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Square Enix To Buy Eidos, Midway Files For Bankruptcy 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the finish-them dept.
arcticstoat writes to tell us that Square Enix has been revealed as the potential buyer to Eidos, developer of the Tomb Raider franchise. Eidos had been shedding workers and studios in an attempt for financial stability. This comes alongside news that Midway Games is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to stave off creditors while they sort out what's left of their resources. World of Goo publisher Brighter Minds Media also filed for bankruptcy last month. Free Radical, a UK studio recently put in a similar position was snapped up by Crytek, and we discussed news of Sega's financial turmoil as well. It seems that claims from late last year suggesting the games industry may be "recession proof" are quickly being proven wrong, though Kotaku suggests that most of the blame falls on the developers.
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Square Enix To Buy Eidos, Midway Files For Bankruptcy

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  • Chrono Trigger?? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Does this bring us closer to Chrono Trigger's sequel...or further away? That's all I care about with Square-Enix at this point...

    Personally I don't see why buying a failing game company is going to help out the parent company at all. Sumner Redstone bought 80% stake in Midway games when it was faltering and then sold the shares once the company collapsed putting the nail in the coffin basically.

    Why is Square-Enix prying open the nails on the coffins of Midway and Eidos?

    • by TheSpoom (715771) *

      Because Squenix wants to be the next EA: sit back in the shadows letting other people go into crunch time to finish yet another lame remake while slapping your name on it and pulling in the millions.

      (In answer to your question, I really doubt they'll make a good Chrono Trigger sequel now. They will, however, continue to prevent fans from doing what they won't.)

      • Chrono Cross (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jgtg32a (1173373)
        Chrono Cross was good it just couldn't match CT.
        • by 7Prime (871679)

          Chrono Cross was sappy, pretentious, crap as far as I'm concerned. Did the developers not learn ANYTHING from the mistakes they made with Xenogears? I want those 40 hours of my life back.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Chrono Cross is the spiritual sequel to Chrono Trigger and an excellent game in its own right. So... you kind of already have your sequel there.

      I never really finished the game - I got it on loan from a buddy 10 years ago and only made it about 10 hours in. Is there some sort of cliffhanger at the end?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Chrono Cross is an average PS1-era JRPG which is hardly similar to Chrono Trigger. It's a "spiritual sequel" in name only.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's a "spiritual sequel" in name only.

          It's not even a "spiritual" sequel -- it's a sequel, period.

          That's what you call a game like Chrono Cross that uses many of the same game mechanics, is explicitly set in the same world, and is packed with references to the previous game, including appearances by several of the main characters. (Did you miss that Kid was brought up by Lucca, or that the end boss was Schala merged with Lavos?)

          • It's a sequel, but it is hardly "packed with references" and is "explicitly set in the same world" only because they say it is. There's no sense of familiarity. And Schala was hardly a main character in the original, more like, hey, what happened to that one chick

            There's really only two scenes that explicitly tie back to Chrono Trigger, the first being that crappy scene where the ghosts of Crono, Marle, and Lucca are pissed at you, and the second being the final boss.

            • by Rycross (836649)

              I actually don't remember the Marle/Crono/Lucca scene. What was it?

              And I have to agree that it was kind-of a lame sequel. They took out a lot of the mechanics that made Crono trigger so interesting and swapped in a Pokemon-style get-all-40-characters-lol thing. The fact that there were only a handful of dual/triple techs and that they were basically worthless pretty much killed Cross as a sequel in my mind.

              • I haven't played the game for years, so I don't remember the moment they appear, but I'm pretty sure you're still playing as Serge at this point so it has to be early on (the game was a LOT longer than it should have been).

                I don't think Chrono Cross is a bad game... it's just a really bad sequel to an amazing game. I think they should have just made it another Final Fantasy, it probably would have sold better and its existence probably wouldn't annoy me.

                Also, the music rocked in Cross, I will give it that.

