For the past few years, thousands of RPG fans have been waiting to hear one phrase uttered: Square back on Nintendo. Well, wipe that saliva off of your keyboard, because it seems that this is exactly what has taken place. Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun has reported that the two mega-companies have decided to put the past behind them. Square, which has been absent from the House that Mario built for five years now, will be developing games for both the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance.
What's even more surprising than the announcement of the return is the apparent source of the reunion: Hiroshi Yamauchi, the very same person that was supposedly involved in the rift between the two companies. In January, Yamauchi set up Fund Q, an organization that would provide funding for new game developers. According to the news report, a "Square-affiliated game production company" is going to be on the receiving end of some of this capital. This new company will be comprised of unnamed Square staffers and Akitoshi Kawazu, who previously worked on Legend of Mana and the recent FF anime series, Final Fantasy Unlimited.
The exact details of the first title in the new agreement have not yet been made public, but it is likely to be a new game that will allow Nintendo's new hardware to interact. The article states that the company will, "produce software allowing users of two Nintendo consoles -- the GameCube and Game Boy Advance -- to play together," and that this title will be released by the end of the year. The news story does however explicitly state that the Final Fantasy series will be appearing on a Nintendo console in the future, though specifics are unknown.
This announcement will definitely help all the Square-heads out there sleep a lot better this weekend. Check back with us as official details from both Square and Nintendo are released in the coming weeks.
Update 03.08.2002: So much for confirmation in the "coming weeks." Perrin Kaplan, vice president at Nintendo of America, has confirmed the Nihon Keizai Shimbun story. "This is very exciting news for us and surely for gameplayers around the world. Square's talent is well-respected. Between the combination of their good work, and Nintendo's exclusive connectivity ability between GCN and GBA, the result will be great."