For better or worse, Remakes/Remasters are here to stay. After companies realized that fans are willing to pay the same price - or even more - for the re-release of an old game, they turned turbo mode on and hit the gas. Heck, I am one of these crazy fans - I have six Final Fantasies on my PlayStation! I bought classic VII, VIII, and IX for PS3 and then bought the remastered versions for PS4 (Trophies are life).
Square Enix, very smartly, has put all its chips on remasters and/or remakes of games. It isn't unprecedented for the company, which has already released numerous versions of the first Final Fantasy for various consoles, such as Wonderswan Color, GBA, PSP, Nintendo DS, Steam, and so on. Not-so-old Final Fantasy also got the treatment, such as FFX/FFX-2 and FFXII. I'm still waiting for Final Fantasy XIII remasters. (I like it, ok? Leave me be).
But Square Enix thrives not only off of Final Fantasy.
Although it has survived because of it. Last Remnant, an Xbox 360 and Windows exclusive JRPG, has arrived to brighten the lives of Sony-people with a remaster. Star Ocean: First Departure, which was already a remake of the first game, received a remaster for Switch and PS4 in 2019. Till the End of Time and The Last Hope, Star Oceans respectively from PS2 and PS3, also arrived on PS4 through a remaster.
Recently, from our favorite arborized series, we had Secret of Mana, Trials of Mana, and the announced Legend of Mana. SaGa Frontier is another Square Enix game that will be getting the HD treatment (and if successful, quite possibly SaGa Frontier 2). Not to mention Final Fantasy VII Remake which was a sales phenomenon, critics and has a dazzling future ahead of it. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade for PS5 has been announced and will give us an episode featuring the series' most beloved ninja, Yuffie Kisaragi.
There are probably other remasters out there I missed, but I think you get my point. Square Enix has been porting its games to modern generations for a long time now and doesn't look like it intends to stop. With Forever Entertainment's recent announcement, the Polish company entered an agreement with Square Enix Japan (pay attention to the nationality) to make the various remakes of an intellectual property belonging to the developer of fantabulous JRPGs.
After the announcement, numerous speculation began as to which series should receive a remake. Among them, certainly, the iconic Chrono Trigger came up most often. Xenogears, Valkyrie Profile, Vagrant Story, and even Legend of Dragoon (which is not even from Square, but from Sony) were among the speculated games.
So here I am, as a fan, amateur speculator, and faulty gambler, giving my two cents on which franchise I consider possible to receive the remake treatment or at least which one I would like it to be.
Before we begin, let's thoroughly analyze and break down Forever Entertainment's announcement:
- Create several remakes - I don't know in Polish, but in English, the word several means more than 2, that is, at least 3. I will consider it to be a franchise that has at least 3 games in its catalog.
- IP owned by Square Enix Japan - this would automatically exclude Square Enix Europe and all Eidos games like Tomb Raider, Legacy of Kain, and Fear Effect, but, let's not take it to heart for now.
My business acumen and my Polish aren't up-to-date, so I don't know if this thorough reading is valid or if they described Japan but are actually considering the Square holding catalog as a whole. Anyway, let's get down to the games!
Games With High Remake Probability
Front Mission is a wonderful tactical RPG from Square. The first one I played was Front Mission 3 on the PSX, and even though I'm not a fan of sci-fi or mecha themes, the game hooked me very quickly. The battle on an isometric grid is similar to other strategy games of the time, but the system where our mechs - called Wanzers in the Front Mission universe - had different, breakable, and customized parts was amazing!
Risking to get close to the enemy, but delivering a melee attack had its advantages. Even more so when one ability was randomly activated. But standing at a safe distance with your sniper rifle or unloosening missiles was just as enjoyable... except when an enemy approached you as fast as a Gundam and cut your arm off.
The series shone until Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness, but took a big shit in Front Mission Evolved, and I won't even mention Left Alive, a stealth game set in the universe of the series and the similarities end there. The first Front Mission, released in 1995, received a port to Nintendo DS in 2007. It's been a long time since this political series filled with intrigue and military jargon has been around and I think it would be a great candidate for the remake.
To be honest, I don't even know if I would like a remake of this series. The first game was released in 1998 and I must have played it a year or two after release. I was only 10 years old and watching the opening scene of the opera where everyone spontaneously combusts left me traumatized for quite some time.
But jokes aside, the game is an action RPG with macabre survival horror elements. Playing as Aya Brea, one of the most badass police officers in the world, and hunting pretty Eve, got me constantly on alert with my hand over my mouth to catch my heart if he decided to leap out. The antagonist could turn the cutest animals into the most bizarre creatures I had ever seen at the time. The always hostile scenery, with background music worthy of a satanic graduation and Aya's footsteps echoing through the environment, scarred my nearly-broken childish-soul even deeper (where were my parents?). Nowadays, the old-fashioned polygons do not scare many people, and this is exactly one of the reasons why the series deserves a remake.
However, while there is hope for Parasite Eve, there is also doom. On the hopeful front, Parasite Eve was trademarked by Square Enix in the UK in February 2019. At the time, there was much talk about a remaster or port of the game for current generations, but only silence lingered. On the other hand, we do have impediments. Parasite Eve is a sci-fi novel written by Hideaki Sena, a pharmacologist (that explains all the talk about mitochondria). Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura have talked about a re-release of the series, but unconfirmed information (a.k.a rumors) say that the relaunch has been delayed due to the series' rights being co-owned with Hideaki Sena.