                • by Rycross (836649)

                  I have the soundtrack, and yes the music is great. I agree with your assessment basically. Its not a bad game, but it doesn't capture what made Chrono Trigger great, so when you compare the two it comes up.. lacking.

          • The Time Devourer is Lavos.

            Chrono Trigger (Time) and Chrono Cross (Dimension) are sequels.

      • by TheSpoom (715771) *

        To answer your question, yes, there is. Look it up if you want to be spoiled.

        That said, I'd much rather see a direct sequel to Chrono Trigger than a sequel to Chrono Cross. Can't we just imagine that Chrono Cross happened in a completely different reality? I liked having the Chrono Trigger characters still alive!

      • by Tridus (79566)

        I hated Chrono Cross SO much. It's what happens if you take Chrono Trigger, make the magic system incredibly lame, remove all the dual/triple techs, and add a much more convoluted story.

        It is technically the sequel to Chrono Trigger, but a lot of people prefer to forget it exists at all.

        • Re:Chrono Trigger?? (Score:4, Informative)

          by dctoastman (995251) on Friday February 13, 2009 @09:30AM (#26843055) Homepage

          And by "a lot of people", you mean you.

          Chrono Cross is an excellent game in its own right and was received really well when it came out.

          • by Zoshnell (573838)
            Add me to that list too. All the awesomeness of Trigger was replaced by really confusing story and lackluster characters of Cross.
            • by Rycross (836649) on Friday February 13, 2009 @01:53PM (#26847203)

              I kinda liked Chrono Cross as its own game, but as a sequel to Chrono Trigger? No. I have to agree with the posters above.

              Dual and Triple techs were so sparse you could play the entire game and never use one. They threw in FOURTY characters, which means you had a lot of characters that were worthless to the plot, and a lot of characters with trivial backstories that diluted the plot. To deal with the over-abundance of playable characters, they watered down the magic system so that everyone shared the same spells, bar 3 unique abilities per character. This is in stark contrast to Trigger.

              For the most part, Chrono Trigger doesn't come into play, until the end of the game where they throw in "oh, and the bosses you're fighting are related to Trigger!" The plot was needlessly convoluted. The whole dragon thing was just... meh; it was trying too hard.

              Overall, it felt like they took an average jRPG, tacked on some Chrono Trigger backstory, and then called it a sequel. Most Chrono Trigger fans that I've talked to agree on this point.

              • by Toonol (1057698)
                I think that thematically they were more closely related than that. Chrono Trigger was wrapped around the concept of time travel, and rather than do that again, Chrono Cross tried to do the same thing with parallel universes. Both were trying to take a high level 'weird' concept, and use it in the say fashion as a factor in a twisting, complex story.

                I don't think it was as good as Chrono Trigger. It was ambitious, but just didn't work well. Still, I think it was better than just having 'the next time
                • by Rycross (836649)

                  I really had no problem with the dimensional-travel aspect of it. My problem with it is that they ignored the things that made Trigger great.

                  Dual and triple techs were a huge part of that game, and they basically reduced it to a gimmick that you stumble on maybe once or twice in the game. Trigger had a small cast of unique characters with unique abilities. Cross blew that cast up and compensated by making the characters too similar in their abilities. The number of characters watered down the plot, and

                  • by Zoshnell (573838)
                    After reading your further comments Rycross, I have to agree. As a standalone, it wasn't a terrible game, and with some more polish it could have been a great game. I mean, I like to think that the Suikoden series were pretty bitching, and they had a huge backlog of characters to work with. I think if the same care was taken in the Suikoden Series, Cross would have worked much beter. I am pretty sure it would still be entirely crazy convoluted still.
    • by Xest (935314)

      Same reason you'd buy any company, they have assets that are worth something even if the company is failing.

      Square could buy Eidos, drop all the staff and use the Tomb Raider IP in their own series to boost profits for example.

