entities. As an aspect of strategic management, M&A can allow enterprises to grow or downsize, and change the nature of their business or competitive position.

Enix Japanese video game publisher

Enix Corporation was a Japanese video game publisher that produced video games, anime and manga. Enix is known for publishing the Dragon Quest series of role-playing video games.

Contents

History

Square originated in October 1983 as a computer game software division of Den-Yu-Sha, a power line construction company owned by the father of Masafumi Miyamoto, the eventual founder of Square Co Ltd in 1986. While at the time game development was usually conducted by only one programmer, Masafumi Miyamoto believed that it would be more efficient to have graphic designers, programmers and professional story writers working together on common projects. [3] Square's first two titles were The Death Trap and its sequel Will: The Death Trap II , both designed by part-time employee Hironobu Sakaguchi and released on the NEC PC-8801. [3] Despite an initial reluctance to develop for video game consoles, Square entered the Nintendo Famicom market in December 1985 with the porting of Thexder . [3]

Electric power transmission bulk movement of electrical energy from a generating site to an electrical substation

Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of electrical energy from a generating site, such as a power plant, to an electrical substation. The interconnected lines which facilitate this movement are known as a transmission network. This is distinct from the local wiring between high-voltage substations and customers, which is typically referred to as electric power distribution. The combined transmission and distribution network is known as the "power grid" in North America, or just "the grid". In the United Kingdom, India, Malaysia and New Zealand, the network is known as the "National Grid".

<i>The Death Trap</i>

The Death Trap (ザ・デストラップ) is a text adventure video game developed and published by Square for the NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, and Fujitsu FM-7 in 1984. The game and its supporting computer platforms were only released in Japan.

Hironobu Sakaguchi game designer

Hironobu Sakaguchi is a Japanese video game designer, director, producer, writer, and film director. He is best known as creator of the Final Fantasy series, which he conceived the original concept for the first title Final Fantasy and also directed several later entries in the franchise, and has had a long career in gaming with over 100 million units of video games sold worldwide. He left Square Enix and founded a studio called Mistwalker in 2004.

In September 1986, Square spun off from Den-Yu-Sha and became an independent company officially named Square Co., Ltd. [4] Sakaguchi then became a full-time employee as the Director of Planning and Development of the company. After releasing several unsuccessful games for the Famicom, Square relocated to Ueno, Tokyo in 1987 and developed a role-playing video game titled Final Fantasy , inspired by Enix's success with the genre, Dragon Quest (later released in North America as Dragon Warrior). [5] With 400,000 copies sold, Final Fantasy spawned multiple sequels over the years and became Square's main franchise. [3]

Full-time employment is employment in which a person works a minimum number of hours defined as such by their employer. Full-time employment often comes with benefits that are not typically offered to part-time, temporary, or flexible workers, such as annual leave, sickleave, and health insurance. Part-time jobs are mistakenly thought by some to not be careers. However, legislation exists to stop employers from discriminating against part-time workers so this should not be a factor when making decisions on career advancement. They generally pay more than part-time jobs per hour, and this is similarly discriminatory if the pay decision is based on part-time status as a primary factor. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not define full-time employment or part-time employment. This is a matter generally to be determined by the employer. The definition by employer can vary and is generally published in a company's Employee Handbook. Companies commonly require from 32 to 40 hours per week to be defined as full-time and therefore eligible for benefits.

1987 has seen many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as Contra, Street Fighter and Metal Gear.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Square has also made other widely known games such as Chrono Trigger , Chrono Cross , Secret of Mana , Legend of Mana , Xenogears , Brave Fencer Musashi , Parasite Eve , Parasite Eve 2 , Saga Frontier , Romancing Saga , Vagrant Story , Kingdom Hearts (done in collaboration with Disney Interactive), and Super Mario RPG (done under the guidance of Shigeru Miyamoto). [5] By late 1994 they had developed a reputation as a producer of high quality role-playing video games. [6]

<i>Chrono Trigger</i> role-playing video game

Chrono Trigger is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995. Chrono Trigger's development team included three designers that Square dubbed the "Dream Team": Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Square's successful Final Fantasy series; Yuji Horii, a freelance designer and creator of Enix's popular Dragon Quest series; and Akira Toriyama, a manga artist famed for his work with Dragon Quest and Dragon Ball. Kazuhiko Aoki produced the game, Masato Kato wrote most of the plot, while composer Yasunori Mitsuda wrote most of the soundtrack before falling ill and deferring the remaining tracks to Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The game's story follows a group of adventurers who travel through time to prevent a global catastrophe.

