They are best known as the creator of several multi-million dollar gaming franchises including Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Chrono, Kingdom Hearts, Mana, SaGa, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Just Cause, and Nier. Outside of gaming, Square Enix has also been known as the publisher and developer of many popular manga and anime series, including Fullmetal Alchemist, Black Butler, Soul Eater, Durarara!!, Akame ga Kill, and WataMote.
Enix was founded on September 22, 1975 by former architect Yasuhiro Fukushima, originally under the name Eidansha Boshu Service Center, as a publisher of tabloids that advertised real estate. On February 5, 1980, the company created a subsidiary, named Eidansya Fudousan, to partake in real estate trading and brokerage. A year later it would change its name to Eidansha Systems and then to Enix Corporation the following year.
Following a failed attempt to expand the real estate business nationwide, Enix decided to enter the gaming market by holding a game programming contest, where young programmers submitted in their original games. The two winners were Love Match Tennis by Yuji Horii and Door Door by Koichi Nakamura; the latter would go on to be one of Enix's first published titles for Nintendo's Famicom. After the success of Door Door, Enix's next releases would come from outsourced developers paid through royalties. One of these was the first Dragon Quest, which was created by Horii and directed by Nakamura. The first game sold 1.5 million copies in Japan, with subsequent sequels being massive hits and establishing a strong fanbase throughout the country.
In 1989, Enix merged with its parent company Eidansha Boshu, which then changed its name to Enix Corporation, thus fully unifying all of its subsidiaries. In the 90s, Enix began entering into the manga business, publishing several issues for the Monthly Shōnen Gangan magazine. In November 1999, Enix was listed in the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 1st section, being classified as a "large company".
Square was established 11 years after Enix, on October 1983, by Masafumi Miyamoto to serve as a computer game division of Den-Yu-Sha, his father's power line construction company. By September 1986, the division was spun off to become an independent company under the name Square Co., Ltd. A year later the company relocated to Ueno, Tokyo and, inspired by the success of Dragon Quest, the team began development on their own RPG, which would go on to become Final Fantasy. The game sold 400,000 copies, firmly establishing it as Square's flagship series.
Carried by the success of the Final Fantasy series, Square developed several more world-famous RPGs, namely Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Xenogears, Parasite Eve, and Kingdom Hearts. In the 90s, Square was one of the many developers who made games exclusively for Sony's PlayStation. One of these was Final Fantasy VII, which would go on to be the second best-selling game on the system and hailed as one of the greatest video games of all time.
On February 8, 2001, Square began experiencing its first quarterly loss since going public and quickly enacted a company restructure. Its losses began to grow following the box-office failure of their first major film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. In October 2001, Sony purchased a 18.6% stake in Square to help alleviate its now second year losses. Further restructuring efforts occurred on the following November 26, with company CEO Hisashi Suzuki being replaced with former COO Yoichi Wada. To help the company further, Wada began separating the development team into divisions and share source codes and other resources. Things began to turn around in 2002, with Square experiencing its highest operating margins in its history, mainly due to the successes of Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts.
The prospect of the two companies merging had been in consideration since 2000, but were paused following the failure of The Spirits Within. Once Square managed to regain its finances, talks proceeded on November 25, 2002, as Wada believed that is was "occurring at a time when both companies are at their height".
The deal was met with some concerns from higher-ups at both Enix and Square, most notably Masafumi Miyamoto, who would find himself owning a much smaller percentage; however, his concerns would be alleviated after the exchange ratio was altered, changing 0.81 shares to 0.85. The merger was approved and the new Square Enix was established on April 1, 2003, with Yoichi Wada being appointed as its president, with former Enix president Keiji Honda acting as vice president and Yasuhiro Fukushima as its honorary chairman. In the following July, Square Enix established its headquarters in Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo.
Since the merger, Square Enix has made several acquisitions and created several internal subsidiaries. Acquisitions include mobile developer UIEvolution in March 2004, Space Invaders and Bubble Bobble developer Taito in September 2005, and Tomb Raider developer Eidos in February 2009. Other subsidiaries formed include offices in China and India, the mobile development studio Hippos Lab in March 2011, an RPG-focused studio named Tokyo RPG Factory in 2015, and Studio Istolia in February 2017.
Involvement with Super Smash Bros.
Sqaure Enix is the fifth third-party studio to join Smash following the announcement that Cloud Strife, protagonist of Final Fantasy VII, would join Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U as the game's second DLC newcomer and 5th DLC fighter overall. Included with Cloud is his stage Midgar and two songs from Final Fantasy VII, being "Let the Battles Begin!" and "Fight On!". A separate paid DLC Mii Fighter costume modeled after a Chocobo was also made available.
Cloud and all Final Fantasy VII content returns for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with Square Enix receiving additional representation through DLC. The Luminary from Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (with the Heroes from III, IV, and VIII as palette swaps) joined Ultimate as the second fighter in Fighters Pass Volume 1. Included with his pack is the stage Yggdrasil's Altar, several music tracks, and multiple Spirits on the DLC Spirit Board. Final Fantasy VII antagonist Sephiroth later joined as a part of Fighters Pass Volume 2, bringing with him the stage Northern Cave, additional music from Final Fantasy VII, and several Spirits. The Chocobo Mii Fighter costume also returns as DLC alongside new costumes modeled after Slime, Veronica, the Martial Artists, and the Armor of Erdrick from Dragon Quest, and Tifa Lockhart, Aerith Gainsborough, and Barret Wallace from Final Fantasy VII. Sora, the protagonist from Kingdom Hearts joined as part of Fighters Pass Volume 2, he was also the final newcomer reveal for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Outside of its two flagship series, some of its other well known properties have appeared in Ultimate as special DLC Spirits; namely Duran & Angela, Kevin & Charlotte, and Hawkeye & Riesz from Trials of Mana; Alfyn & Therion, Tress & Cyrus, H'aanit & Ophilia, and Olberic & Primrose from Octopath Traveler; and Seth & Gloria and Elvis & Adelle from Bravely Default II. Square Enix's contributions to the Super Mario series, namely Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Mario Hoops 3-on-3 receive representation as well; the character Geno from the former is a separate paid DLC Mii Fighter costume in both 3DS/Wii U and Ultimate (where he also appears as a Spirit alongside Mallow), while Diddy Kong as he appears in the latter is a Sticker in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Square Enix is one of five companies to be introduced to Smash through DLC; the other four being Atlus, Xbox Game Studios, SNK, and Mojang Studios.
- The two major universes that represent Square Enix in Smash also represent the two halves that merged; Dragon Quest came from Enix and Final Fantasy came from Square.
- Square Enix has the most fighters out of the other third-party companies, at four.
- Square Enix is the only one of the four to have all of its representatives and their respective content be DLC or have been DLC at some point.
- Much like Sega, none of its fighters are Echo Fighters
- Much like Konami and Capcom, Square Enix has two of their fighters hailing from the same series; in Square Enix's case, that would refer to Final Fantasy
- All of Square Enix's representatives have alternate costumes; Cloud has his outfit from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, The Luminary can be swapped out with the other protagonists from Dragon Quest III, IV, and VIII, Sephiroth has his coatless outfit from the ending of Final Fantasy VII, and Sora has alternate costumes based on his appearances in Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, and Kingdom Hearts III.
- Square Enix is the only company to have material representing media outside of video games, as they have songs taken from the score to the film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children in addition to Cloud's alternate costume.
- Square Enix has the most Mii Fighter Costumes out of all the third-party companies, at 9.
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