One Part Square + One Part Enix + One Part Other Companies That Those Two Devoured= Awesome!!!

Square Enix is one of the most well-known video game studios.  Pretty much everyone that plays games has played something that is property of this company.  Most people will know it for the Final Fantasy franchise.  However, it has done more than that franchise and so much more than just video games.

Younger people will probably not remember that Square Enix is actually the result of a merger in early 2003 between the Enix company and Square, more commonly known by their game branding name of SquareSoft.  Both companies were based in Tokyo, Japan and the merged company still does.  However , it has now taken residence in the beautiful Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo.  The building is actually a shopping mall and has all sorts of places to eat.  You can check out the website by clicking the link above, but keep in mind that it’s in Japanese and Google translate doesn’t translate most of it.

Anyway, let’s take a look at ten amazing properties of the Square Enix company.  Before some people get confused, what I mean when I say properties of the Square Enix company is that these are things that Square Enix has a part in, be it game, anime, or manga, in Japan.  Some titles are distributed by other outlets on the international market and not by Square Enix themselves.  Some may have a manga produced by Square Enix, but other mediums may not be produced by Square Enix.  As long as Square Enix has a part in it, it goes!

Number Ten: “Tomb Raider”

Wait, what?!  Tomb Raider is owned by Square Enix?  Yes, you read that correctly.  Tomb Raider is actually now developed by Crystal Dynamics, a subsidiary of Square Enix.  It was also published by Eidos Interactive.    However, in May of 2009 Square Enix bought out the company.  The company still puts out games, but new games must come out under the Square Enix brand.  Eidos Interactive owned games will still come out under the old logo.  This series was also worked on by the Core Design company that was gobbled up by Eidos Interactive in 1996, but closed on 2006.  While this game is well loved by a lot of gamers, it is also hated by a lot of them too.  I personally am not overly fond of the franchise since I always had trouble with the controls when I was younger and it left a bad taste in my mouth for the franchise.  With its popularity, it would be odd to not see it on this list since it is part of Square Enix’s company holdings.

Number Nine: “Cooking Mama”

Umm, what?  Yes, the Taito company is owned by Square Enix.  That means that this little cooking based game is part of the Square Enix lineup of games.  I love cooking and I love games, but this game is not the game for me.  It is widely popular, but I see it as one of those games that is as popular as it is because it is a huge time waster.  Sort of like the Candy Crush family of games.  It originally came out for the Nintendo DS and has since become a multi-platform series of games.  People seem to really like the game though and it consistently gets high marks.

Number Eight: “Dragon Quest”

“Dragon Quest” was originally brought to the world by the Enix company.  Since the merger, it’s now brought to the world by Square Enix.  Up until 2005 though, the “Dragon Quest” franchise was known as “Dragon Warrior”.  I love these games!  I mean the artwork is done by Akira Toriyama for crying out loud.  If you are a fan of the “Dragonball” art style then you will like the art style of this game.  It started out on the NES and has since branched off to other consoles as well.  Even handheld game devices.  When Square and Enix were two seperate companies it was seems like the “Final Fantasy” games were SquareSoft’s answer to Enix’s “Dragon Quest” games.  Since the first three games of “Dragon Quest” came out in quick succession with “Final Fantasy” coming out with their first three games pretty much the following year.  While I really enjoy these games, they aren’t as popular outside of Japan.  If you want a fun game that is an action RPG with fun familiar graphics, give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Number Seven: “Space Dandy”

Yeah, this quirky manga is published by the same company that brought you “Final Fantasy”.  Let that sink in for a moment.  You good? Good.  “Space Dandy” is an action packed space comedy that is still going strong in terms of it’s publication.  While people outside of Japan were introduced to the anime from Bones studio first, Yen Press does have the English distribution rights in North America.  Yen Press does a fantastic job of translating and maintaining the little quirks and book format.  The series reminds me of a mix between “Cowboy Bebop” and “FLCL”.  It’s crazy and fun.  While not something you would expect from Square Enix, it is published in their twice a month manga magazine.  Yes, Square Enix owns a manga magazine.  They have a manga publishing company called Gangan Comics.  So, if you see something being published by Gangan Comics in Japan,  it’s Square Enix’s doing.

