By David Savage in Features
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Almost every gaming company has something interesting about their history that defines who they are today. Something that launched the company into a perfect sequence of events that led to their current success and image. Many of these events are good, but only Microsoft is bad.
Where would Nintendo be today if they hadn't hired Miyamoto? Would there have been games like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom without John Carmack and id Software? What would Final Fantasy VII have been like if developed on the N64 and how would that have effected the console wars between Sony and Nintendo in the late 90s?
Nintendo Rejected The Future id Software's PC Gaming Graphics Breakthrough in 1990
John Carmack, founder of id Software, is one of gaming's most influential icons. While he rarely gets the recognition figures like Kojima and Miyamoto receive (even Cliffy B. gets seen more), this college-dropout created some of the greatest innovations in 3D gameplay. In September of 1990 while working for digital publishing company Softdisk, John made his breakthrough and along with his future id co-founders, used the technology to create a carbon copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 using character graphics from one of their Softdisk games. With hopes of licensing their creation to Nintendo, the crew made contact, but were quickly shut down. Nintendo made it clear they were not interested in PC games. Even Softdisk refused to work with the technology due to graphics compatibility issues.
While working freelance for Apogee Games, id's future founders created a very successful game called Commander Keen. This led to a $10,000 royalty check, a dinner with the boss, a 4-way resignation, and in February of 1991 id Software became a reality.
One Of Capcom's Greatest Employees, Yoshiki Okamoto, Joined Capcom After Being Fired From Konami
Yoshiki Okamoto came to Capcom after being terminated from video game company, Konami. While at Konami, Okamoto created some new and at-the-time innovative techniques in shooting games when they were at their peak popularity in arcades. Unfortunately, Okamoto's job was to create a racing game and despite the success his shooting games received, he was eventually let go from the company due to internal disagreements.
Luckily, Okamoto set-up shop with Konami rival, Capcom soon after and began working on shooting games. He ended up directing one of the most classic shoot-em' up arcade games of all time, 1942, which was released in December of 1984. Okamoto may not have much more on his resume, but he oversaw the development of games as a producer and personally recruited the character designer who worked on Street Fighter II and Final Fight. He also had his hand in developing Resident Evil and actually produced the movie and its sequel.
It's no doubt Konami made a big mistake on letting a piece of talent like Okamoto go. Would Capcom's Street Fighter and Resident Evil franchises turned out the same without Okamoto there? No one wants to find out.
Sega Was Founded By Americans
In 1940, three men founded a company called Standard Games in Hawaii. Its business was based around providing American military bases with coin-operated machines for soldiers. In 1952 the company was relocated to Japan under the suggestion of one of the their founders. This move was due to the outlaw of slot machines in America and the blossoming post-WWII Japanese economy. Standard Games from then on was then called "Service Games of Japan".
Another company, Rosan Enterprises was also taking advantage of the growing Japanese market. Founded by David Rosan who was stationed in Japan during the Korean War, Rosan Enterprises was originally an art exporting company but expanded into the photo booth industry and later the arcade game industry.
The two companies, Rosan Enterprises and Service Games merged in 1964 to become Sega Enterprises.
Square Planned To Develop Games For N64, But Development Costs And Lack of Memory Led Them To Sony
Square's Final Fantasy VII is one of the most beloved games of all time. Development of this game took an enormous amount of time, money, and man-power. Over 100 programmers and artists were tasked to work on the game that would be the first Final Fantasy to use polygon 3D graphics. With a budget of over $30 million, the Square crew had many breakthroughs in development, but the amount of memory needed far exceeded what the N64 could output and CD-ROMs had to be used. Sqaure's long partnership with Nintendo came to a bad end because of this and they began to use the PlayStation as their main development platform.
Final Fantasy VII was released in 1997 and has since sold nearly 10 million
copies. Square did not release a new game for a Nintendo system until 2002.