Without two JRPG franchises, Sony’s PlayStation might not have achieved the same results (and even today’s record-breaking PS2 might not have sold more than 155 million units!)…
Shuhei Yoshida, formerly head of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios (now called PlayStation Studios and headed by ex-Guerrilla Games executive Hermen Hulst), is now the number one contact for indie developers with Sony, so he still has an important role to play within the PlayStation brand. He also spoke at the BIG Conference in Bilbao, Spain, and highlighted the significant role that two franchises have played in the success of PlayStation.
These two franchises were Final Fantasy from SquareSoft and Dragon Quest from Enix (the two companies were separate then!). He pointed out that in the 1990s, SEGA and Nintendo dominated the gaming industry, and some companies had concerns about Sony’s PlayStation, which was essentially a revenge launch (Sony and Nintendo had previously created the Play Station prototype together, but the big N had moved on to Philips…). Sony, in turn, approached Square and Enix…
“These two RPGs are the biggest IPs in Japan. And, they were talking behind the scenes [things] that I cannot tell, but both of them committed to bringing their new games to PlayStation. That totally changed our fortune, and finally, we had the games we needed to make PlayStation successful,” said Yoshida.
Final Fantasy VII was first planned for the SNES and was released on the PS1 instead of the N64 in 1997, as Nintendo continued to stick with cartridges (which could hold up to 64MB of data, compared to 650-700 on a CD!). It gave Sony a huge boost not only in the Japanese market but also in the Western region. Dragon Quest VII was announced in 1996 for the Nintendo 64DD, the Japan-only “enhanced N64,” which proved to be a commercial failure. Then it was moved to the PS1 in 1997 before being released in Japan in 2000 and North America in 2001 as Dragon Warrior VII (no PAL conversion).
That’s what two JRPGs meant to Sony!