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In May, 2004 I announced that the DQ Shrine had landed an interview with SquareEnix. Since the American Enix fans had been upset with the merger results, I wanted our visitors to have a better understanding of the company. Four months later I'm very sorry to say that the interview has fallen through. I wish to sincerely apologize to our visitors. Many of you were anxiously awaiting answers to what was happening to your favorite series. I've put countless hours into the Shrine to make you, the fans, happy. I wanted the site to not only have something for everyone but to present the most accurate information since rumors run rampant. I am extremely upset with how SquareEnix has treated me these past four months.

At E3 I spoke to Monica Bouldin, the former Senior Vice President of Ruder Finn's LA office. They are SquareEnix of America's Public Relations firm. The job of a PR firm is to create a favorable and positive public image for a company. In my work I have dealt with many PR people. They have their own agendas, which is why I'm cautious of them. I'd heard many good comments about Ms. Bouldin and was given great information by her in the past. I'd like to thank Ms. Bouldin for all of her help. She went above and beyond to try and get answers to the interview.

I had eight questions about the Dragon Quest franchise. They weren't your typical interview questions, but were what the fans had been asking since the merger. In summary they were, how does SquareEnix of America choose their titles? Why is SquareEnix passing on DQ titles? Why specifically was DQ V denied? Why specifically was Slime Morimori denied? Does SquareEnix of America share the goal of SquareEnix of Japan to for DQ to have a stronger US presence? Why does SquareEnix not communicate with its fans? Since many fans were upset with DQ IV, will the title appear on another platform? And finally, what does an American DQ fan have to do to see their favorite games in English? Understandably, the questions were too corporate for someone from PR to handle. So I was going to speak to SquareEnix's Kyoko Yamashita. Time became a factor and instead of directly speaking to Ms. Yamashita I was to e-mail the questions for her to answer later.

It was no problem since I understand how busy employees are at E3. After I returned home I got a call from Ms. Bouldin saying I hadn't been forgotten and would expect a response after Memorial Day weekend. The date came and went with no response. After several follow ups I wondered why it was taking so long to answer eight questions. Many times I made it clear that I was happy to resend anything or make up aspects typical for a larger media outlet. I was assured that everything was fine. I was never pushy. I understand how busy SquareEnix employees are and certainly didn't want to be rude. I was told that I would expect a response after the July 4th holiday. Still nothing.

Eventually I was told that the reason for the delay was due to the company's restructure. Again I was told to expect a response soon. Ms. Bouldin was great in checking up and speedy replies. Since it was taking so long she put my interview as a weekly task. In August I received an e-mail saying that she'd taken another job and Ms. Yamashita had recently left the company. She also informed me that SquareEnix had lost the interview. At this point I was annoyed with the process. I was given the indication that the questions had passed approval in Japan. The details whether it was lost in the approval process or by the American office was not clear. Regardless, I promptly resent the questions.

Ms. Bouldin didn't want to leave me hanging so she sent my questions to Felice Wu (now known as Felice V. Wu) to answer. Ms. Wu was currently handling SquareEnix's internal PR. She also gave me the names of the two Ruder Finn employees taking her place. Unsure on how eager the two Ruder Finn employees would be to help, I chose to contact Ms. Wu directly. After receiving the questions Ms. Wu said she would look over them but would be traveling. After weeks without a response I sent a follow up. After all, it had now been four months since the interview was initially sent. Her response was, "Ahh, crap, no one responded to you?!" It struck me as odd since she was the one that was supposed to answer the interview.

