Square-Enix dev says Nintendo told Squaresoft to 'never come back' when Final Fantasy VII jumped from N64 to PS1

Coming from a Polygon interview with multiple Square-Enix/Squaresoft devs...

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 - 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, Character programmer, Square Japan - 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, Character programmer, Square Japan - What I heard was Nintendo said, “If you’re leaving us, never come back.”

Well that's quite a different answer from what we've heard all these years. I'm also sad to say, the line above seems more like something Nintendo would say back in the day.


Top Rated Comment
Wed Jan 11 17 07:37am
Rating: 13 (Updated 1 time)

"And you would get nowhere near anything like a Final Fantasy running on it."

I guess he was talking about the CGs? Yeah, that would be a problem because of the lack space (even though that didn't stop Capcom from using all RE2 CGs in their port for the N64)...

But running the game itself? C'mon, even half of a N64 could run any PS1 with a better framerate than the PS1 version. All PS1 one are freakin' ugly when compared to N64 games.

Nintendo is still paying for the bridges that their former President, Hiroshi Yamauchi, burnt but it helped with their determination to make their own beaten path without Third Parties which has negatives and positives for their business. In a way it is good that they are hard to compete with on their own consoles because that means quality, but they could use more AAA games by people determined and skilled enough to beat Nintendo at their own game.

And with that, the slow downfall of Nintendo began.

Nintendo being an @$$ to third party devs since the beginning of time...

Every company at that time was an ass to someone or other competitor. Its just the way things run.

Wed Jan 11 17 03:21pm
Rating: 1

From what I have been seeing, MS seems to be the current gen N64 Nintendo.

Wed Jan 11 17 07:37am
Rating: 13 (Updated 1 time)

"And you would get nowhere near anything like a Final Fantasy running on it."

I guess he was talking about the CGs? Yeah, that would be a problem because of the lack space (even though that didn't stop Capcom from using all RE2 CGs in their port for the N64)...

But running the game itself? C'mon, even half of a N64 could run any PS1 with a better framerate than the PS1 version. All PS1 one are freakin' ugly when compared to N64 games.

Yeahhh, I had to think about that statement too. The N64 could handle the game's polygon graphics no sweat, the limit being purely the required space for the music, CGI, etc. Most Final Fantasy games were over 3 discs or so, so that's at least 2.1GB of data.

Wed Jan 11 17 08:59am
Rating: 3

He wasn't just talking about the lack of CDs or FMVs, the same guy explained how he ran benchmarks on prototype N64 hardware with a version of Bahamut that was not meeting his expectations of 3D polygon rendering at 60fps. Which is pretty rich considering FFVII only runs at 15fps in 3D battles and 30fps in the 2.5D world, with THOSE character models. It really puts him in a strange position to be giving back-handed compliments about fully-rendered 3D games.

If anyone ever looks at "N" objectively, you can see this has been their mindset since FOREVER!

Yamauchi was a shrewd business man, and while he was pretty "hard" in relation to most things, everyone under him has been doing the same ever since. That is why when they make hardware, it is only for them and always has been.

That is why with each new generation they lose more 3rd party support. 3rd parties don't have the time anymore to sit around and "figure" out hardware, they are trying to make money same as "N".

Until they sit down like Sony did with the PS4, and ask others what they need and want, they will continue to fail in overall support. At one point and time, they could do things alone, but those days are over.

Yamauchi has been gone awhile, but the mind set has never left. Maybe he was to blame, maybe not. Iwata should have fixed these issues, but he did not, and this company has suffered ever since.

I'm glad to see a interview like this, as it shows what I've personally known for a long time.

So much Nintendo backlash for one of the many stories surrounding what has become the 'normalizer standard' for every Japanese RPG title from its release to current times... Turn-based strategy framing, story/character-related tropes and cliques and so on.

Truly, I don't know which side to give pity the most- Squaresoft receiving such a message or the RPG genre as a whole...

I still have a certain resentment towards Square all stemming from that time. I haven't forgiven them and Cloud's inclusion in Smash Bros. p1$$ed me off no end. They've done very little for Nintendo home consoles since that time and only really got mediocre Final Fantasy spin-offs.

