Report: Square Enix Los Angeles Studio Closed

By Spencer . July 1, 2011 . 1:03pm

projectdrop9 Back in 2008 and a few months before the Eidos acquisition, Square Enix opened a video game studio in Los Angeles. Fumiaki Shiraishi, one of the designers on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King, was leading Square Enix LA.


"We do like to have one full-size project if possible, and then have the downloadables on the side. We’re still in the process of trying to figure out what the first title will be," Shirashi said while discussing the studio’s plans with Gamasutra. "Right now we’re still in the very early phase of testing out gameplay stuff and testing out the technology. The scope of the game, and how it’s going to be sold, is going to come a little bit later."


The studio had two goals: test new technology for the company’s Japanese division and create new games. Project Dropship, which we revealed earlier, was one of the titles cooking inside Square Enix. The game was being made for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade with the Gamebryo Engine. Sources tell Siliconera development of Project Dropship ceased in March. The reason why is because Square Enix closed the Los Angeles studio. At that time, we understand there were between 10-20 employees, many of which were artists. Project Dropship was not completed, but it was far into development. We reached out to Square Enix for further details and confirmation, but did not receive a comment by press time.

Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • It doesn’t seem like Square’s North American divisions fare to well, and we didn’t even get a Secret of Evermore this time.

    When am I gonna get to step foot in Podunk again, Square?

    • Exkaiser


      Square hates that game, man.

  • godmars

    We literally hardly knew you…

    And I’m really confused at Square doing things like this, investing in then not bothering to use a resource, yet saying they want to appeal to the Western Market.

    But at least this might mean we wont be seeing LA starlets being given a song for no real reason.

    • As pointed out in the article, Square acquired Eidos not long after they announced Square Enix LA. I wouldn’t be surprised if their interest in the LA studio waned as a result of the acquisition, which seems like it’ll have been a very smart move with Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, Hitman and Thief games in the works.

      Those will in all likelihood be Square’s ticket to the Western market, rather than the types of games their LA studio had originally been planning on.

      • godmars

        Except you’re talking about an acquired Western games division doing their own thing instead of one possibly acting as research for Japanese devs looking to – at least hopefully – incorporate some Western themes into their JP games.

        Then again, if you want to believe Grin before they had to shutdown, Square set them up to fail. Rejected any idea sent to them even some of their own while not seeing that the ideas were theirs.

        Setting up surveys and betas then not using the information from them? Square seems to have a bad habit of not listening.   

        • TrevHead

          Hmmm as a fan of Eidos and all the great IPs they had, I just hope Square are letting them do their own thing, considering so many Japanese execs in the gaming industry act like they just got off the banana boat when it come to creative aspects it doesnt bode too well.

          We’ve all heard the stories about Japanese execs green lighting projects solely on the basis that they like the title

          • From what I’ve heard of Deus Ex, it sounds like SE isn’t interfering with their creative process at all.  It could end up being THE most admirable handling of an acquired property I’ve seen.

  • Is it me, or, um… is Square-Enix really not faring too well these days?

  • You mean that studio that hasnt done anything yet?

    • I didn’t even know they HAD a Los Angeles studio. It’s hard to mourn a studio I never knew.

      • LOL.

        Yeah they got it last year I think. And I saw it on one article some where when they got it.

      • The studio opened in 2008 and we’ve covered it several times on Siliconera. I suppose other sites didn’t mention or ask about it though, which is why most people don’t know about it.

    • They were working behind the scenes on Project Dropship and on tech for the Japan studios.

  • Guest

    This just brought back a memory…coming back from dropping my mom off at the airport I saw Square-Enix building by LAX. I guess that was it.

