The creators of the renowned Final Fantasy franchise and the upcoming Deus Ex have logged a 6-month profit of ¥3.7 billion (just under £30 million / $48 million). This would suggest that the forthcoming releases we’re all awaiting in 2012 are definitely on their way, and I am certainly excited…

I’ve been a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise for a few years now, starting with Crisis Core as my first ever FF play. Having little prior gaming experience, I was stunned by the excellent quality battle graphics and cut-scenes, the heavy-metal-esque soundtrack and the ability to power up Zack by completing missions, so that when you go back to that tricky boss, you’re ready. Sure, I’m probably an amateur, but this fantastic sub-plot to the FFIX storyline really got me interested in playing some of the others; so I went onto Amazon…

£47.56 later, I had bought myself 3 DS games, 2 Playstation games and a brand spanking new copy of FFXIII. I wanted a taste of the range of styles, combat techniques, weaponry and imagination that had gone into creating the franchise as it is today. My experience has been great so far, and I recommend trying some of them out if you haven’t already.

Anyway, as you may know, FFXIII-2 comes out February 3rd in Europe, with the availability to pre-order for special extras such as art cards and a novella. The sequel starts straight after the end sequence of XIII, so if you’ve played it you will have a clear understanding of what’s already been going on. Unlike its predecessor, part two concentrates on presenting a ‘proper RPG’, rather than a seemingly endless set of video sequences, and introduces us to playable characters we had no access to before, such as Serah. Square Enix arguably released XIII-2 to redeem themselves after a poor reception to the original, but I for one am very excited about its release.

Back to the profits, the headline game on Square Enix’s website, and the talk on the town, is focused on Deus Ex: Human Revolution. You play a cyborg, Adam Jensen, who has been picked to oversee some biotechnical advancement. It’s already shipped over 2 million units, a success in SE’s eyes, and is clearly a vantage point from which to continue spewing out fantastic games, like the long awaited saviour Tomb Raider, and Hitman Absolution.

Competitors to Square Enix like Konami, SEGA and Capcom, all have their own styles of games. Konami produces the PES football games and Yu-Gi-Oh, SEGA famously created Sonic the Hedgehog, and Capcom own the innovative Resident Evil series. This range between the four enables each to go their separate ways, whilst silently trying to get a one-up on the other. Currently SEGA have the lead with Sonic Generations in the ‘Top 40 X360 Chart’, but this is sure to change in the next 6 months.

SE’s announcement of such an impressive profit certainly puts pressure on rival publishers, and they recently doubled their profit forecast, the prediction of which almost hit the nail on the head. According to Dan Pearson, GI.biz, “The report marks a positive departure from the trend of other recent reports from Japanese companies, including Sony and Nintendo, which have all indicated a difficult financial period.” The company’s sales in the online market and Smartphone releases all have a part to play in explaining this sudden surge of confidence, mainly involving the online Final Fantasy franchise extension, which arguably threatens newer games like Gears of War 3, however Battlefield 3 will undoubtedly have no problem keeping its online numbers high.

At the 2011 E3 event, SE’s Tomb Raider and Hitman Absolution spearheaded more than 140 awards, proving potential in the company yet. The showcase impressed fans and critics alike, and Jesse Divinich, vice president of EEDAR (Electronic Entertainment Design and Research), had this to say: “Square Enix is synonymous for delivering an unparalleled gaming experience that is rivalled by none…The positive reception from critics and consumers during E3 2011 make it clear that the entire industry anxiously awaits the release of some of its most sought after franchises.”

To add to the excitement, on the Android Market you will shortly be able to find hot titles such as Dragon Quest Monsters: Wanted, Final Fantasy Legends and Chrono Trigger available for purchase, just proving that SE have really pushed the boat out to keep earning the yen they’re expecting.

Although Square Enix are just one of many companies out there on the market, I think we have a lot to look forward to in the near future. I’m sorely looking forward to FFXIII-2 in February, and Tomb Raider late next year, especially because they will help me concentrate on my exams… if you have yet to play a Square Enix game, which I doubt, get your hands on one and see what all the hype is about – you may just find yourself hooked on a franchise just like I was.

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