To be fair, Chocobo Tales and Final Fantasy Tactics A-2 weren't that bad!

Wed Jan 11 17 09:04am
Rating: 3 (Updated 1 time)

I still have a certain resentment towards Square all stemming from that time. I haven't forgiven them and Cloud's inclusion in Smash Bros. p1$$ed me off no end. They've done very little for Nintendo home consoles since that time and only really got mediocre Final Fantasy spin-offs.

This is the exact broken thinking that "N" has, as well as it's fans. The reason Sqaure left them at the time was 110% on "N". The industry was moving forward, and carts where very expensive, and hard to produce in a timely manner.

Square, like most in the industry at the time wanted to make the best games they could, and that meant using CD's. As per the norm, "N" knew best, and said this isn't the future, and carts are better. Square along with most long term 3rd parties went where their visions could be realized.

Sony allowed them to do that, when "N" did not. Honestly speaking, I found FF7 to be a turd along side their past works that where 4, 5, and 6 on the SNES(but that is my opinion). So at the time, I didn't miss them at all, but in regards to the industry as a whole, it was a HUGE turning point. As it showed what was possible in games.

"N" sat their like spoiled children mad that no one wanted to follow them in to the rabbit hole of staying in the stone ages and not moving forward. Like I have said in the past, when it comes to "N" it is their way or the highway. If you don't agree with them, to bad. Well, guess what? You reap what you sow!

EDIT: If you want to be mad at someone, "N" should be who your mad at, as it was them who caused the issues with Square.

It's great to be a fan, but letting business decisions between huge companies effect you personally is never a good idea. I was a huge square fan on the SNES, and a huge fan on the ps1 as well. Seeing cloud in smash warmed my heart as it was essentially a statement that the relationship had been mended. Thanks In no small part to the late (and VERY great) Iwata, who convinced them to start working on DQ ports for the Nintendo DS.

Wed Jan 11 17 11:29am
(Updated 1 time)

Yeah, it made me mad, too. Did they really have to use Cloud? For the most part, he was on the competition's hardware. Him being included in Smash Bros. was almost a slap in the face for those employees who have been with Nintendo for over 20 years. Squaresoft turned their backs on Nintendo, and now they want to make amends? Are you kidding me?

I don't really see the problem. Remember Sega and Nintendo's war.. I mean, rivalry? Sega then made games for Nintendo and even Sonic made it to Smash Bros. People certainly didn't complain about that.

I'm glad the developers don't view it in such a petty way. We got an amazing character thanks to their maturity.

Wed Jan 11 17 02:21pm
(Updated 1 time)

Square and Nintendo made amends well over a decade ago, man. At this point Nintendo hardware has gotten loads of Square Enix games, including several Final Fantasys. Heck, there is a port of Dragon Quest 8 being localized in a few weeks. They have Sonic, a mascot for a company that was actually a pretty serious rival to them for years and made some really harsh ads during the height of that. And SEGA really hasn't been making games for Nintendo consoles for much longer than Square has since they returned.

And can you really blame Square for leaving? They had a vision for a game, that vision required CDrom technology, something everyone but Nintendo was doing in 1996. So what do you expect them to do? Change their vision because Nintendo made a console with an outdated storage medium? Or bring that vision to a perfectly viable system that could handle it? And don't forget, Square isn't the only company that left: Enix, before they merged with Square, Enix made a whopping 2 games for N64 before moving nearly all their output to PlayStation.

I mean, yeah, it's a little weird having Cloud in a Smash Bros game given that his main game has never been ported to a Nintendo console. But Final Fantasy as a whole has a lot of history with Nintendo, and Cloud is easily the most recognizable character from the franchise, so it makes sense.

It may not be anybody esle's cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoyed the My Life as a Series. Woulda been fun to see the battles play out, but it was just a Wiiware game. I wouldn't mind a fullfledged game maybe even allow controlling the battles.

Also, at least for me, if that guy is right and the mainline Final Fantasy series aren't ever coming to a Nintendo system because of that meeting and we got the Bravely series because of that I'd rather have the Bravely series.

