Apparently, Nintendo was not happy when Square decided to move Final Fantasy VII to Sony.

The much revered franchise, Final Fantasy becane it’s life on Nintendo hardware. It’s success, and by proxy the sucess of it’s publisher, Square (now known as Square Enix) – owes a lot of their success to the popularity of Nintendo hardware in Japan during the 80’s and 90’s. Final Fantasy was the franchise that cemented Square’s spot as a developer to watch and they would go on to support future Nintendo hardware with both sequels and other titles, such as the amazing Secret of Mana which was on the SNES.

However, things got a bit sticky when Nintendo decided to stick with cartridges for the N64 system. This decision created a problem for Square, even though the company had already shown off a Final Fantasy tech demo.  The new Final Fantasy on the N64 seemed like a logical, forgone conclusion based on how closely the two firms had worked together so far, but as the development of what would eventually become Final Fantasy VII progressed it became clear to Square that the games incredible scope would require CD storage. This resulted in the game moving to the original Sony Playstation on which it eventually shipped as a 3 CD game, and has to date sold 11 million copies.

This move resulted in Nintendo and Square not working together again until the GBA and there were many rumors about the fallout between the firms for years.  In a recent Polygon feature on the game, several  people closely tied to the events spoke about what happened, and they don’t seem to agree exactly:

Hiroshi Kawai [Character programmer, Square Japan]: I’ll say this. I’m impressed with what Nintendo [was] able to do with the 64 hardware. Mario, Zelda — their devs must be top notch to be able to do that. But that’s essentially the extent of what you can do with the hardware. And you would get nowhere near anything like a Final Fantasy running on it.

Hironobu Sakaguchi [creator of Final Fantasy]: When we made our decision, the president of Square [Masafumi Miyamoto], our lead programmer [Ken Narita] and I went to a meeting with Yamauchi-san. There is an old cultural tradition where, in Kyoto, someone will welcome you with tea, but you’re not supposed to really drink that tea. It’s just polite to have it there. And Yamauchi-san welcomed us with a very expensive bento meal and beer, and gave us a very nice welcome and basically patted us on the back to say, “I wish you the best.” No bitter feelings or anything.

Hiroshi Kawai: I think [Sakaguchi] is just trying to be politically correct with that one.

Yoshihiro Maruyama [Executive vice president, Square U.S.]: I don’t think [anyone from Nintendo gave us a hard time]. They said, “Oh, we don’t need that.” That’s what they said. [Laughs] Their philosophy has always been that Nintendo hardware is for their games, and if a publisher wants to publish, “OK you can do it.” But if you don’t like it, “We don’t want you.”

Hiroshi Kawai: What I heard was Nintendo said, “If you’re leaving us, never come back.”
So… who do you think is remembering what went down right? Did Nintendo just say “ah, it’s no big deal, goood luck!” or where they understandably pissed at the decision. We may never know for sure.


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Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

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