Imagine selling (not licensing) properties like Tomb Raider and Soul Reaver, among others, for an absurdly low price, only to be one of the few remaining big companies still bullish on the idea of NFTs in video games.
Square Enix has had plenty of hits that defied expectation. Final Fantasy XIV, for example, came back from the dead. And, no one would expect a JRPG with Goofy, Donald Duck and a bunch of Disney characters, all linked in some way via a "plot", to succeed, yet here we are.
The Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy franchises combine for a total lifetime sales figure north of 200 million copies. This is a monumental achievement, especially since they're single-player titles. For this, Square Enix deserves props.
However, someone within the company needs to tell the higher-ups that it's had its fair share of duds as well.
A recent report claims Square Enix is undergoing massive changes internally. Among many things, this would force the company to delay the release of several in-development titles like Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth as it tries to recapture the trust of investors who've lost faith after the failures of Forspoken, among several other recent titles.
But, as if a final hurrah before a change in management, Square Enix just doubled down on NFTs with Symbiogenesis.
Symbiogenesis is set in a world where pollution has ruined the planet. The remaining survivors live peacefully on a floating continent as they piece together their lost history. Unfortunately, a dragon attacks the continent and forces the last vestiges of humanity to work together.
It's pretty standard high-fantasy RPG stuff, and it could have excellent gameplay. It's from Square Enix, after all. These guys invented the genre.
Unfortunately, it's hard to forget that Square Enix is trying to integrate NFTs into what could be a half-decent JRPG at worst. Square Enix couldn't quite confirm how pervasive the NFT element of Symbiogenesis is going to be. But, it did say it will let players complete the entire game without buying anything. Instead, the collectible tokens will unlock non-story-bearing bonus material like additional artwork, extra experience points, as well as character backstories.
Given that Symbiogenesis will have more than 10,000 characters, that's a lot of collectible tokens for completionists. Of course, that's if people will buy into the NFTs that Symbiogenesis will offer once it's out.
Square Enix is currently set to release Final Fantasy 16 on June 22. The company believes that the upcoming mainline Final Fantasy entry will help it regain the trust of investors as well as the general public.