Do You Think Square-Enix Are Good Storytellers?

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Posted by bogey_j (44 posts) 1 year, 1 month ago

Poll: Do You Think Square-Enix Are Good Storytellers? (55 votes)

yes, they are generally great storytellers 22%
no, they've always been a load of tripe chalk full of melodrama 18%
even if they arent poetic masterpieces, they've created stories people remember and cherish, so yes 7%
they used to be, but not anymore 45%
in the realm of videogames, sure. but in compared to movies, books and tv shows they are laughable 5%

i'm talking historically, from the original squaresoft and enix until now. cumulatively do you think they are good storytellers?

#1 Posted by JangoWuzHere (16796 posts) -

FF13 is an example of some of the worst story telling in video games.

#2 Edited by Gue1 (10419 posts) -

they used to be but then FF13 happened. And Enix was really good too! I mean, have you ever played Illusion of Gaia or Terranigma? Both terrific games on par with FF.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNYoRdQnxvs

#3 Edited by Lucianu (9489 posts) -

No. Neither Enix nor Square Soft ever made a game with good story telling. Dragon Quest V is the only JRPG with any connection with these two companies, to have truly awesome storytelling, but that wasn't developed by Enix or Square. Man, DQV was a very well written game.

I love the story and characters of Xenogears, regardless of its numerous flaws, but the story telling wasn't good as it relied heavily on poorly translated text, especially in the second disc which was practically a visual novel.

#4 Posted by Lucianu (9489 posts) -

@Gue1 said:

they used to be but then FF13 happened. And Enix was really good too! I mean, have you ever played Illusion of Gaia or Terranigma? Both terrific games on par with FF.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNYoRdQnxvs

Not a fan of Illusion of Gaia, a lot of stuff that you need to do to progress through the game at certain points are vague as fuck, really irritated me after a wile, so i'm never touching that again.

But Terranigma is awesome. Much better designed.

#5 Posted by treedoor (7648 posts) -

No.

I don't think I've ever played a JRPG with good story-telling.

As far as the writing goes, I've never played a Square-Enix, Squaresoft, or Enix game with good writing.

#6 Posted by bbkkristian (14963 posts) -

They have still yet a story to surpass the Zodiac Braves story (Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions), which is there best work in terms of story.

We'll see how XV's story goes, but the entire XIII series left a bad taste for the series.

@Gue1: I'm surprised you know of Illusion of Gaia, it's one of my favorite games.

#7 Posted by Netret0120 (2255 posts) -

SquareSOFT had good stories. Square-enix lost the plot.

#8 Posted by hiphops_savior (7973 posts) -

They did when Sakaguchi was still around. FF9's story nearly rivals that of Disney films.

#9 Posted by Link3301 (1708 posts) -

Yes they tell great stories.

#10 Posted by mems_1224 (47452 posts) -

not anymore

#11 Posted by MadVybz (2797 posts) -

Good story tellers? ...meh. Can't say they are. There definitely have been great stories by Square back in the day, like Final Fantasy Tactics.

The only good story I can think of by SquareEnix is Dragon Quest VIII. And maybe FFXII.

#12 Posted by The4thVIII (372 posts) -

They don't have anyone who could write to save their lives ever. Saga frontier 2 and Tactics FF were the only games were it SEEMED like they wanted to try (and still failed but it is miles from every other game.)

By they i mean not just Square, but Taito, and Enix before as well. While I am at it, no Jrpg has people who know how to write. Zip, and it seems only when J-devs try to make a Wrpg, that the Rpg story at least is somewhat "partially" competent.

#13 Edited by Big_Pecks (5431 posts) -

They have interesting concepts before its put through the convoluted machine.

#14 Edited by Jag85 (4766 posts) -

Square Enix are not good storytellers. But I'd say Squaresoft and Enix, on the other hand, were good storytellers.

Squaresoft produced memorable stories in RPG's like FF 4-10 & Tactics, Xenogears, Chrono Trigger & Cross, etc. Whether or not the stories in these games are 'dated' or not, there's no denying that they pushed boundaries for RPG storytelling. As for Enix, their RPG's weren't known for having great stories, but Dragon Quest V's story is still one of the best I've seen in the genre (as already mentioned above by Lucianu).