  • LezardValeth

    Square is having a serious problem bringing quality to the table…just seems like they’re doing the exact opposite of what gamers actually want. Not trying to make any kind of biased comment to start a heated debate or anything but….alot of the games they’ve put their names on over the past few years have not been good at all, tolerable to an extent? Okay I’ll accept that…but actually groundbreaking/unique/exciting/fresh/amazing? No. And I’ll always go back to the same statement…back in the day Square had their name on almost nothing but amazing games, a majority of which were legendary RPGs….and I think there still is a demand for them…there just doesn’t seem to be any good talent in the genre, it seems like anyone with any kind of good idea gets shut down, and this latest deal with Square closing their studio is proof of that….It’s only going to be a few more years and games will have near photo realism….once you hit that graphics plateau what more can you do besides add content and creativity to your games? It seems like that’s the main aspect the industry is lacking these days…..Real shame to see good ideas get snuffed and yet games that were lackluster to begin with are getting sequels….Not going to mention any names as it can be considered purely opinionated and I’ve probably ruffled enough feathers already, but I’m sure most can get a general idea of the games I’m talking about.

    • Actually I agree, but only because i feel a lot of the points you made are due to the fact that many of the developers and designers that pretty much MADE Square have left.  Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yasumi Matsuno, Nobou Uematsu, Kazushige Nojima, Amongst others.

      I’m only still following Square Enix because of Tetsuya Nomura, Isamu Kamikokuryo, and a few others…..If they left….well then Square would be officially dead to me…

      but that’s just my opinion….

      • Well, such is life.  People move on to different things and new talent arises.  Just like any sports team or other business.  And anyway, people like Matsuno did come back.  Nojima for example, is working on EVERY Fabula Nova Crystallis title.

        For another example, I find it a little funny that Masashi Hamauzu had a somewhat lukewarm welcoming for his work on FFX, with people wanting Uematsu to do the full OST.  Then when Hamauzu went freelance after FFXIII everyone loved him and acted like SE lost him.  And yet hes BACK for FFXIII-2!!

        New members come in all the time as well.  I for one am looking forward to Tabata’s work on Type-0, and Takahashi’s work on Dissidia is also fresh and good.  Type-0 looks like the best thing to come out of SE in a long time, and Takahashi has a lot of potential.

    • Sounds like you just went into a rant about FF13 out of nowhere.  They had a lot of work left over from FF13 so making a sequel is a chance to improve the game and make a better return on their investment.

      But seriously, I bet if they released Dropship, it would’ve been one of these lackluster mediocre titles you are talking about, and contribute to this problem you are bringing up of SE putting their names on mediocre stuff.  But suddenly since they shut it down now people are acting like it was some kind of amazing groundbreaking idea.

  • john411

    Once again, a Square NA is shut down.

    At least they didn’t cockblock a Seiken Densetsu 3 this time.

  • Nice news. Square-enix and it’s ridiculous biz model in america. Please stay away from where you don’t belong SQEX :)

  • I’m guessing that since they acquired Eidos and other properties they felt they had become multinational enough and at the same time were not satisfied in the studio.  I mean, Dropship looked alright and all, but, and maybe this sounds shrewd, compare it to what their other acquired studios are doing.  Though I guess it depends on the amount of funding that was going into it, also.

    I’ve noticed that they were recruiting members for the LA studio but maybe they never found the right people.  Sucks for the people who were working there.  But if this means that SE can now focus more of its resources on its Japanese studios then I am all for it.  I have felt in the past few years they they were spread WAY too thin.  They have internationalized enough.  Trim the fat and bring it back to Japan. (Or even Korea, for their MMO needs, but thats just my idea >>. But yeah, spread too thin!)

    Also, this shouldn’t mean that SE will now have no North American presence or anything.  They are still in California but they just aren’t developing there.  Heck, go ahead and focus on marketing, honestly, it’d probably be more valuable then another download title.

  • I didn’t really know much about this studio other than the Project Dropship stuff that’s looked interesting, but I’m still disappointed.  When SQEX talks about reaching out for the West, this is where they could have done something that could have blended their ideals about games they produce for Japan with what they could have learned from the Western developers at the LA branch, rather than just acquiring all of Eidos’ games and being like “Here, West, happy now?”

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos