Every game developer is torn between serving their own desires and pleasing the gaming community. Finding that happy medium is not always easy, and while video games are still technically a young art form, there have already been lots of high-profile developers who fell short in the public's eye.
Despite Square Enix delivering some of the biggest titles today, such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Tomb Raider, the company has had its share of controversies. From problems in the workplace to ripping off its fans to questionable insensitivity towards parts of the community, Square Enix isn't praiseworthy despite its track record of hit games.
It’s time to review the many scandals that have plagued Square Enix over the years.
19 Hitman Trailer Featured Provocative Nuns With Guns
Square Enix recognized it needed to get gamers’ attention, but the Hitman series may have gone too far. In a trailer promoting Hitman: Absolution’s “Attack Of The Saints,” there’s a team of provocatively dressed nuns wielding guns. Escapist Magazine reports that there was an uproar over it, though in Square Enix’s defense—who had published the game—they admitted it caught them off guard too.
18 They Replaced A Kingdom Hearts Voice Actor After Release
It wasn’t Square Enix’s fault that one of their voice actors who lent his voice for Kingdom Hearts 3 went to jail, but it was another scandal that added to the company's history. Game Revolution reports that the original voice actor for Olaf, Pierre Taki, got busted with illegal substances, which forced Square Enix to replace his voice acting in a patch.
17 They Shrunk A Final Fantasy Character’s Bust
Tifa from Final Fantasy VII is popularly known for her rather large bosoms. With a remake on the way, fans hoped the game would be accurate to the original, even insofar as Tifa’s character design. GamesIndustry.biz reports Square Enix is going with their internal ethics department’s recommendation over what the fans want by reducing her chest size.
16 They Put Microtransactions In Deus Ex
Fans have less to complain about concerning the gameplay in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and more to say about how it arrived. According to Digital Spy, the microtransactions they put in the single-player campaign rubs players the wrong way. In a sense, Square Enix withheld the game’s complete features and options from players unless they forked over more dough.
15 Player Took Them To Court Claiming Final Fantasy Broke Their PlayStation
Back in 2010, gamers united to bring a lawsuit against Square Enix. They stated that Final Fantasy XIII ruined their PlayStation . According to GamesIndustry.biz, neither Square Enix nor Sony took responsibility, which didn’t make either company look very good. Even though Final Fantasy is the developer’s bestselling series, it may have turned off some gamers from picking it up.
14 Gamer Supposedly Threatened The Company After Buying Loot Boxes
A gamer supposedly spent $1,700 worth of loot boxes from Square Enix, didn’t get the desired items and threatened to harm employees at the company. The site Cracked reports the gamer issued their threat via email. Understandably, Square Enix went on high alert and the police launched an investigation into the matter.
13 They Discounted Tomb Raider Weeks After Release
In a matter of six weeks after Shadow of the Tomb Raider released, Destructoid reports that it went on sale at a discounted rate. This disappointed many gamers who had spent the full retail price just weeks before. Destructoid notes that the reviews on Steam dipped for the game as a result.
12 They Had To Remove A Controversial Hitman App
Game developers often release apps that promote new releases. In December 2012, according to GamesIndustry.biz, they removed an app from Facebook intended to market their Hitman games. The app had questionable features that encouraged users to provide an unflattering description of fellow Facebook friends, which served as a fake point of reference for a fictional hitman.
11 They’re Sticking With One-Gender Races In Final Fantasy (For Now)
Out of all the races gamers can play as in Final Fantasy XIV, two new ones are gender-locked. According to Bounding Into Comics, the Viera and Hrothgar races don’t offer two different genders to choose from, making many in the gaming community upset. There’s even a petition gathering signatures that fans hope will change the company’s mind.
10 They Supposedly Fired A Male Employee Who Claimed To Have Experienced Unwanted Advances
Take this next one with a grain of salt as major outlets have yet to report on this. According to YouTube channel TheQuartering, a male animator who worked on Kingdom Hearts 3 in Square Enix Japan wasn't taken seriously after reporting to execs he was supposedly the victim of sexual advances by a female co-worker.
9 They Jumped Ship From Nintendo And Picked Sony
Going back to the 1990s, Square Enix—which was Square at the time—considered bringing Final Fantasy VII to the Nintendo 64. They decided to go with the Sony PlayStation instead and the game brought the system lots of success. In Square’s defense at the time, they did it for business reasons that ultimately had gamers’ best interests at heart.
8 They Put Coupons For One Of Gamestop’s Competitors In Deus Ex Boxes
Gamestop wasn’t thrilled to find coupons for one of their competitors shipped with one of Square Enix's games. According to CBS News, the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution came with OnLive coupons, which forced Gamestop Employees to pull the game off shelves, open them and remove the coupons.
7 Deus Ex Features A Character People Think Is Insensitive
A lot of people weren’t happy with the way Square Enix depicted a character in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Players’ outrage over the character of Letitia gained enough traction that the company released an official statement. Despite Square Enix admitting in their statement, “It has never been our intention to represent any particular ethnic group in a negative light,” it seemed too little too late (Engadget).
6 They Cancelled Final Fantasy DLC After Director Quit
Final Fantasy XV has fallen on hard times as of late. Eurogamer reported back in November 2018 that the director behind the game hightailed it out of Square Enix. That left the game’s future and particularly its DLC up in the air as the company chose to cancel it for the time being.
5 Costumes In Final Fantasy Were Historically Insensitive To Certain Gamers
The beauty of games today is that developers can continue to deliver new content and changes after their release. Square Enix added costumes to their popular Final Fantasy XIV game and got blowback for the design. Game Revolution reports that players in Korea weren’t happy with the costumes because the style was akin to ones worn in a sensitive time for the country during Japan's occupation.
4 They Axed A Controversial Preorder Program For Deus Ex
Square Enix came up with a unique preorder program, gamers didn’t like it, so they got rid of it. How was it different from other preorders? According to VentureBeat, there was an elaborate reward system that got better if more people preordered Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Ultimately people spoke up about it and they scrapped it altogether.
3 They Left People In The Dark Over Project Prelude Rune
One of the projects that had brewed at Square Enix was Project Prelude Rune. That is, until Hideo Baba—the project’s director—left Square Enix. In the wake of his departure, the company failed to give an update on it, with many suspecting the project was dead. The least they could do was release a statement immediately following the incident (DualShockers).
2 They Haven’t Decided Yet Whether To Stop Working With A Composer Who Said Questionable Things
A Dragon Quest composer put Square Enix in a bind last year when he said some insensitive remarks about the LGBT community. While the company issued a statement, they didn’t make it clear whether they would suspend their relationship with the composer or not going forward, which raised many eyebrows in the gaming community.
1 They Based A Character Off Of Discredited Scientist
Real life events and people often influence games. For their game Star Galaxy, Kotaku reports that Square Enix based one of the characters off of Haruko Obokata, a former researcher in real life. Where the controversy lies is in Obokata herself, who’s in deep water for her methods involving stem-cells, thus forcing people to call out Square Enix's decision to base a character off her.
Sources: YouTube, Game Revolution, Digital Spy, Cracked, CBS News, Kotaku, GamesIndustry.biz, Engadget, Eurogamer, Escapist Magazine, VentureBeat, Bounding Into Comics, Destructoid, DualShockers