Square Company, Ltd. (株式会社スクウェア Kabushiki-gaisha Sukuwea?) was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1983 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with rival company Enix in 2003 and became part of Square Enix.
Squaresoft was also a brand name used by Square between 1992 and 2003. As such, the name is often used incorrectly to refer to the entire organization, but the Japanese corporate name remained Square Co., Ltd. until the Enix merger.
Square was founded in Yokohama in September 1983 by Masafumi Miyamoto after he graduated from Waseda Universiy. Back then, Square was a computer game software division of Den-Yu-Sha, a power line construction company owned by Miyamoto's father. While at the time game development was usually conducted by only one programmer, Miyamoto believed that it would be more efficient to have graphic designers, programmers and professional story writers work together on common projects. Square's first two titles were The Death Trap and its sequel Will: The Death Trap II, both designed by part-time employee Hironobu Sakaguchi and released on the NEC PC-8801.
Despite an initial reluctance to develop for video game consoles, Square entered the Nintendo Entertainment System market in December 1985 with the porting of Thexder. In September 1986, Square spun off from Den-Yu-Sha and became an independent company officially named Square Co., Ltd. Sakaguchi then became a full-time employee as the Director of Planning and Development of the company. After releasing several unsuccessful games for the NES, Square relocated to Ueno, Tokyo in 1987 and developed Final Fantasy. With 400,000 copies sold, Final Fantasy spawned multiple sequels over the years and became Square's main franchise.
A merger between Square and its competitor Enix was in consideration since at least 2000; however, the financial failure of the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within made Enix hesitant to join with a company that loses money, and the merge was delayed until April 1, 2003, when the two companies finally merged to form Square Enix.
Square Electronic Arts
Square Electronic Arts L.L.C., also known as Square EA, was a joint venture between video game developers Square and Electronic Arts. Announced on April 27, 1998, Square EA was based in Costa Mesa, California and operated under the supervision of Square president and CEO Jun Iwasaki, and was responsible for publishing and marketing all games produced by Square in North America. Conversely, Electronic Arts Square, K.K., formed at the same time and based in Japan, was responsible for publishing and marketing games produced by Electronic Arts in Asia. Under the terms of the agreement, Electronic Arts owned 30 percent of Square EA, and Square owned 30 percent of EA Square.
Following the announcement of the merger between Square and former competitor Enix in 2003, Square purchased back Electronic Arts' stake in Square EA, and folded it back into Square Soft, Inc., its North American subsidiary, which was subsequently renamed Square Enix U.S.A., Inc. (now Square Enix, Inc.) and continues to publish Square Enix's titles in North America.
Square developed the original version of Chrono Trigger, Radical Dreamers: Nusumenai Hōseki, and Chrono Cross. Square Electronic Arts published the PlayStation release of Chrono Trigger in North America as well as Chrono Cross.