Anyway, there are high chances that Parasite Eve is one of the series estimated for the remake. The series has a total of three games, and although it has been abandoned by Square, it wasn't forgotten.
Games With Low Remake Probability
The series that is a hybrid between Dynasty Warriors and Ace Combat has three games in its catalog. It would be quite ironic if Forever handled the remake since fans have constantly compared the winged gameplay of Drakengard to Panzer Dragoon, one of the games remade by Forever Entertainment.
For those who don't know, Drakengard is set in the same universe as NieR. One day I tried to venture out and read all the lore regarding the games, but I almost had a stroke. As you may know, the first game in the NieR series is undergoing a remaster and its release date is coming up, April 23rd. Entitled NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… Square's game is being remastered in partnership with Toylogic and monitored by director Yoko Taro.
The low probability I mention here is not that the series is remade, but that it is remade by Forever. If the NieR remaster is already in the hands of one company, why would Square add another into the equation? If NieR Replicant v.122 gets as successful as Automata, there are high chances that Drakengard will get the same VIP treatment and be remastered, but by Toylogic. I particularly would love it to! I had a great time riding my dragon partners and barbecuing tons of enemies. Even at the cost of a kidney.
In the agreement between Forever and Square, it was said that the Polish company would keep more than 50% of the remakes' revenues. I don't know much about million-dollar contracts, but would you accept such a term with one of your flagship franchises?
Dragon Quest is one of the most iconic JRPGs in the world and immensely famous in the land of the rising sun. Its former rivalry with Final Fantasy left even Coca-Cola and Pepsi in its wake. The first games of the series received several remasters and ports to other consoles, just like the first Final Fantasy games. The earliest Dragon Quest received its latest port in 2019 for Switch, adapting the mobile version of the game.
I played Dragon Quest I through Dragon Quest IV on mobile and if you put the NES version side by side, the improvements are great! Does it still have room for further enhancement, a modern redesign while keeping the gameplay intact? Sure. But as I said, it's not impossible, but quite unlikely.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
I thought about three or four old Final Fantasy. But if you want to know my opinion, just copy and paste the information above from Dragon Quest.
But Crystal Chronicles isn't a beloved child. As a spin-off, it's like a distant cousin we enjoy, but we don't bother to hang out. The series has six games in all, and they were released for Nintendo consoles. Two of them have atypical genres: My Life As a King is a city-building simulation game (very cute, by the way), and My Life as a Darklord is a tower defense game.
The first game in the series was remastered and released in 2020 for consoles and received average reviews from critics but below average reviews from the general public. Unfortunately, I was incompetent and couldn't find concrete information regarding sales so far, but according to Famitsu, almost 80,000 units were sold in Japan in its week of release.
With five more games available for a remaster, at least two of these being of the same style as Crystal Chronicles, Square Enix may have had a good result, but not enough to dedicate their team to another remaster. Then all of sudden, a third-party company comes along and offers to proceed with the remasters, splitting the profits. What would you do? I may be stretching a lot right now, but as Justin Bieber would say, never say never.
Games That Are Not From Square Enix Japan, But Could Receive a Remake
On the off chance that Forever Entertainment's announcement mentioned Square Enix Japan only as a typo or the company as a whole, the conversation changes completely. There are a few series owned by Square Enix Europe and fans strongly believe that one of them should be remastered: Legacy of Kain, Fear Effect, and Gex.
Legacy of Kain and Gex were both from Crystal Dynamics, which was acquired by Eidos, which was acquired by Square Enix and became Square Enix Europe (it's hard to keep up with all these capitalist takeovers). Fear Effect was developed by Kronos Digital Entertainment and published by Eidos, which owns the rights to the series and consequently now belongs to Square Enix.
Legacy of Kain has a total of five games and a multiplayer spin-off. It is an action/adventure game. The first two games employed open-world mechanics similar to the Zelda series, and the last three were more linear and divided into chapters. I confess I played very little of it in my time, but I understand fans' calls for a remaster and agree that it would be a great option.
Gex was Crystal Dynamics' mascot, a gecko in a James Bond and Austin Powers-inspired costume. The reptile was created to compete directly with Mario and Sonic and its gameplay was the traditional 3D platformer. It is not hard to browse Reddit and see fans clamoring for this remaster.
Fear Effect has an interesting relationship with Forever. A French studio, Sushee, pitched the idea to Square about reviving the classic and the company accepted, thus giving birth to Fear Effect Sedna. Developed by Sushee, but published by Forever Entertainment, many believe this association enough to speculate a remaster of the first games. Which by the way, technically exists. Fear Effect Reinvented is a remake of the first game and is being produced by Forever itself! Announced in August 2017, the game had a brief gameplay presentation but has been radio silent since October 2019 when Forever said they were reinventing the game. Would it make sense to have all this buzz on a game that is already in Forever's hands?
In conclusion, those were my hypotheses built on research, a lot of empiricism as a gamer, and a touch of Nostradamus. If I were forced to bet my savings, I would certainly put half of my chips on Parasite Eve and the other half on Front Mission, but you never know, right? The nice thing is that if I get it right, I can just link back to this article and enjoy my five minutes of glory. If I get it wrong, I'll be just one more sour gamer in the crowd.
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