In Japan, however, Squaresoft and Enix weren't only known for RPG's, but also for Adventure and Visual Novel games, many of which apparently had better-written narratives than their RPG's. I've only played several of them, and among them only completed Portopia Serial Murder Case, which for a 1983 game had a better story than pretty much any RPG I've played before FFIV. Other old-school Squaresoft/Enix adventure games which are said to have well-written stories include Death Trap, Alpha, Zarth, Hokkaido Chain Murders, Karuizawa Kidnapping, Misty Blue, JESUS (yes, you read that right), etc.

#15 Edited by ActicEdge (24492 posts) -

I dunno what Squaresoft of old people speak of but for the most part the actual writing in their games from past to present is shit. They certainly had a knack for giving characters interesting back stories though and they knew how to world build really well. But the writing itself was never very good. Playing FF6 now, the game could use a re-translation and editing to the script, of all their FF games this one has probably the most potential. I haven't played FF tactics (probably the next game I play) but Vagrant Story is the best written and told SE game I've played.

#16 Posted by Basinboy (11275 posts) -

S-E has hit the right notes on occasion, but they fail more often than they succeed. Leaves us all wanting for Squaresoft again :(

#17 Posted by nini200 (9961 posts) -

Squaresoft was great at storytelling and so was Enix. Square Enix on the other hand started the companies downfall.

#18 Edited by Lucianu (9489 posts) -

@treedoor said:

No.

I don't think I've ever played a JRPG with good story-telling.

As far as the writing goes, I've never played a Square-Enix, Squaresoft, or Enix game with good writing.

Trust me wen i tell you, play Dragon Quest V. I can't stress enough how genuinely well writen and how great the story is told. That's the greatest JRPG ever made, in my opinion. Criminally underrated, and still light years above any JRPG (with the exception of Panzer Dragoon Saga, Mother 3, Chrono Trigger and PSIV) that has come before or after.

After you're done with that, give Phantasy Star IV a go. The story isn't as good, but it's my 2nd favorite JRPG, because of the unique sci-fi/fantasy theme, memorable characters and storytelling that's progressed through comic-book like cutscenes.

Basically, if anyone wants a change of opinion on JRPGs - Dragon Quest V, Chrono Trigger, Mother 3, Phantasy Star IV and Panzer Dragoon Saga are simply the best in the genre and must plays.

Very different from Final Fantasy, which in my opinion, is a criminally overrated franchise of games that mostly have shitty writing and pace.

#19 Posted by GreySeal9 (24859 posts) -

@hiphops_savior said:

They did when Sakaguchi was still around. FF9's story nearly rivals that of Disney films.

As much as I love FF9, that's going a bit too far.

#20 Edited by The_Last_Ride (72999 posts) -

i still like them even though a lot of people hate them atm.

#21 Edited by edidili (3449 posts) -

They used to be, at least I think so. I don't know if the standard for story telling on games used to be lower back then or it was because I was younger and easier to impress.

#22 Edited by Bread_or_Decide (17941 posts) -

They have no idea how to tell a good story without melodrama and cliche's.

#23 Edited by Jag85 (4766 posts) -
@GreySeal9 said:
@hiphops_savior said:

They did when Sakaguchi was still around. FF9's story nearly rivals that of Disney films.

As much as I love FF9, that's going a bit too far.

I wouldn't exactly consider Disney films to be the pinnacle of storytelling... While it most certainly doesn't rival Disney's best from the Disney Renaissance (which coincided with Squaresoft's golden age, oddly enough), I'd argue that FFIX at the very least had a better plot than your average Disney flick.

Either way, FFIX is more comparable to Ghibli/Miyazaki films rather than Disney films, which shouldn't be surprising since the Final Fantasy series as a whole owes a lot to early Miyazaki films like Nausicaa and Laputa.

#24 Edited by Jag85 (4766 posts) -

@ActicEdge said:

I dunno what Squaresoft of old people speak of but for the most part the actual writing in their games from past to present is shit. They certainly had a knack for giving characters interesting back stories though and they knew how to world build really well. But the writing itself was never very good. Playing FF6 now, the game could use a re-translation and editing to the script, of all their FF games this one has probably the most potential. I haven't played FF tactics (probably the next game I play) but Vagrant Story is the best written and told SE game I've played.

A lot of the writing issues in older FF games mainly stems from weak translations, which in turn stemmed either from technical limitations such as cartridge space, or rushed localizations.

A couple of characters of Japanese text is more or less equivalent to several words in English, which in the 16-bit era made it difficult to translate Japanese text into English without exceeding the cartridge limitations. Even after the 16-bit era, however, Squaresoft often did a rushed job when it came to localizations, sometimes having a Japanese team who are not native English speakers attempting to translate the text into English, like in FFVII's case.

