Square Enix has a prodigious ability to make video games. In 2022 alone, the Japanese company has released eighteen different titles including kart racer Chocobo GP and the oddly-named RPG Various Daylife. However, large parts of Square Enix’s recent catalogue are made up of remakes, spin-offs, remasters, special editions, and all sorts of other weird and wonderful things.

Some people may think, it’s almost bizarre how many times its flagship franchise Final Fantasy has been rehashed. There are just fifteen numbered titles (I-XV) in the series but 95 games bearing the RPG’s name. This year, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin and Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster were added to the pile. Of course, Chocobo GP is part of the franchise, too. 

A Lone Gunslinger
Live A Live, originally released in the mid-90s, is one of Square Enix’s more recent exhumations. Telling the story of eight different characters in their own respective time periods (e.g. a caveman in prehistory, a robot in the future), the remake of Live a Live has already outsold its ancestor almost two times over. It’s a unique if short-lived adventure that effortlessly taps into several popular styles all at the same time. 

The Western story, in which a lone gunslinger has to rally the locals against a bunch of ruffians, is a good example. After all, Red Dead Redemption II is still fresh in the memory of most gamers, while movie buffs were treated to the Kevin Costner cowboy flick Horizon in 2022. The genre has a rather large following in the online gaming industry, too, as operators seek to latch onto pop culture trends

Playable on the PlayStar website, a safe casino serving New Jersey, the slot game Dead or Alive features a cast of outlaws as its protagonists. The site demonstrates players’ ongoing appreciation for the Western genre with the Outlaw game, too. Live A Live’s cowboy section is a mite more complex than a slot but, given the advancing age of the original, it’s still quite a simplistic episode to play. 

The problem is that, arguably, the game didn’t need to be remade.

Sony PlayStation
Why? Square Enix has a genuine policy of releasing everything on everything, meaning that all of its games should be playable on every conceivable platform. This isn’t quite as mad an idea as it sounds – we’re unlikely to see Squenix’s entire catalogue on a smart TV, for example – but the company clearly appreciates its freedom, after years of being contractually bound to the Sony PlayStation.

This approach is starting to seem a bit aimless, though. Sales of Live A Live were acceptable but there’s unlikely to have been any demand for this game whatsoever. For long-time followers of the company, it’s actually becoming quite entertaining to see what Square Enix will pull from its archives next. It’d be nice to see 1992’s largely forgotten SNES game Mystic Quest make a return one of these days, although, we may be overdue for the 13th re-release of Final Fantasy IV.