Wed Jan 11 17 01:08pm
(Updated 2 times)

I'm a huge fan of the "My Life" games as well! I also love the rest of Crystal Chronicles series as well.

More on topic: All is well that ends well. Final Fantasy isn't the juggernaut it used to be in the VII and VIII days and Square-Enix is back to making games for Nintendo systems. One of the biggest games in Japan is DQ, and new games, remakes, and spin-offs for that series have been on Nintendo systems for quite some time now.

Also, it's crazy how different these guys' versions of the events are. I don't doubt Nintendo could have been callous about it, but I'm guessing the truth lies somewhere between "Here's an expensive bento meal, some beer, and a pat on the back. We wish you the best" and "Never come back!"

You're not the only one. I still remember all the trash talk ads they shot back on N64 with FF7 & Sony. They ganged them up big time.

... hold on... We're STILL throwing around the "Nintendo wasn't getting with the times argument" for the N64 era???

How many times do we have to go over the deal between Nintendo and Sony to keep people from twisting history? The only "times" Nintendo didn't get with were business strategies. Tech wise, they COULD NOT go the CD route BECAUSE their deal with Sony went awry. Whether you blame Nintendo or Sony on that front - fact of the matter is: Nintendo didn't "get with the times", because legally (and financially within a time limit: patenting a new disc system and setting up production) they COULDN'T.

You can argue business philosophy for the N64 - PlayStation years... But tech? That's a poor one to have because of the business.

That's pretty interesting, is there somewhere where I can read about the legal restrictions placed on Nintendo and producing CD-based systems?

But there was no legal reason why Nintendo couldn't do CDs. There's really no good reason beyond whatever problems they perceived with the format, how they perceived the market, and how they perceived their place in said market. We''ll never get an exact reason why, but we can assume that Nintendo just saw the issues Sega had with the Sega CD, looked at how how their second partner in Phillips had issues with their system gaining traction, and proceeded to say "Screw this noise, the SNES has carts and is doing gangbusters. Let's stick with the format and forget about discs. We'll still be the king." Heck, if the deal with Sony legally meant they weren't allowed to pursue anything close to the format until the GCN on their own, then we would surely have learned of a lawsuit when Nintendo went to Phillips for a second shot. (Honestly, the entire debacle should have had more legal battles going on outside Nintendo suing over the name of Sony's console. I wonder why that is.)

And even ignoring all that, the fact still remains that Nintendo lost Squaresoft and, in turn, a large amount of RPGs due to not using the disc format. Context doesn't really matter in that regard.

There were a few reasons why CD's were not chosen:
- The noise it can make, some games made the PS1 sound like a circular saw cutting wood.
- Loading times were a concern when pick up and play were top priority for Nintendo.
- The ease of piracy since CD's were available everywhere. In Colombia, where I am from, all ps1 games we purchased were pirated ($1 per disc).
- Long term durability. Cds as well as the CD drives don't last much with constant use and are in need of repairs. Nintendo had a mentality that you have a game you play it almost forever.
- Nintendo wanted to make a game console, not a multimedia device

Wed Jan 11 17 02:25pm
(Updated 1 time)

I have....never heard this before. It also doesn't line up with their deal with Phillips to make a CD-ROM drive for the SNES, which they pursued after Nintendo realized what their deal with Sony allowed Sony to do.

Well, the person who was actually there says he said they wished them luck. Some guy who wasn't even there says he heard they said to never come back. So why is it that the guy who just heard from someone else that is the one who everyone believes? I mean I wouldn't put it past Yamauchi to have been like that, but I'd still say the guy who was there has more credibility in this situation.

Wed Jan 11 17 01:18pm
Rating: 2

I was pretty amused by that too. There are two widely different answers, one from the guy who went to the meeting and another from a guy who's statement is complete hearsay.

What do the typical GN drama queens do? Instantly believe the guy who's information is secondhand at best and completely ignore what the man who actually met with Yamaguchi said.

(Like I said in reply to someone else, I'm willing to guess the truth is somewhere in between, but that's just my hunch. I should probably just default to the guy who was actually eating the bento and drinking the beer, though.)

