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Square Co., Ltd. (株式会社スクウェア, Kabushiki-gaisha Sukuwea?) was a Japanese video game company founded in 1983 by Masafumi Miyamoto, who was replaced by Tetsuo Mizuno in 1992. Hironobu Sakaguchi is one of Square's famous employees. In 2003, the company merged with Enix to form Square Enix.
Square's first games were released for the Nintendo Family Computer (also known as the "Famicom", and known internationally as the Nintendo Entertainment System) and the Famicom Disk System. Their early games were not very successful. In 1987, Square employee Hironobu Sakaguchi decided to create his last game for the company. The result was Final Fantasy, a computer role-playing game for the Famicom.
The term "Final" was picked because he was planning on retiring from the gaming industry and that Final Fantasy was going to be his last game. Final Fantasy did much better than Sakaguchi and Square had hoped, and led to a North American distribution deal with Nintendo of America, who released to market Final Fantasy in the United States in 1990. Due to its success, Hironobu Sakaguchi's plans for retirement ended and he stayed at Square to develop new Final Fantasy games. It may also be possible that the reason every new Final Fantasy game has a new story, with new characters is because the original Final Fantasy game was created with the belief that a sequel would never be created.
Final Fantasy was followed by a sequel in 1988, Final Fantasy II, which went unreleased outside Japan until Final Fantasy Origins. North American localization was originally planned for the Famicom version of the sequel, but given the age of the game at that point, and the imminent arrival of Nintendo's Super Famicom (known internationally as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System), it was abandoned in favor of the Super Famicom Final Fantasy IV.
SquareSoft is 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 its corporate name remained Square Co., Ltd. until the Enix merger.
Square Soft, Inc. was established as the official North American subsidiary of Square in March 1989. It was responsible for both the production and distribution of North American localizations of Square titles during the 16-bit era, and continued to produce English language localizations of Square games in the 32-bit era. Square Soft's original headquarters were in Redmond, WA, where it distributed its now-dead newsletter, the Ogopogo Examiner, but it was relocated to Costa Mesa, CA in August 1996, where it remained until late 2005; as of 2006, Square Enix, Inc. is now located in El Segundo, California.