Number Six: “Fullmetal Alchemist”

In the United States this beloved title is distributed by Viz Media.  In Japan, it’s done by Square Enix.  This explains to some confused Americans why the video games in this franchise are brought to you by the same company that primarily makes games.  Enix originally published the manga and Bones is responsible for the anime adaptation of this series as well.  There is also a light novel of this series that is published by Square Enix.  In the United States, both the manga and light novel are distributed by Viz Media.  “Fullmetal Alchemist” is one of the most popular anime and manga series.  It is one of the ones responsible for the rising popularity of anime and manga in Western cultures in the 2000’s.  With the animation remake, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” it is safe to say that this series isn’t going to be going away anytime soon.  I remember when I was in high school my friends and I would pass the manga around on the bus on our way to band contests and then talk about it on the way home.  Good times, good times.

Number Five: “Soul Blazer”

Most people will probably have forgotten this title and its other games in the franchise.  This comes from the Quintet company that went defunct in the early 200’s.  While it’s unsure as to what exactly became of the company, it is pretty much accepted that it became part of Enix because of the relationship between the two companies before the Square Enix merger.  This RPG was a fun concept in that you were playing dungeon crawl games that actually had a cohesive story.  The second game in the “Soul Blazer” series was “Illusion of Gaia”  with the third game being “Terranigma”.  While they are all part of the “Soul Blazer” series, you don’t have to have played the original game to play the others.  They can stand alone or be played as a series.  They remind me of the way some of the “Final Fantasy” games work.  Over all they are a great games, but extremely difficult to get your hands on because they were for the SNES and those games are just not made anymore.

Number Four: “Black Butler”

I’m alive!  Come on, sing it with me.  I’m alive!  Yes, this popular manga and anime is owned by Square Enix.  In the States the manga is brought to you by Yen Press.  This dark comedy series is liked by a lot of people, but the anime is a different story.  I mean that literally when it comes to the second season. A-1 Studios handled the anime adaptation and the second season pretty much had nothing to do with the manga apart from a few elements and the characters.  Needless to say, there were a lot of fans that were not happy with this at all.  Myself included.  A friend of mine was complaining to me about the second season and since I’d never watched the anime, I had read the manga, I decided to give the anime a watch.  Holy cow was I upset.  They have since done a third season that sort of redeemed the whole anime, but not well enough for me.  Give it a few more seasons and then maybe we’ll talk.  If you watch the anime and skip or don’t think about the second season, it’s great though!  Then there is the live action movie that nobody talks about.  Yeah, there is a reason for that.  Don’t watch it.  In fact, forget I ever mentioned it.

Number Three: “Final Fantasy”

Quite posibbly the most well-loved and widly known of the Square Enix titles, this game franchise was originally created by the SquareSoft company.  Not gonna lie, it is the franchise that seemingly has no end.  The worlds of “Final Fantasy” are so vast and varied that it could probably carry the whole company until kingdom come with how well it sells and its multi-platform forms.  It also has movies, anime series, novels, manga, radio shows, and a mass of soundtracks.  The most popular title in the franchise is “Final Fantasy VII”.  It is a franchise in and of itself.  That series alone has become known as “The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII”.  It has spin off games, novels, a movie, several soundtracks, a couple of anime series, and merchandise out the wazoo!  There are other titles in the franchise that are popular as well “Final Fantasy X” and “Final Fantasy VI” come to mind as they have characters that are well recognizable and have appeared in other mediums besides just their games.  Probably everyone has heard of this franchise and has either played one of the games or watched one of its movies or anime.

Number Two: “Durarara!!”

Trust me!  Part of this particularly amazing multi-form franchise is brought to you by Square Enix.  Specifically the manga.  ASCII is the company that publishes the light novel.  In the States though, it is another one of Yen Press’s line up.  Oddly enough, though Square Enix does has an involvement in the franchise, they do not produce the video games.  I have personally never had the chance to play the games.  Last time I checked they were not available outside of Japan.  This franchise has a little bit of everything in it.  I have written an article about the light novel, here, if you care to learn more about it.  It is a wonderful franchise that has a manga, anime, light novel, and games.  I personally recommend this series to everyone that asks for a recommendation.

Number One: “Kingdom Hearts”

Originally brought to the world by Square and Buena Vista Games, this franchise is now lovingly brought to the world by Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios.  Is there any shock here as to why it’s my number one?  This game franchise has characters from other Square Enix titles AND Disney characters.  It also has its  own unique characters.  It is a family friendly hack and slash game.  There is a more in-depth article on this site, here.  If you are looking for something fun and challenging then I recommend this franchise of games!