      Companies don't buy over companies to carry them on as is, they buy them to take out the good stuff and throw away the bad. The good stuff may be a bunch of great developers with abysmal management for example or it may just be the IP the companies own- again, in Eidos' case, Tomb Rai

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        To be more accurate. The assets minus inflated executives pay and luxurious office accommodation as well as exorbitant transport requirements are far more valuable.

        So high revenues hiding high debt and high level mismanagement along with questionable investment decisions come to an end during a recession regardless of product qualities or non-executive staff performance.

        The real question is which company is going to take advantage of the situation and stock up on bargain basement game libraries, as wel

      • Eidos also carries with it the IP for Deus Ex does it not? It seems to me that I remember ION Storm being absorbed into Eidos when they went defunct. That would include their other IP of course... though only DX is worth anything to me personally.
    • I thought we didn't like sequels around here. I thought we were all about new innovative games, not a rehash of the old.
    • by esocid (946821)
      Why ruin a good thing? Some times you have to hit a high note and walk off the stage.
      Just look at Star Wars, and Indiana Jones...need I say more?
  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday February 13, 2009 @03:18AM (#26840375) Journal

    Midway files for bankruptcy? I think that's a...

    FATALITY

  • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday February 13, 2009 @03:28AM (#26840431)

    "I think all of the smart publishers are looking at ways to add-on to existing games," Kramer said. "It stems the flood of used game sales and every used game sale is money out of the pockets of the developer and publisher."

    What fucktards. Either they believe the rhetoric that they spew or they expect us to believe it, and either way it makes them look like assholes.

    • by N1AK (864906) on Friday February 13, 2009 @07:03AM (#26841499) Homepage

      What fucktards. Either they believe the rhetoric that they spew or they expect us to believe it, and either way it makes them look like assholes.

      Of course they believe what they are saying, do you think they'd be trying to kill the used market if they thought it actually made them more money? Regardless of whether it does, asking whether they think it is a redundant question.

      Outright assuming that the used market does make them more money also limits the value of the opinion. Most of the time when people make the case for second hand games benefiting the market they base the arguement on so many assumptions that it means nothing:
      1/ Some proportion of money raised from the sale of used games is used to buy new games. This proportion, along with the related figures on how much is spent on other things and how much is spent on other used games does not appear to be known, and is vital to understanding whether the used market is beneficial.
      2/ Systems like Steam and subscription based games seem to do very well among more technical users who are the most likely to care about companies restricting re-sale, if that is the case then do none technical users really care.
      3/ Used sales provide another form of competition against new game sales. Figures on how much effect this has in bringing down prices of new games is something that would effect whether used games sales are more profitable for games distributors. Certainly looking at controlled channels like Xbox arcade, Steam and the Wiis equivalent it seems prices stay higher for longer due to lack of competition from re-sale.

      I don't like the idea of used games sales being blocked, but I know better than to think that choosing to blindly believe that it is a bad idea for the games producers to do it will somehow stop it happening.

      • by caladine (1290184)

        While I agree with some of what you're saying, you're also forgetting something.

        4/ The fact that the used game market exists allows developers to sell more new games to people that wouldn't otherwise be willing to spend the $50-$60+ per title specifically because they can turn around and resell that title later.

        Your 2 and 3 are missing a large part of the puzzle. Steam works well because items hit decently low priced bundle packages very quickly. Orangebox is a great example. The only Wii equivalent (WiiWar

      • It's entirely possible that they don't believe a word they're saying but are trying to change the perceptions of the consumers that are on the edge between buying used and buying new. Some people wouldn't buy new at any price, so they'll buy used whatever the game manufacturers say. For other people, however, if they notice a $10 difference but believe that the more expensive option is also the more moral one, they'll take that one instead.

