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In 1985, Squaresoft began making games for the Nintendo Famicom (called the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America and Europe). Their early games were not very successful, and by 1987 the company was facing the possibility of going out of business. However, that same year, Squaresoft employee Hironobu Sakaguchi was given a chance to make a game that would either make or break the company. He named his creation Final Fantasy, a console role-playing game that revolved around four sacred crystals, one for each of the four elements in the fantasy world. Final Fantasy did much better than Sakaguchi had ever hoped, in both Japan and the U.S; the game was followed by a sequel in 1988, marketed exclusively in Japan until Final Fantasy Origins. Squaresoft has made fourteen other Final Fantasy games since, and has become a defining force in the role-playing genre.
Square has also made other games such as Xenogears, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy Tactics, Threads of Fate (a.k.a. DewPrism), Vagrant Story, and Kingdom Hearts (with Disney Interactive). The company's Square Pictures division also made a CGI movie based on Final Fantasy called Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within in 2001.
Square agreed to merge with Enix (another Japanese company best known for its popular Dragon Quest series) in 2002 so as to curb development costs and become more competitive. In April of 2003 the merger was completed, forming the new company, Square Enix.
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