Here at Lords of Gaming, we love Square Enix. Since the days when the company was Square and Enix, we have enjoyed the very best of Japanese gaming fashioned at their hands. The deep RPG systems, the unforgettable characters, the moments seared into our memories. There are the tentpole franchises, the Final Fantasy’s, the Dragon Quest’s, and then there are the other games. This award is for the other games. The games that Square Enix themselves seem to have forgotten they were publishing. These games deserved the marketing muscles that we all know Square Enix can flex. These are our winners for the Golden Lance Award for Most Poorly Marketed Square Enix Game.
Winner: Babylon Falls
It has not been a good year for Platinum Games. From the Bayonetta 3 voice actor controversy to the ill-fated live-service title Babylon’s Fall, 2022 will no doubt be a year to forget for both Square Enix and Platinum. Less than a year after its release, Babylon’s Fall servers are scheduled to shut down in February 2023. It looks like the game bit off more than it can chew and will be the first casualty of Sony’s 10 live-service games. In less than a week after its release, the game had 1 concurrent Steam user playing Babylon’s Fall, though the number quickly stabilized to 20-50 concurrent players. In the end, the game’s name is both ironic and a clear warning that it was dead on arrival. This game deserved better and that’s why it is our winner for Golden Lance Award for Most Poorly Marketed Square Enix Game.
Runner Up: The DioField Chronicle
By no means is The Diofield Chronicle a great game, but it didn’t need to be sent out to die the way that Square Enix did. Square Enix released many games this year, and The Diofield Chronicle felt a little lost in the shuffle. Not seeing much shine from the publisher outside of a Twitter account for the game. While there was a buzz about it, it felt like Square Enix simply released it to tie-up loose ends at the studio.
This is purely speculation, but Square Enix seems to be on the verge of shifting into a new era. Between their HD-2D games that are finding huge success, and titles like Final Fantasy XVI and Crisis Core remastered, Square Enix may try to min-max the types of games they make. I have a feeling that projects there were started when the mission statement was different, like The Diofield Chronicle and Various Daylife, and less love was shown to them after the mission statement changed. Maybe Square Enix set deadlines that the development teams had to hit, and they were released as is. The Diofield Chronicle amongst the titles that fell victim to a changing of the tides.
Runner Up: Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins
Marketing a Final Fantasy game should, in theory, be a very simple task. The name itself carries a huge weight within the industry, and a certain amount of hype will always attach itself to anything bearing the name Final Fantasy in the title. That Stranger of Paradise got it so wrong, then, is baffling. Yet, thanks to early trailer footage containing some of the most cringe-inducing dialogue ever written in a video game, the title quickly became the butt of many video-game memes and jokes. The protagonist Jack’s desire to ‘kill chaos’ became a parody of itself, and despite Square Enix attempting damage control by shoring up some of the later advertising prior to the game’s release, by that point, the damage had already been done.