Former Square Enix president Yoichi Wada describes patching up with Nintendo in the early 2000s

Many of us remember when Squaresoft stopped making games for Nintendo consoles. While they were legendary partners throughout the NES’s and SNES’s tenure, the famed JRPG maker parted ways with the Big N around the time Nintendo 64 launched. From 1997 to 2003, Square released no games on any of Nintendo’s systems. Yoichi Wada, Square Enix’s former president, recently tweeted out his story about the end of this era. He talked about the company’s interest in the Game Boy Advance, how the relationship between Square and Nintendo was restored, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. VGDensetsu translated and provided a summary of the original Twitter thread.

Wada himself joined Squaresoft in 2000, three years before the merger with rival studio Enix. Company policy was completely against developing for Nintendo, and he wanted to find out why. Apparently it was difficult to discover the real reason amid the rumors, but Square’s own stronger presence in the industry, Nintendo’s outdated distribution channels, and a “lack of diplomacy” on the part of Square’s own managers had to do with it. There may have potentially been bad blood between Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi and Square founder Masafumi Miyamoto too.

However, with the Game Boy Advance proving to be a formidable handheld and Square even having some internal documents about how to support it, Wada felt that it was time to break past all that and reforge a business relationship. He reached out to Nintendo directly about how to start a new relationship, but initially, Nintendo’s demands were apparently quite strict, like requiring a new numbered Final Fantasy on GameCube. Over time though, they landed on a more agreeable arrangement.

What emerged after meetings, negotiations, and a delicate conversation with Sony was Square and Nintendo finally agreed to make games together again, and it resulted in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles in 2003. Square Enix couldn’t make a numbered FF title for GameCube at that time per its agreements with Sony, which had invested in Square Enix, but Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was billed as an old-fashioned Final Fantasy game along the lines of IVI and IX, to make it feel less like an inessential side story. Seventeen years later and not only has Crystal Chronicles launched on Nintendo’s newest console, but you can play the vast majority of numbered titles on Nintendo systems. And it’s all thanks to the work of Yoichi Wada.


Dominick Ashtear


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