<i>Chrono Cross</i> role-playing video game

Chrono Cross is a 1999 role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation video game console. It is the sequel to Chrono Trigger, which was released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Chrono Cross was designed primarily by scenarist and director Masato Kato, who had help from other designers who also worked on Chrono Trigger, including art director Yasuyuki Honne and composer Yasunori Mitsuda. Nobuteru Yūki designed the characters of the game.

<i>Secret of Mana</i> video game

Secret of Mana, originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 2, is a 1993 action role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is the sequel to the 1991 game Seiken Densetsu, released in North America as Final Fantasy Adventure and in Europe as Mystic Quest, and it was the first Seiken Densetsu title to be marketed as part of the Mana series rather than the Final Fantasy series. Set in a high fantasy universe, the game follows three heroes as they attempt to prevent an empire from conquering the world with the power of an ancient flying fortress.

Square was one of the many companies that had planned to develop and publish their games for the Nintendo 64, but with the cheaper costs associated with developing games on CD based consoles such as the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation, Square decided to develop titles for the latter system. [7] Final Fantasy VII was one of these games, and it sold 9.8 million copies, making it the second best selling game for the PlayStation. [5]

Nintendo 64 64-bit video game console produced by Nintendo in 1996

The Nintendo 64, stylized as NINTENDO64 and abbreviated as N64, is Nintendo's third home video game console for the international market. Named for its 64-bit central processing unit, it was released in June 1996 in Japan, September 1996 in North America and Brazil, March 1997 in Europe and Australia, and September 1997 in France. It is the last major home console to use the cartridge as its primary storage format until Nintendo's seventh console, the Nintendo Switch, released in 2017. The console was discontinued in mid-2002 following the launch of its successor, the GameCube, in 2001.

Sega Saturn video game console

The Sega Saturn is a 32-bit fifth-generation home video game console developed by Sega and released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America, and July 8, 1995 in Europe. The successor to the successful Sega Genesis, the Saturn has a dual-CPU architecture and eight processors. Its games are in CD-ROM format, and its game library contains several arcade ports as well as original games.

<i>Final Fantasy VII</i> 1997 video game

Final Fantasy VII is a 1997 role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation console. It is the seventh main installment in the Final Fantasy series. Published in Japan by Square, it was released in other regions by Sony Computer Entertainment and became the first in the main series to see a PAL release. The game's story follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins an eco-terrorist organization to stop a world-controlling megacorporation from using the planet's life essence as an energy source. Events send Cloud and his allies in pursuit of Sephiroth, a superhuman intent on destroying their planet. During the journey, Cloud builds close friendships with his party members, including Aerith Gainsborough, who holds the secret to saving their world.

On February 8, 2001, due to its first quarterly loss since going public, "the company implemented a restructuring plan for its Japanese corporate staff. Three key figures have been moved around in the company ranks, resigning from their current positions in order to take responsibility for the losses, and have been reassigned to different positions. Hironobu Sakaguchi, the father of the Final Fantasy series, will no longer be vice president, and will instead be known as an "executive producer." Additionally, company president Tomoyuki Takeshi will become a contractual consultant for the company, with director Masahi Hiramatsu now taking the role of executive consultant.". [8]

A merger between Square and its competitor Enix was in consideration since at least 2000; however, the financial failure of their first movie, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within made Enix hesitant to join with a company which was losing money. [9] With the company in its second year of financial loss, Square approached Sony for a capital injection and on October, 8th 2001, Sony Corp purchased 18.6% stake in Square to bandage their loss. [10]

In an interview with GIA.com in 2001, when asked "Are you ever worried that Square will become too heavily dependent on the Final Fantasy name?" Hironobu Sakaguchi responded that "Avoiding that has actually been one of Square's goals for a long time. It is our aim to try and develop a few more major franchises for the company; that has always been on our minds." [11]

On November 26, it was reported that Square CEO Hisashi Suzuki was to step down as the company's President and that COO Yoichi Wada was to replace him in December with a restructuring plan for the company. [12]