She told me she would check on it and I received a response from Doug Schneider from Ruder Finn. Remember when I stated that I'm cautious of PR? The message said, "we're unable to get any answers to your questions on Dragon Quest in the US at this time. We'll keep you posted if we get any info at all, and feel free to stay in touch on the subject." It was insulting and unbelievable that I got this sort of response from someone who never had any intention of contacting me. I doubt that he even knew what my questions were. I can smell a PR Blow Off and this reeked of it. I responded to Mr. Schneider and Ms. Wu. I politely explained the situation, how the fans feel that SquareEnix doesn't appreciate their business and how ridiculous it was to take so long to respond to eight simple questions. I wasn't surprised that I didn't even get a Read Receipt back. If the SquareEnix employees didn't know or had no intention on answering I should have been told back in May instead of wasting four months of my time. Most importantly, it wasted the time of the fans that had anticipated this interview and were given false hope that after nearly two years they were finally going to get some answers.

Now it comes down to the question, "Does SquareEnix care about the American Dragon Quest audience?" Fans are angry and upset that there are still no DQ titles in the lineup. SquareEnix president Youchi Wada has expressed how much he wants DQ in the US but the American office doesn't seem to share that goal. I was probably the last fan to give the company the benefit of the doubt. I was even willing to offer my services to help promote the DQ brand. Does SquareEnix of America care about DQ? Given the results and speaking to many SquareEnix employees in person, I would say no. Most know little or nothing about the franchise. Their customer service branch ignores every DQ e-mail received. In fact Ryan Riley, the Customer Service Supervisor, told me himself that the e-mails do not warrant a reply. It seems that DQ is only a contractually obligated mention at the bottom of their press releases with Final Fantasy as their top titles. Even the president of their new mobile division said that DQ I Mobile was given to them for development but were unsure if it would see an actual release. Nearly two years after a major corporate merger, the American office still shows no sign of doing anything with their acquired property.

If they feel that Dragon Quest isn't worth localization, they should ask any of the former Enix of America employees. Despite rumors, they'll tell you how successful the titles were. The fans shouldn't be treated like they're stupid. After all, it's you who are the first to purchase the games. I know the fans want real answers and not empty PR. Many of you have been loyal since 1989 and your business should matter to them. You deserve to know what's going to happen to your favorite series. My intention for this article is to only state the facts on my experience with them. SquareEnix has many talented artists, designers, programmers and localization staff that work hard to deliver fantastic products. It's just a shame that the PR branch can be so rude and waste four months of my time by not answering something that wouldn't have taken fifteen minutes. From such an established and successful company, I expected them to act more professional.

-The Dwaine

Since many of you have asked, here is the full list of questions I proposed to SquareEnix.

1: How does SquareEnix choose their titles for the upcoming year? What makes a title worthy of localization?

2: Dragon Quest has a large fan base in America. Behind Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts it's possibly SquareEnix's third most popular franchise. In 2003 the fans were upset. Now they're downright angry. It was assumed that after the merger SquareEnix was going to continue Enix of America's plan. There have been five Dragon Quest titles released since the merger. Why is SquareEnix passing Dragon Quest titles?

3: Dragon Quest V for the PS2 hits a nerve with American fans since localization on the Super Famicom original was canceled in 1992. Now it seems that the US has been denied this title the second time around. Why did SquareEnix pass on Dragon Quest V?

4: Slime Morimori for the GBA seemed like a shoe in with its colorful cast and creative game play. Why did SquareEnix pass on Slime Morimori?

5: In various press events and in their company plan, SquareEnix of Japan has expressed how much they want Dragon Quest to be a major franchise along with Final Fantasy in America. Does SquareEnix of America share this goal and if so will the franchise be rebuilt from Dragon Quest VIII, Dragon Quest I Mobile or the two Dragon Quest titles in development for the Nintendo DS?

6: Enix fans were spoiled in a way where we had a company that listened to and communicated with the fans. After the merger, why was there no moderator at the Enix forums? Why does SquareEnix not communicate with the fans (forums, Q&A, etc.) outside of general press releases?

7: Just to make the die-hard fans happy, are there any plans (past, present or future) to release Dragon Quest IV for the PSOne in any form (stand alone, part of an anthology, PS2 port, etc.)?

8: Lastly, American Dragon Quest fans are having a hard time right now. What does an English speaking Dragon Quest fan have to do to see their favorite titles in English?


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