Square Enix on Windows

Depending on how much you’ve been watching Steam’s release lists these past few months, you may have noticed more and more mainline Final Fantasy games showing up on it (along with other slightly unexpected Japanese games). There are factors in play you can look at to maybe guess what’s likely to come next from Square Enix on Windows.

Well, Square Enix has actually been quite supportive of Windows for some time. It started a little bit after the publisher bought Eidos, after which we started seeing quite excellent PC ports of games like Deus Ex Human RevolutionTomb Raider, and Sleeping Dogs. It’s hard to say if the reaction to those ports affected decisions at the Japan side of Square Enix or if there were already plans in place for releasing their JRPGs on PC.

My guess is they simply decided to see how re-releasing the old Final Fantasy VII PC port would go, and apparently customers responded well enough to it for Square Enix to keep going with VIIIIII and IV are probably easy ports because their mobile versions are already optimized for high resolutions. The real surprise for everyone has probably been the announcement of the Final Fantasy XIII games on Windows.

If you look at the Japanese website portal for XIII, you’ll see it’s also being released on Square Enix’s new DIVEIN streaming service. Apparently the servers for DIVEIN are Windows-based. It’s easy to assume Square Enix figured that if they’re going to port those games to Windows-based platforms, they may as well just release Windows versions. That brings us to the question of what we could see from the company on PC in the future.

Porting the mobile versions of games like Crono Trigger or the other classic Final Fantasy games would be an easy reach, but those ports aren’t the most popular with fans (neither is XIII I guess). One popular choice however would be bringing over the mobile port of Final Fantasy Tactics. Square Enix already optimized its graphics for high resolution, and a turn-based strategy game with a deep medieval storyline is right up the western PC audience’s alley. The only big X factor is the degree to which they optimize the game for a mouse and keyboard. Final Fantasy IX is probably a long-shot. The PC versions of VII and VIII were already made years ago, but there isn’t such a port of IX lying around.

Other interesting but more distant prospects would be the recent PS3 ports of Final Fantasy XX-2 and Kingdom Hearts. Square Enix went through all the trouble of re-doing the art assets for those games and optimizing them for 1080p. Porting them to PC might be a good way to increase return on investment (and give X HD some much-needed anti-aliasing). What I most want to see from Square Enix right now though is an HD version of Final Fantasy XII.

They already implied they’d do it if X HD did well enough. I’m very impressed with how extensively they cleaned up X and I assume they’d put the same level of work into XII. Such a re-release would likely appear in PS3 (and Vita, and maybe PS4) first, with a PC release a distant possibility. For the PlayStation releases Square Enix probably wouldn’t be able to package it alone — every HD remaster disc they’ve released so far has included at least two games, but what would go with XIITactics?

Finally, all this makes an eventual PC release of Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III all the more likely. We know Square Enix is developing both games “on DirectX 11.” Given that, and the PS4’s and Xbox One’s similarity to PC, it’s not so hard to imagine.

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