On May 28, 2002 it was detailed that in Wada's restructuring of the company, that "while Square formally took a development style where teams were formed and dispersed per project, developers will now be fixed into divisions. Source codes and resources will be shared for efficiency, and employees will receive varying bonuses depending on the profit of their division. By settling developers into groups, Square also aims for the developers to re-use the titles they have developed, making game development more cost efficient. Development costs- originally 2-3 Billion yen, are expected to fall to 1 Billion yen." In addition, the company revealed plans to release two Final Fantasy X spinoffs that would later become Final Fantasy X-2. [13] [14]

Following the success of both Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts, [15] the company recovered its stability and recorded the highest operating margin in its history in fiscal year 2002. [16] It was announced on November 25, 2002 that Square and Enix's previous plans to merge were to officially proceed. As described by Yoichi Wada "Square has also fully recovered, meaning this merger is occurring at a time when both companies are at their height." [17] Despite this, some shareholders had doubts about the merger, notably Square's original founder and largest shareholder, Masafumi Miyamoto, who would find himself holding significantly less if the two RPG behemoths were to go ahead with the deal. [18] Other criticism came from Takashi Oya of Deutsche Securities who expressed doubts about the benefits of such a merger. "Enix outsources game development and has few in-house creators, while Square does everything by itself. The combination of the two provides no negative factors but would bring little in the way of operational synergies, he said." [19] Masafumi Miyamoto's issue was eventually resolved, by altering the exchange ratio of one Square share for 0.81 Enix shares, thus greenlighting the merger, and on April 1, 2003, Square Enix was formed. [20]

In Japan

The Disk Original Group (DOG) was a union formed of no less than seven Japanese video game companies: Square Company, Limited, Micro Cabin, Thinking Rabbit, Carry Lab, System Sacom, XTALSOFT, and HummingBirdSoft. Founded July 14, 1986, Square took the lead in this alliance to produce games on the Famicom Disk System. Because Square headed DOG, all DOG titles were published under the name Square. In reality, however, Square only produced four of the eleven games published under the DOG label. Excluding Tobidase Daisakusen (The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner in North America) which sold 500,000 copies, the remaining games were commercial failures.

DigiCube was established in February 1996. It was formed to market and distribute games and related merchandising (toys, books, music, etc.) in Asia. It declared bankruptcy in October 2003.

Escape, Inc. was established in 1998. They developed the racing game Driving Emotion Type-S .

Square Visual Works (CG studio), Square Sounds (sound studio), Squartz (quality assurance) and Square Next were all founded in June 1999. All were subsequently absorbed into Square Co., Ltd. in 2001 and 2002. Once Square merged with Enix, Square Visual Works was renamed Visual Works and produces CG animations for Square Enix and Eidos Interactive intellectual properties.

Quest Corporation logo Quest Corporation.png
Quest Corporation logo

Quest Corporation 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 acquired by Square. [21]

The Game Designers Studio, Inc. (株式会社ゲームデザイナーズ・スタジオ,kabushiki gaisha Geimudezainaazu Sutajio)

Abroad

The logo of Square Soft, Inc. Square Soft logo.png
The logo of Square Soft, Inc.

Square Soft

Square Soft, Inc. was established as the North American subsidiary of Square in March 1989. It was responsible for 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 localizing a number of non-Square titles, including Capcom's Breath of Fire for the SNES. It developed the game Secret of Evermore for the SNES.

Unlike its Japanese parent company or other subsidiaries (such as Square USA), Square Soft was never dissolved and is currently known as Square Enix, Inc. [22] [23] [24] Square Soft's original headquarters were in Redmond, Washington. [25] Square Enix, Inc. is currently located in El Segundo, California. [26]

Square USA

Square USA, Inc. (originally Square L.A., Inc.) was established in August 1995. It operated as a high-end computer-generated imagery research and development studio, and was integral in the production of graphics for Square-produced games since the beginning of the 32-bit era. Its headquarters were in Los Angeles, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. Like sister company, Square Soft, Inc., Square USA was a wholly owned subsidiary of Square Co., Ltd.

Square Europe, Limited was established in December 1998 to localize and market Square-developed games in Europe and Australia. Located in London, UK, Square Europe was granted exclusive publishing rights in Europe and other PAL territories for all interactive entertainment titles developed by Square.