I should probably just default to the guy who was actually eating the bento and drinking the beer, though
I think it's implied he didn't eat the bento or drink the beer.
Not that it makes a difference, but thought it interesting to point out

Yeah, I suppose if he followed the "don't drink the tea" rule, haha!

Then again...this is beer we're taking about. Hard to say no to that!

I'd believe it, given how stubborn and arrogant ol' man Yamauchi was.

Wed Jan 11 17 11:49am
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

Looks like Kawai is saying 'I heard this rumor', and Sakaguchi was like 'I was there'.

I think I'll listen to Sakaguchi, thanks.

Expect most people to cling to the dramatic headline and not critically think about this.

I agree. It sounds like the more inflammatory response is the fake one.

Wed Jan 11 17 12:42pm
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

Why after all these fkn years does this have to come out? I mean look how Nintendo is just a day away from showing the Switch & damage control just comes at them. 3rd parties really hate Nintendo so much & will find anything to rain on them at the right time if you ask me. But anyway lets just take this FF7 N64 beta instead of the remake SE, I say lets ''Switch'' up the graphics because I'm really digging this style more than the remake one!

It's from Polygon. I'm sure they brought this up to get clicks the day before Nintendos event. I still don't understand why the guy who was in the room is just disregarded though.

Lol, those people at Poltgon sure are pushing it....(Why those son of a ......, lol)

And yet the only proper version of Final Fantasy 6 is from the SNES......

Listen Lin....uh I mean SOCAR. FF6 would be very awesome if say that was remade for the Switch in a massive 3D in U4 instead of Switch port FF15. I would take FF6 over FF15 any day now!

And yet that all depends on whether SE wants to do it or not.

I agree. At some point they have to remake that as seen with the others which got remakes on the ds & smart phones.

Different president, different time... This isn't news either?

It is fitting that the FF7Remake will [likely] be the first mainline FF game to hit a Nintendo platform since then. How full circle!

Wed Jan 11 17 02:12pm
Rating: 1

Nintendo has been paying the price for Yamauchi's hubris for a very long time now.

what a joke, still clinging to the delusion of the psx being a gift from the technical gods ? without a fpu ? give me a break. well it's all fun and games as long as they can bash nintendo ... for what exactly ? not being happy the relationship ended ? because sorry the jpg with model on top isn't a technical reason, you know what's "gamingly" correct , pretending those things have nothing to do with royalties split and that those do not exist for a reason.

Cut out the CGI, which is what caused it to be a 3-4 disc game on PS1, and yes, put it on a decently sized cartridge, and FFVII could have run just fine on N64.

Of course, if Nintendo had decided to go with CDs for N64, this would have been a totally different story, most likely. Most third parties might well have stuck around, and the Playstation, without the third party games that propelled it, might well have flopped.

That does sound like something Yamauchi would say.

I feel like this is kinda "old news" since I think by now a lot of people know Yamauchi burned a lot of bridges that gen, making Iwata's job of mending said bridges so difficult that a "full recovery" apparently wasn't even possible during his lifetime.

Wed Jan 11 17 03:35pm
(Updated 1 time)

It's honestly worth reading the whole article Polygon had. It's actually pretty good and you get to hear about lots of little details. I think the problem was that Square wanted to use a mix of sprites and polygons, and the N64 wasn't up to snuff on the sprites part. It's unfortunate that this was the part reported on, since it wasn't really the interesting part lol.

Fact is that Sony put a lot of effort into making FF7 a success in the West (publishing it, marketing it, etc.) and it paid off and introduced the West to (J)RPGs in larger numbers. Plus as others have said, the only place you can play all the Dragon Quest games is now on Nintendo systems. DQ7 and 8 were the only two released originally on Playstation consoles, and those got ported to 3DS now as well.

Wed Jan 11 17 06:04pm
(Updated 1 time)

Misleading headline to misleading comments in article.... RMC what gives man, no text for video summary for your end of day, now misleads... Cummonman we pay you for this...

So what the interview actually says is that none of these guys agree on what really happened ^^


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