Square aim for multiplatform
Breaking free of the constraints of one format may be quite difficult, though
Squaresoft executive veepee Hironobu Sakaguchi has made encouraging noises about his company's potential involvement with GameCube. When quizzed by the Los Angeles Times about his company's willingness to develop for GameCube and Xbox, he said that "this is certainly a possibility", and that "executives at Square are very enthusiastic about Nintendo." The tone of the interview was generally optimistic. It seems clear that Square would like to develop games cross-format to ensure a decent online experience for all. To do this, "you have to transcend hardware," he told the Times. "If we want to do financially well online, we need to exist across all consoles." The only problem we can see with his theory is that for it to work, the games would have to be nigh on identical. As demonstrated in the past, gamers on different platforms playing against one another incur certain advantages and disadvantages that are entirely the fault of their PC or console's capabilities. The obvious example here is the small window of opportunity that Quake 3 gamers on the PC had to play against Dreamcast owners. Even a half-decent PC gamer using a keyboard and mouse could utterly destroy their Dreamcast counterpart in a matter of moments, and the Dreamcast was unable to handle servers with more than four players, too. Keeping gamers up to date is another problem. Eventually Quake 3 on the PC was patched and the Dreamcast version was left behind. If you're constantly patching the game's persistent online world, you need to be able to do it to every edition, and Sega/Id Software couldn't. If Square don't have a problem with one format's version of a game looking better than another, that's probably all right, but if they do, then we're looking at the lowest common denominator syndrome. A game would have to be made that pushed the weakest of the systems to the extreme so that it wouldn't look out of place on more advanced hardware. We applaud their intentions, but reckon it might be more than they can afford to chew on. Sakaguchi made it clear however that Final Fantasy XI, which he described as "a fully online game", will have to be the first to surpass these boundaries. Related Feature - Final Fantasy not-so-final?