Square Electronic Arts

Square Electronic Arts, LLC, also known as Square EA, was a joint venture between Square and U.S. video game publisher Electronic Arts to distribute each other's games in North America and Japan respectively. Announced on April 27, 1998, Square EA was based in Costa Mesa, California and operated under the supervision of Square president and CEO Jun Iwasaki, and was responsible for publishing and marketing all games produced by Square in North America. Conversely, Electronic Arts Square, K.K., formed at the same time and based in Japan, was responsible for publishing and marketing games produced by Electronic Arts in Asia. Under the terms of the agreement, Electronic Arts owned 30 percent of Square EA, and Square owned 30 percent of EA Square.

Square EA proved to be very successful, and during its five years of existence released a higher proportion of localized Square titles to the American market than ever before. EA Square, on the other hand, was somewhat less successful, and struggled to make an impact on the Asian video game market, which has been traditionally difficult for American game developers to break into. During its five year run, EA Square handled the Japanese releases of games such as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers , Quake III: Team Arena , SSX and its sequel SSX Tricky , and various video games based on the Star Wars franchise. EA Square had also developed a game, X-Squad , which was released for the PlayStation 2 during its launch.

Following the announcement of the merger between Square and former competitor Enix in 2003, Square purchased back Electronic Arts' stake in Square EA, and folded it back into Square Soft, Inc., its North American subsidiary, which was subsequently renamed Square Enix U.S.A., Inc. (now Square Enix, Inc.) and continues to publish Square Enix's titles in North America. Conversely, EA did the same with Square's stake in EA Square, which was subsequently renamed Electronic Arts K.K., and continues to publish EA's titles in Japan.

Square Pictures

Square Pictures was located in Honolulu, Hawaii and specialized in computer-animated films for Square. They started in 1997, [27] with the goal to eventually "incorporate the movie division's technical advances into its games, spinning a cycle of creativity with games inspiring movies that in turn improve games." [28] In 1998 it was announced that Square was partnering with Sony/Columbia to bring a full-length Final Fantasy movie to theaters "in the ambitious goal to be the first to simulate human emotions and movements through computer graphics." [29] and in 2000, the film was revealed as Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within . Sony released the film on July 11, 2001, but could only muster mixed reviews. Massive cost overruns resulted in the film's worldwide box-office take being just over half of its budget.

They also created a short film for the Wachowski siblings that was a prequel to The Matrix Reloaded titled the Final Flight of the Osiris . The short featured photo realistic characters, just as The Spirits Within, performing acrobatic moves in action sequences. The film was shown in theaters alongside Dreamcatcher and was meant to set the stage for the two Matrix sequels. The short was released on DVD on June 3, 2003 as part of The Animatrix . Square Pictures is now a consolidated subsidiary of Square Enix . [30]

List of games

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Final Fantasy II</i> 1988 video game

Final Fantasy II is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1988 for the Family Computer as the second installment of the Final Fantasy series. The game has received numerous enhanced remakes for the WonderSwan Color, the PlayStation, the Game Boy Advance, the PlayStation Portable, and multiple mobile and smartphone types. As neither this game nor Final Fantasy III were initially released outside Japan, Final Fantasy IV was originally released in North America as Final Fantasy II, so as not to confuse players. The most recent releases of the game are enhanced versions for the iOS and Android, which were released worldwide in 2010 and 2012, respectively.

<i>Final Fantasy Chronicles</i>

Final Fantasy Chronicles is a compilation of Square's role-playing video games Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger, released for the North American Sony PlayStation on June 29, 2001. TOSE ported both titles from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System; each had been previously released as individual Japanese PlayStation ports in 1997 and 1999. Several bonus features were added to each game, such as art galleries, bestiaries, and cutscenes—including computer-generated full motion video used at the beginning of Final Fantasy IV and anime scenes used throughout Chrono Trigger.

<i>Final Fantasy III</i> video game

Final Fantasy III is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1990 for the Family Computer as the third installment in the Final Fantasy series and the last main series game for the console. It is the first numbered Final Fantasy game to feature the job-change system. The story revolves around four orphaned youths drawn to a crystal of light. The crystal grants them some of its power, and instructs them to go forth and restore balance to the world. Not knowing what to make of the crystal's pronouncements, but nonetheless recognizing the importance of its words, the four inform their adoptive families of their mission and set out to explore and bring back balance to the world.

