By: Tracey John
Square Enix might be best known for its Final Fantasy franchise, but its merchandising group wants to be known for much more.
The focus for the high-end toymakers this year includes reaching out to more third-party game makers. Looking around at their Toy Fair booth at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York this week, we saw a wide range of collectibles from Konami, Capcom, Sega, Ubisoft and Microsoft. Although these companies are in direct competition with Square Enix’s publishing side, as far as merchandise goes, anything is fair game. Read on to see what they had to say about things.
“Although we have the name ‘Square Enix,’ we just want to make really good toys, action figures and merchandise,” said Square Enix’s merchandise coordinator Patrick Lofstrom in an interview at Toy Fair. “[Other publishers] saw what kind of figures we can produce, and they actually started coming to us. Once they see the finished product, they just want us to keep making more. So for us, it’s not just Final Fantasy anymore. We have a lot more brands that we can reach out to.”
One such example: new figures of Ryu and Chun-Li from Capcom’s Street Fighter IV were unveiled for the first time at Toy Fair. The 9.5-inch pieces will be in full color and are slated for release this summer. Lofstrom said that Capcom was very happy with the results, and there will certainly more for this series on the way.
New toys were also shown for the upcoming Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a game by Square Enix subsidiary Eidos. For now, there are just three figures slated for release this Fall, including Adam Jensen, Fedorova and Barret. When asked if we’d ever see collectibles from the classic Deus Ex games, Lofstrom said, “Deus Ex 1 and 2 were pretty popular when they first came out, so I think if there is enough demand, it’s possible. And of course, we have other Eidos titles like Tomb Raider we could try. We don’t have a lot of female main character figures. The last time we had one was Bayonetta from Sega, so that would be refreshing.”
Final Fantasy XIII also continues to have new toys, even though the game came out nearly a year ago. The newest offering is Creatures Kai volume 3, available in the Spring. It includes five 4-inch figures of Eidolons include Odin, Shiva: Styria & Nix, Hecatoncheir, Brynhildr and Alexander. Although small, these figures are highly detailed and affordable; $39.99 gets you the whole set.
And with Final Fantasy XIII-2 on the way sometime this year, Lofstrom said it’s safe to assume they’ll be a whole new line of toys for the game. Though he couldn’t give details, he did say that they would be some of the best-looking toys Square Enix has done.
“The technology and the technique to make [the toys] have gotten better,” he said. “If you look at all the new Play Arts Kai figures, they just look phenomenal. So I’m hoping that the new Lightning is just going to blow everyone away.”
Other new toys from Square Enix included 10-inch tall figures of Miller and Battle Dress Snake from Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker, due in the summer. And for those who missed out earlier, there will also be re-releases of sold-out items like Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2 in May and Halo: Reach’s Noble 6 this summer.
But one property we wanted to see more of -- Chrono Trigger. The set of four 4-inch Formation Arts figures -- which featured Crono, Frog, Magus, Robo, Lucca and Ayla i n detailed dioramas -- were a big hit and sold out instantly.
“Personally, Chrono Trigger is one of my favorites, so it’s definitely an interest of mine to push for [more toys],” said Lofstrom. However, because there were so many different people involved in that project, and it’s an older game, he said it’s really up to the fans to let Square Enix know that they want more of them. “There’s always a chance but nothing definite... But I think if there is enough demand, the sky’s the limit.”