Overall, 2019 was an amazing year for both Nintendo and Sony. There has been a growing spirit of cooperation between the major players in the console market, which is why it’s strange that some of the happiest and saddest moments of 2019 involved PlayStation appearing on Nintendo.
The Final Fantasy and Shin Megami Tensei franchises have been tied to different systems at different points in their existence. The legendary 32-bit run of Final Fantasy games on the original PlayStation (spanning VII-IX, with Final Fantasy Tactics thrown in) is seen by many as the highest point in the history of the series, while the mainline entries in the Persona series have all been released on PlayStation systems, with the exception of a PC port of the original Persona in Japan. Despite these associations with the PlayStation brand, the characters from these franchises made their way onto Nintendo’s system in 2019 in ways that marked some of the highs and lows of the year.
It was during the September 2018 Nintendo Direct that several classic Final Fantasy titles were announced for the Nintendo Switch. The most surprising of these was Final Fantasy VII, which would finally see an official release on a Nintendo console over twenty years after its original release on the PlayStation.
The first six Final Fantasy games were released on Nintendo systems, but Square Enix (formerly known as Squaresoft) jumped ship to Sony for the seventh installment in the series. The reasons for the shift to the PlayStation include wanting to use the extra memory of the CD-ROM format, as Nintendo was sticking with cartridges for the Nintendo 64, along with wanting to escape from Nintendo’s strict censorship guidelines. Final Fantasy VII would go on to be the second best-selling game on the original PlayStation (behind Gran Turismo) and would help bring the JRPG genre to mainstream attention outside of Japan.
It was clear that there was bad blood between Squaresoft and Nintendo, especially as adverts for Final Fantasy VII called out the Nintendo 64 for using cartridges. Final Fantasy VI on the Super Nintendo was the last Final Fantasy game on a Nintendo console for almost a decade, as the next one to be released was Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for the GameCube.
The relationship between Nintendo and Square Enix has long since been repaired and the two companies have worked together numerous times throughout the DS and Wii eras. It was still a shock to see Final Fantasy VII, the game that defined the original PlayStation for many people, being released on a Nintendo system in 2019. Final Fantasy VII was used in the “My Way” commercials for Nintendo Switch, which is something that would have been unthinkable in the past.
Seeing Final Fantasy VII on a Nintendo system after all of this time was an incredible moment for old school JRPG fans around the world. The cast of Final Fantasy VII had appeared in other Nintendo games in the past (most notably Cloud in the Super Smash Bros. series), but to see the original game on the Switch in its remastered form was a special moment for a lot of people.
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The Last Major Nintendo 3DS Game Was Filled With PlayStation Characters
The Nintendo 3DS helped keep Nintendo relevant during the Nintendo Wii U years, as the system had a killer line-up of systems and social features that brought gamers around the world together. There was a question regarding the future of the Nintendo 3DS when the Nintendo Switch was released, as it put the state of the console in limbo. If the Nintendo Switch failed to find an audience, then Nintendo would have had to rely on the Nintendo 3DS for a few more years.
The Nintendo Switch has been incredibly successful around the world and the hybrid nature of the system means that it stole the Nintendo 3DS’ place in the market. The Nintendo Switch could run The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in handheld mode on day one and nothing in the Nintendo 3DS library was as impressive as this feat alone.
The popularity of the Nintendo Switch led to the slow decline of the Nintendo 3DS library, to the point where it mostly received ports and shovelware over the past two years. The last great title for the Nintendo 3DS was Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, which was an awesome first-person dungeon crawler that starred the casts of Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5.
The problem with Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth being the last great Nintendo 3DS exclusive is that it stars characters from PlayStation exclusive titles. The three Persona games (four if you count Persona 3 Portable) that appear in the game were all released exclusively on PlayStation systems. The appearance on Joker in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate led many fans to believe that Persona 5 would be ported to the Nintendo Switch, but the only Persona game that has been announced so far is Persona 5 Scramble, which is a spin-off game.
The Nintendo 3DS was an amazing system with an incredible library of games. It helped keep Nintendo afloat during one of the lowest periods in the history of the company and it’s a shame that its swansong was a game filled with characters associated with the PlayStation brand. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is a great game, but it’s a shame that Nintendo didn’t develop one last exclusive title for the system to see it off into the night.
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