Anyway, my point is that, especially in the case of older FF games, the quality of the English translated script was not a very good indicator of the story's writing quality in its original Japanese language. This isn't much of an issue anymore with modern Japanese games though, but it was an issue back in the days.

#25 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38217 posts) -

They made Final Fantasy IX so yeah, at some point they were able to write decent characters at least. It's story is a bit hit and miss but FFVI and VII are decent in that regard as well as some parts of the overall premise to X

Nowadays SE are having a huge identity crisis, they want to move FF forward but seem to have forgotten what made the series great and they're trying to appeal more towards a western audience than ever before.

#26 Posted by ActicEdge (24492 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@ActicEdge said:

I dunno what Squaresoft of old people speak of but for the most part the actual writing in their games from past to present is shit. They certainly had a knack for giving characters interesting back stories though and they knew how to world build really well. But the writing itself was never very good. Playing FF6 now, the game could use a re-translation and editing to the script, of all their FF games this one has probably the most potential. I haven't played FF tactics (probably the next game I play) but Vagrant Story is the best written and told SE game I've played.

A lot of the writing issues in older FF games mainly stems from weak translations, which in turn stemmed either from technical limitations such as cartridge space, or rushed localizations.

A couple of characters of Japanese text is more or less equivalent to several words in English, which in the 16-bit era made it difficult to translate Japanese text into English without exceeding the cartridge limitations. Even after the 16-bit era, however, Squaresoft often did a rushed job when it came to localizations, sometimes having a Japanese team who are not native English speakers attempting to translate the text into English, like in FFVII's case.

Anyway, my point is that, especially in the case of older FF games, the quality of the English translated script was not a very good indicator of the story's writing quality in its original Japanese language. This isn't much of an issue anymore with modern Japanese games though, but it was an issue back in the days.

I'm aware of shoddy translations hence why I said FF6 for example could use a re-translation with editing but still, I live in NA and those are the versions of SE's games that I played so I shouldn't really have to think about what the original Japanese text is. SE in terms of what they put out in NA haven't been all that great in terms of writing. I don't really feel like their further generation of efforts have been better, in fact they are pretty terrible for other reasons. FF12 did have a great translation and voice cast though. As I said, best written SE game imo is Vagrant Story.

#27 Posted by finalfantasy94 (26676 posts) -

@Gue1 said:

they used to be but then FF13 happened. And Enix was really good too! I mean, have you ever played Illusion of Gaia or Terranigma? Both terrific games on par with FF.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNYoRdQnxvs

How dare you link spoony one of the worst reviewers iv seen on the internet.

#28 Edited by finalfantasy94 (26676 posts) -

I say they are ok. The stories of old lets say FF4 are more straightforward with their overall plot witch isint a bad thing.I remember being confused a bit with 13 story wise. Though to be hoenst its more their characters that keep me around then the overall story.

#29 Posted by treedoor (7648 posts) -

@Lucianu said:

@treedoor said:

No.

I don't think I've ever played a JRPG with good story-telling.

As far as the writing goes, I've never played a Square-Enix, Squaresoft, or Enix game with good writing.

Trust me wen i tell you, play Dragon Quest V. I can't stress enough how genuinely well writen and how great the story is told. That's the greatest JRPG ever made, in my opinion. Criminally underrated, and still light years above any JRPG (with the exception of Panzer Dragoon Saga, Mother 3, Chrono Trigger and PSIV) that has come before or after.

After you're done with that, give Phantasy Star IV a go. The story isn't as good, but it's my 2nd favorite JRPG, because of the unique sci-fi/fantasy theme, memorable characters and storytelling that's progressed through comic-book like cutscenes.

Basically, if anyone wants a change of opinion on JRPGs - Dragon Quest V, Chrono Trigger, Mother 3, Phantasy Star IV and Panzer Dragoon Saga are simply the best in the genre and must plays.

Very different from Final Fantasy, which in my opinion, is a criminally overrated franchise of games that mostly have shitty writing and pace.

It's not so much about the stories that are written in JRPGs.

I just don't think the structure of a JRPG lends itself to telling the story in a way that's unique to the medium. The games are broken up into sections/chapters, and story/dialogue is told through cutscenes and dialogue that's typically progressed with 0 player interaction.

Granted most games are set up like that, which is to say I'm not fond of how most video games tell their stories.

