Square-Enix Europe has been doing great in terms of publishing their PS1 back-catalog on the PS1 store. They got Front Mission III and Vagrant Story in a timely fashion while North American fans continue to wait to this very day. Gamers who can’t wait for that long can create a UK account and download away, but the problem is that you won’t be playing the true versions of these games. Unfortunately due to how TVs used to work in Europe, their PS1 games generally have a significantly lower framerate than the North American and Japanese counterparts.
But I digress. The ESRB leaks Front Mission III’s bound release for the US. No set date yet, but the publisher is surprisingly not Square; it’s SCEA. What the fudge? The last game they published off Square is Final Fantasy VII, while Square EA handled the rest of their games up to 2003 when Square merged with Enix. And therein lies our problem.
I think the reason why Square-Enix USA is struggling to re-release their PS1 catalog on PSN is because of the previous joint venture, Square EA. SE may have to deal with EA before republishing their old games because of some sort of past contract agreement. From 1998 until 2003, Square EA has been giving us the goods on PS1. I’m assuming that Square-Enix still need to discuss each release with EA before going ahead with it, which kind of sucks for them if true. I may be over-analyzing things, but if you look at the UK releases you’ll know that there’s something fishy about all this. Square established their own branch in Europe around 1998 so they have not had any obstacles releasing PS1 downloads on PSN.
You can argue that the same holds true to Final Fantasy VIII and IX, but you’re half-wrong. FFVIII may be true since it’s published by Square EA, and indeed it has been released in Europe earlier than NA, but SE USA still kept the gap small. Obviously this is because it’s a popular franchise. With Final Fantasy IX, however, it’s a bit different. When Square merged with Enix, they went back and republished some of their older PS1 titles, including FFIX which is why the PSN re-release was significantly easier on them.
Thoughts? Theories? Am I crazy or does this make sense? Either way, I can’t wait for both Front Mission and Vagrant Story to finally see the light of day in the US. It’s been too long. FMIII is the only game I’ve played in the franchise and I thought it was brilliant back in the day.