        Comparing the console channels which carry less expensive games
  • Like the past (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is like when Eidos invested heavily in John Romero's company (Ion Storm at the time) and it died, only this is on a larger scale. The games industry was at a boom then, and the developers tried to grow faster than they could. It's hard to be recession-proof when you're riding on a boom (as developers recently were). Rather than building and growing in excess, as John Romero once attempted, companies should have been more conservative like John Carmack with id Software after Romero split.
  • by Shrike82 (1471633) on Friday February 13, 2009 @04:24AM (#26840701)
    From the summary:

    It seems that claims from late last year suggesting the games industry may be "recession proof" are quickly being proven wrong

    Labelling an entire industry "recession proof" seems a bit excessive. Any games company with a solid fanbase, probably through years of making good quality games and having good customer support, are unlikely to be affected too badly by the global economy problems. Sure, things are a bit tighter for me money-wise now, but I'm sure as hell not going to stop buying games. A good business model and high quality products, for a receptive market sounds like a winner to me. But a bad games company, making bad games and treating their customers like idiots, criminals, or flat out ignoring them, is going to go under no matter what. Recession just speeds things up, and being in an industry considered "safe" from economic problems isn't going to save you one little bit.

    Another approach to riding out a recession is to create games that are mind-bendingly addictive, and provide income month-after-month. Anyone for WoW?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      Look at it this way. With everyone out of work and having plenty of free time, it will be a helluva lot easier to raise enough people for large raids.
    • I would imagine the repossession industry and practitioners of bankruptcy law would be reasonably "recession proof".
  • It is proven that recession/depression deeply affects the purchasing decision of a consumer. Entertainment items are considered luxury items and when the money isn't there, that is the first thing to get cut from a spender's budget. Secondly, for those that still want a gaming fix tend to look at cheaper games. The cheaper games tend to be used games over the new ones. The publishers and developers of the game industry have been trying to figure out ways where they can still make a profit from used game sal

    • by Shrike82 (1471633)

      Secondly, for those that still want a gaming fix tend to look at cheaper games.

      Or older games in the bargain bin, or choosing to buy one game a month where they might have bought two in the past. The troubles of games publishers can't be put squarely on the shoulders of the used-game community, and personally I don't think its half as bad as some publishers would lead us to believe. Trading used games has gone on for decades, and suddenly it's being put right up there with piracy.

      I'm sure its a factor, but it's hard to argue with the logic that a good game will sell in larger numbe

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Wooky_linuxer (685371)

        It doesn't matter if it is a factor in declining game sales or not. You have a damn right to resell whatever you bought - it's YOURS, not theirs. Car sales have declined much more and no one thinks of forbidding people to sell used cars in order to fix that.

        People have less money, they will buy cheaper games - and less games altogether, since they are somewhat frivolous items. That is expected, and the game industry should learn to deal with it without finding a scape goat. Cut your development costs, your

        • by Oonushi (863093)

          These are my feelings exactly on this, and I couldn't have said it better myself.

          That said, I'd like to add a little:

          Video game publishers/developers/etc are running BUSINESSES, and no business has a right to profit, only the right to try to make a profit based on the choices THEY make as businesses.

          The possibility of failure comes with the territory, and is something anybody running a business must accept as a result of THEIR choices as a business, not the choices of others.

          If customers aren't buying a bus

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lord Kano (13027)

      The only reason why people are willing to pay as much as they are for new games is because they know that they can sell them later. The used game market props up the new game market.

      LK

  • Abandonware (Score:3, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Friday February 13, 2009 @07:46AM (#26841753) Homepage
    Does this mean we can look forward to more abandonware of classic videogames?
    • Re:Abandonware (Score:4, Informative)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday February 13, 2009 @09:06AM (#26842675)
      Technically, the intellectual property of a company that goes bust is considered an asset and is usually sold off as part of their liquidation. So, even if Midway ultimately goes completely bust, it's likely someone else will just snap up the rights to all their best games and franchises. Considering the way things have been going lately, it will probably be EA. They seem to own just about everything else these days.
    • by geniice (1336589)
      Quite possibly less. So called abandonware exists because whoever owns the copyright isn't interested in the game any more. With assets being sold off there is a better chance of them ending up in the hands of people who would be interested in doing something with them.
  • At least Lara's chest can't be any bigger... can it?