#30 Edited by RogueStatus28 (513 posts) -

Bravely Default= epic story telling

Modern Final Fantasy blows and Kingdom Hearts is now an cluster f*ck.

#31 Posted by RogueStatus28 (513 posts) -

Xenoblade box artwork.pngBDFF Logo.jpgX by Monolith Soft logo E3 2013.pngLast Story Box Art.jpg

There's always better alternatives.

#32 Posted by finalfantasy94 (26676 posts) -

@RogueStatus28 said:

There's always better alternatives.

Xenoblades universe was ineresting.The characters and overall plot wasint imo.Isint one of bravely default negatives at least going by some reviews is the story?

#33 Edited by ReadingRainbow4 (14692 posts) -

@Lucianu said:

No. Neither Enix nor Square Soft ever made a game with good story telling. Dragon Quest V is the only JRPG with any connection with these two companies, to have truly awesome storytelling, but that wasn't developed by Enix or Square. Man, DQV was a very well written game.

I love the story and characters of Xenogears, regardless of its numerous flaws, but the story telling wasn't good as it relied heavily on poorly translated text, especially in the second disc which was practically a visual novel.

Same here, Xenogears is one of my top favorite games from my childhood, I know some people feel it's reliance on religion resulted in a heavy handed and convoluted story but It's still one of my favorites, even if the game started to fall apart near the end. It definitely holds a great cast of characters.

Now it's all about how brooding your personality can be and or how many belts you can maintain at once.

Too bad the xenosaga games just couldn't touch it.

I've yet to check out DQV, I loved DQ VIII.

#34 Edited by deleteduser198 (0 posts) -

No. Naughty Dog has become better story tellers. See The Last of Us.

#36 Posted by Heil68 (45769 posts) -

No, not like they used to be.

#37 Posted by texasgoldrush (9265 posts) -

@RogueStatus28 said:

There's always better alternatives.

#38 Edited by Lucianu (9489 posts) -

@ReadingRainbow4 said:

@Lucianu said:

No. Neither Enix nor Square Soft ever made a game with good story telling. Dragon Quest V is the only JRPG with any connection with these two companies, to have truly awesome storytelling, but that wasn't developed by Enix or Square. Man, DQV was a very well written game.

I love the story and characters of Xenogears, regardless of its numerous flaws, but the story telling wasn't good as it relied heavily on poorly translated text, especially in the second disc which was practically a visual novel.

I've yet to check out DQV, I loved DQ VIII.

I really liked VIII as well, but it was more of a traditional DQ game, basically taking everything charming and old school from the franchise and pumping it out with an excellent art direction.

DQV is the odd entry. It's still charming, but the story and character development is on a completely different level from anything i've ever seen in a JRPG. You basically play with the character from the moment he's born (once you can walk you can play with him tho, obviously) up until he's a full grown adult with a family. You experience everything the character, his friends and his enemies goes through over time, and how everything changes over time.

It's such a brilliant experience. It was so well writen and well paced, that i couldn't help not feel emotionally invested with the characters.

#39 Posted by Samus3D (1675 posts) -

@texasgoldrush said:

@RogueStatus28 said:

There's always better alternatives.

#40 Posted by Shirokishi_ (11203 posts) -

@Lucianu said:

@Gue1 said:

they used to be but then FF13 happened. And Enix was really good too! I mean, have you ever played Illusion of Gaia or Terranigma? Both terrific games on par with FF.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNYoRdQnxvs

Not a fan of Illusion of Gaia, a lot of stuff that you need to do to progress through the game at certain points are vague as fuck, really irritated me after a wile, so i'm never touching that again.

But Terranigma is awesome. Much better designed.

You guys though Illusion of Gaia had good story telling? It didnt have a bad story but good? Eh.
Terranigmas was actually pretty great.

But yeah, Square Enix hasnt really been associated with good storytelling since games like FFXII, IX, Vagrant Story, FFTactics, Valyrie Profile and Tactics Ogre and the latter arent even made by them, they just published them technically.

#41 Posted by RossRichard (2397 posts) -

Square was amazing 15-20 years ago, not so much now.

#42 Edited by Jag85 (4766 posts) -
@ActicEdge said:

@Jag85 said:

@ActicEdge said:

I dunno what Squaresoft of old people speak of but for the most part the actual writing in their games from past to present is shit. They certainly had a knack for giving characters interesting back stories though and they knew how to world build really well. But the writing itself was never very good. Playing FF6 now, the game could use a re-translation and editing to the script, of all their FF games this one has probably the most potential. I haven't played FF tactics (probably the next game I play) but Vagrant Story is the best written and told SE game I've played.

