There has been a lot of buzz at E3 2019 about Square Enix remaking some of its classic games (most notably Final Fantasy VII and Seiken Densetsu 3), but there is still a lot of money to be made in porting the older Squaresoft and Enix titles to modern systems, which Square Enix might be doing in the future.
Square Enix hasn't been shy about porting its older games to smartphones and Steam, with many entries in the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy series being playable on modern machines. Square Enix has also come under fire for some shoddy ports, such as the PC version of Chrono Trigger looking terrible and requiring several updates before it was fixed.
It seems that Square Enix wants to port as much of its back catalogue to modern machines as possible. Square Enix president and CEO, Yosuke Matsuda, spoke to Game Informer about the plans concerning the company's older titles and the possibility of creating a digital subscription service to accommodate them all.
"We're working on that in a variety of ways," Matsuda said. "That is a request that we hear often. As far as our major titles go, most of those, we still have variations out that you can play now. The more classic titles that you might have played on NES, we are still working hard to make it so you can play those. We actually have launched a dedicated project internally to port those, so we are working to make them available on a variety of platforms. Certainly down the road, we would like to see that on a subscription or streaming service, so we're exploring the possibility of creating a dedicated channel for ourselves."
"I think everyone is going in that direction, so we do want to be proactive in considering those options. We still don't know if it would be a subscription service or an exclusive downloading service or what form it might take, but we do want to leverage our catalog."
Square Enix has recently localized two of its classic Super Nintendo RPGs for the first time, with both Romancing Saga 3 and Seiken Densetsu 3 (now known as Trials of Mana) being available in English for the first time. It's likely that Square Enix never saw the value in its back catalogue (outside of the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy series) for many years, as there weren't many ways to monetize them. The existence of mobile phones and platforms like Steam means that Square Enix has a massive potential audience and classic games that never left Japan, like Bahamut Lagoon and Live A Live, might seem like interesting prospects for localization, especially for a proprietary service where Square Enix gets to keep all of the profits.