    On another topic, the acronym for the new company is SEE... maybe they bought Eidos just to make a joke or something?

    SEE games for your Wii...

    Ok, I'll stop now.

  • Seriously, no one wants to throw down $50, or $60 bucks on a new game these days. Where in the recession everything else seems to drop in price, the gaming industry remains the same. I remember when back in the day $50 bucks didn't seem so bad, now that money goes a long way. I haven't been able to purchase all the games I like so I've had to limit myself.

    No one wants to shell out that kind of money for a mediocre game.

  • Some of this is due to big developer "ego". Ignoring the Wii/DS because it isn't as sexy as the big consoles - trying to dictate to the market then listening to it and changing your strategy accordingly. Its how the movie studios work - lots of sequels/remakes - things with a built in audience or some kind of a sales hook. Lower budgeted titles can be original or take chances and every so often - they take a big gamble on a big budget original title. With the cost of these PS3/360 titles - many of these
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Mango Fett (1457557)

      Some of this is due to big developer "ego". Ignoring the Wii/DS because it isn't as sexy as the big consoles - trying to dictate to the market then listening to it and changing your strategy accordingly.

      I'm not sure about that. The Wii gets plenty of 3rd party love, but those games don't sell as well. The attach rate for the Wii is friendly to existing Nintendo franchises, not 3rd parties. On the PS3 and 360, the 3rd parties get more attention from consumers. If anything, I think the Wii deserves less attention.

      http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=20988 [gamasutra.com]

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you'd read your own link, you'd know that the metric you're using, the attach rate, can't be used to draw the conclusion you did:

        Recently Anita Frazier, analyst for the NPD Group, has commented that tie ratios "can be an indication of the health of a system", but can also be used in misleading ways.

        Moreover, "as a system gets further along in its lifecycle and perhaps hardware sales start to diminish, the tie ratio tends to go up because software sales are the bigger draw. If a hardware system is doing g

      • Re:Developer Ego (Score:4, Insightful)

        by 7Prime (871679) on Friday February 13, 2009 @02:59PM (#26848259) Homepage Journal

        That's because all of the developers only put their C and D teams on Wii/DS, and save their AAA teams for the 360/PS3. Then everyone's surprised, or angry at Nintendo when those games aren't good and don't sell very well. NO SHIT! If they were smart and spread their investments, giving equal time and creative resources to the Wii as they do for the 360/PS3, they'd be raking in the doah. If investment bankers used the same formula that these companies do, they'd be out of a job. Look where the money is. The Wii has about 1.5x as many users as both the 360 and PS3 COMBINED. When programming for 360/PS3, you have to hire extra programmers to port, and the PS3 is not very friendly to program on, especially when a game is already programmed for the 360. There are literally dozens of titles that do not use all the latest graphics that the 360 or PS3 offer, that would work perfectly fine on the Wii, but devs choose to release on the more troublesome duel-platform 360/PS3 option.

        This is simple arrogance mixed with a Bush-esque "stay the course" type attitude. There's no good excuse for leaving the Wii in the dust

  • Shit (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait to get grind and magic spells in Hitman V: Shadow Crystal

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anagram of the new company, and best name for a Japanese game ever.

  • It will be revealed that Lara is actually a man...

    They'll only take away half of her cup-size, though.
    As we all know, SE only makes male leads (except in the craptastic FFX-2), but they all look like girls
  • So does this mean from now on the Himan's going to look like a woman, dress in ostentatious outfits, openly weep, and complain about his life every time he murders somebody with a ball peen hammer?
  • I had always wondered if I should have accepted that job at Midway. Makes me feel better that I made the right decision.
  • Several people have commented about Midway's Chapter 11 filing possibly leading to other companies purchasing their IP rights to various franchise, but it's important to keep in mind that there's a big difference between Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Under Chapter 11, reorganization, the organization is given time to restructure its debt, retain its assets, and negotiate deals with creditors. It still has to pay off its debts, but possibly over a longer term or with a lower interest rate.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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