A lot of the writing issues in older FF games mainly stems from weak translations, which in turn stemmed either from technical limitations such as cartridge space, or rushed localizations.

A couple of characters of Japanese text is more or less equivalent to several words in English, which in the 16-bit era made it difficult to translate Japanese text into English without exceeding the cartridge limitations. Even after the 16-bit era, however, Squaresoft often did a rushed job when it came to localizations, sometimes having a Japanese team who are not native English speakers attempting to translate the text into English, like in FFVII's case.

Anyway, my point is that, especially in the case of older FF games, the quality of the English translated script was not a very good indicator of the story's writing quality in its original Japanese language. This isn't much of an issue anymore with modern Japanese games though, but it was an issue back in the days.

I'm aware of shoddy translations hence why I said FF6 for example could use a re-translation with editing but still, I live in NA and those are the versions of SE's games that I played so I shouldn't really have to think about what the original Japanese text is. SE in terms of what they put out in NA haven't been all that great in terms of writing. I don't really feel like their further generation of efforts have been better, in fact they are pretty terrible for other reasons. FF12 did have a great translation and voice cast though. As I said, best written SE game imo is Vagrant Story.

It's worth noting that the English translations of both FFXII and Vagrant Story were handled by Alexander O. Smith, who is considered one of the best translators in the business. A good translation can make a big difference to the writing quality, like with the PS1 translations of Tactics Ogre and FF Tactics compared to Smith's superior PSP translations.

Either way, I agree older Squaresoft games like FFVI and especially FFVII definitely need a re-translation. But as they are, knowing how shoddy their translations were, I prefer to judge them for the overall quality of their storytelling rather than the quality of the translated English scripts. But for the more modern Square Enix games, which most often are well translated, there's really no excuse for the weak writing quality.

#43 Edited by jg4xchamp (48731 posts) -

Fuck No.

#44 Posted by LustForSoul (5899 posts) -

Every single Final Fantasy game is just cheesy dialogue and melodrama. So no.

#45 Posted by uninspiredcup (9696 posts) -

A lot of the young console people request a remake of Final Fantasy 7 declaring the series is no longer good.

My friends, the truth is, it was never good to begin with.

#46 Posted by timbers_WSU (5753 posts) -

The western developers are. Their Japanese made games are shit.

#47 Edited by Jag85 (4766 posts) -

@uninspiredcup said:

A lot of the young console people request a remake of Final Fantasy 7 declaring the series is no longer good.

My friends, the truth is, it was never good to begin with.

FFVII was great for its time, but it hasn't aged so great.

@timbers_WSU said:

The western developers are. Their Japanese made games are shit.

By "western developers", I assume you mean Square Enix Europe, a.k.a. Eidos? While a great game developer, I wouldn't exactly consider them great storytellers.

#48 Edited by Jag85 (4766 posts) -

@Lucianu said:

No. Neither Enix nor Square Soft ever made a game with good story telling. Dragon Quest V is the only JRPG with any connection with these two companies, to have truly awesome storytelling, but that wasn't developed by Enix or Square. Man, DQV was a very well written game.

I love the story and characters of Xenogears, regardless of its numerous flaws, but the story telling wasn't good as it relied heavily on poorly translated text, especially in the second disc which was practically a visual novel.

While I agree about the awesomeness of DQ V's storytelling, there's something I don't quite get about your comment regarding Xenogears... Since when was being like a visual novel a bad thing? Unless you're referring to the translation quality?

#49 Posted by ArisShadows (22664 posts) -

They made Final Fantasy.

#50 Posted by Lucianu (9489 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@Lucianu said:

No. Neither Enix nor Square Soft ever made a game with good story telling. Dragon Quest V is the only JRPG with any connection with these two companies, to have truly awesome storytelling, but that wasn't developed by Enix or Square. Man, DQV was a very well written game.

I love the story and characters of Xenogears, regardless of its numerous flaws, but the story telling wasn't good as it relied heavily on poorly translated text, especially in the second disc which was practically a visual novel.

While I agree about the awesomeness of DQ V's storytelling, there's something I don't quite get about your comment regarding Xenogears... Since when was being like a visual novel a bad thing? Unless you're referring to the translation quality?

The translation quality but also the change of pace. I wanted to play and explore so much of what the game described to me instead, on that second disc.. It really pissed me off.