Square Enix Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling over 115 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.

<i>Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles</i> 2003 video game

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is an action role-playing game developed by The Game Designers Studio and published for the GameCube by Nintendo in 2003 in Japan; and 2004 in North America, Europe and Australia. A remastered version for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 will be released in 2019. A spin-off of the Final Fantasy series, Crystal Chronicles was the first title released for a Nintendo console since Final Fantasy VI in 1994.

Chrono Break is a cancelled third mainline entry in the Chrono series of video games by Square. While never officially announced by the company, commentary from Chrono series developers Masato Kato, Hironobu Sakaguchi, and Takashi Tokita have confirmed early plans for the game, alongside a number of trademarks filed in the game's name. However, the game would ultimately go unproduced, with many members of the internal development team either moving on to Final Fantasy XI or leaving the company in favor of freelance work. The game elicited much commentary from the company and the video game press in the following years, though as of 2019, all trademarks had expired, with no announced plans to work on the game.

The Chrono series is a video game franchise developed and published by Square, and is currently owned by Square Enix. The series began in 1995 with the time travel role-playing video game Chrono Trigger, which spawned two continuations, Radical Dreamers: Nusumenai Hōseki, and Chrono Cross. A promotional anime called Dimensional Adventure Numa Monjar and two ports of Chrono Trigger were also produced. As of March 31, 2003, Chrono Trigger was Square Enix's 12th best-selling game, with 2.65 million units shipped. Chrono Cross was the 24th, with 1.5 million units. By March 2012, the two games sold over 5.4 million units combined. The games in the series have been called some of the greatest of all time, with most of the praise going towards Chrono Trigger. The series' original soundtracks, composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, have also been praised, with multiple soundtracks being released for them.

Nasir Gebelli is an Iranian-American programmer and video game designer usually credited in his games as simply Nasir. Gebelli co-founded Sirius Software, created his own company Gebelli Software, and worked for Squaresoft. He became known in the early 1980s for producing the first fast action games for the Apple II computer, including 3D shooters, launching the Apple II as a gaming machine. This established him as one of the pioneers of computer gaming, and one of the greatest Apple II game designers. From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, he became known for his home console work at Squaresoft, where he was part of Square's A-Team, programming the first three Final Fantasy games, the Famicom 3D System titles 3-D WorldRunner and Rad Racer, and Secret of Mana.

The Game Designers Studio, Inc. was a shell corporation founded in June 1999 by Square. The brand’s final iteration was known as Taito Soft Corporation, a 10-employee team designed for software development for consoles. The Game Designers Studio is associated with Taito Corporation for being the legal entity to assimilate Taito into the Square Enix group.

<i>Final Fantasy</i> (video game) 1987 video game

Final Fantasy is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1987. It is the first game in Square's Final Fantasy series, created by Hironobu Sakaguchi. Originally released for the NES, Final Fantasy was remade for several video game consoles and is frequently packaged with Final Fantasy II in video game collections. The story follows four youths called the Light Warriors, who each carry one of their world's four elemental orbs which have been darkened by the four Elemental Fiends. Together, they quest to defeat these evil forces, restore light to the orbs, and save their world.

<i>Cry On</i> cancelled video game

Cry On is a cancelled video game by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and his development team Mistwalker. Announced as an upcoming project in 2005 for the Xbox 360, the game's cancellation was later announced in 2008. In late 2014, Sakaguchi released a concept trailer of work done on the game.

Tetsuya Nomura is a Japanese video game artist, designer and director working for Square Enix. He designed characters for the Final Fantasy series, debuting with Final Fantasy VI and continuing with various later installments. Additionally, Nomura has helmed the development of the Kingdom Hearts series since its debut in 2002 and was also the director for the CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs). The eponymous first game in the series, published in 1987, was conceived by Sakaguchi as his last-ditch effort in the game industry; the title was a success and spawned sequels. While most entries in the series are separate from each other, they have recurring elements carrying over between entries: these include plot themes and motifs, gameplay mechanics such as the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, and signature character designs from the likes of Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.

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Further reading

Chun, Michelle (March 18, 2002). "SquareSoft: What's Behind the Hype? A Case History" (PDF). Stanford University . Retrieved September 2, 2011.