Square and Enix surprised a lot of people today by announcing plans to merge. The two companies will begin operating as one from the start of the next business year on April 1, 2003. Either that or they'll take the wraps off the biggest and most elaborate April Fools ever, and we're not sure that's in their character.
The merger will leave one company by the name of Square Enix*, chaired by current Enix chairman Yasuhio Fukushima, with current Square president Wada Youchi assuming the role of president. Enix president Keiji Honda will become a veepee.
According to Reuters, one Square share will be exchanged for 0.81 shares in Enix under the deal. Enix will issue 48.76 million new shares to swap for shares in Square.
A joint statement issued by the two gaming giants points to the heightened cost of development and foreign competition - this move is seen as a consolidation from a business point of view.
From a gamer's point of view, however, it opens the doors to all manner of unthinkable crossovers. Anybody with more than a passing interest in the likes of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy will be itching to see what Square Enix can cook up together.
Meanwhile, attention has turned to the company's respective forthcoming releases; Final Fantasy X-2 and Star Ocean 3. Both are extremely highly anticipated in Japan and represent enormous gambles for both companies. Then again, evidently Square Enix is a group ready to take risks.
* Despite rumours to the contrary, Eurogamer editorial will not be referring to the new company as 'Squenix'. It sounds too much like a lavatory disinfectant. If you have any other suggestions though, drop us a line.