It’s an unexpected choice, that’s for sure. On June 13, Square Enix presented its E3 showcase, with the stars of the show being Eidos Montreal’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Team Ninja’s Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. But the most talked-about announcement on social media was one that was fairly innocuous on its face — the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series, a touched up version of the first six games, which debuted on the NES and SNES back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Sounds fun, right?
Well, these remasters will only be available on mobile and PC. That’s right, unless Square Enix is holding back further details until Nintendo’s E3 showcase on June 15 — and crossing our fingers about this admittedly slim possibility— these games won’t be available on Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch.
The latter omission is especially galling — as the Vita continues its slow shuffle off this mortal coil, the Switch has become the go-to console for fans of retro RPGs. The SNES-era Final Fantasy games (along with Chrono Trigger and Earthbound) have been among the most whined-about omissions from the Switch library. Skipping Nintendo’s hybrid console entirely for this release is an absolute head-scratcher.
I would very happily pay tens of American dollars yet again for these games on Nintendo Switch, or any home console in current circulation. That’s in spite of the fact that I have already purchased them for three platforms: SNES, PlayStation 1, and Game Boy Advance. And I’m not the only one.
Unsurprisingly, Final Fantasy fans on social media were pretty cheesed off about the whole thing, and wasted no time in letting the developer have it in the comments of a Twitter post sharing the remaster announcement.
Prominent journalists and pundits in the gaming space also wasted no time in dunking on this exasperating announcement. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier wrote, “And it's not coming to Switch for some reason lol.”
One commenter aptly summarized my own feelings of dismay, noting “they dropped the ball so fucking hard this is actively painful.”
“Put Square Enix in gamer prison,” tweeted VentureBeat reporter Jeff Grubb.
Jason Wilson of GamesBeat offered up a more nuanced, but nevertheless critical take. “Square Enix is always going to get crap from fans, no matter how much Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest it shows,” he wrote. “But dedicating so much of this show to Marvel properties shows a distinct misunderstanding of your audience.”
Much of Square Enix’s E3 plans for this year had leaked online ahead of the presentation, including Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. While the Final Fantasy series got plenty of attention overall, Square Enix offered no updates on Final Fantasy XVI or the Final Fantasy VII Remake sequel. Instead, Marvel titles like Guardians of the Galaxy and the struggling live-service Avengers took up a sizable proportion of the broadcast.
It also doesn’t help that Square Enix has a mixed track record with its handling of retro re-releases. The early Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger already had mobile ports back in 2014, which swapped the iconic pixel art style for generic 3D character models.
These ports were widely panned for squandering the expressive charm of the originals. Sure, these mobile releases look more “modern,” but it’s a change literally no one asked for. Unless we hear more about the remasters during Nintendo’s showcase on Tuesday June 15, they could be headed down the same inglorious path.