Square Enix really found itself a winning formula with 2018’s Octopath Traveler. Despite being an entirely new IP, it had the hallmarks of an old-school turned-based RPG both in terms of gameplay and visuals. Its patented HD-2D art style, combining SNES-era sprite work with polygonal environments and flashy, modern effects immediately caught a lot of peoples’ interest and elicited a wonderful sense of nostalgia for the company’s early years.
So, it’s hardly surprising that Square Enix got to work on more projects using the widely praised art style. Tactical RPG Triangle Strategy launched earlier this year, and we still have remakes of Live A Live and Dragon Quest 3 to look forward to.
Now that Square Enix has demonstrated the possibility of remaking its classic titles from the '80s and '90s for modern audiences, we can’t help but wonder which ones could and/or should receive a similar treatment.
1. Chrono Trigger
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. To this day, Chrono Trigger remains one of the most well-regarded RPGs Square Enix has ever put out. Over 25 years since it released, it regularly pops up on peoples’ best games of all time lists.
Considering its legacy, it’s almost baffling that Square Enix hasn’t already commissioned a remake. In fact, it hasn’t even ported it to modern platforms besides PC and mobile devices. While fans would probably be happy enough if the original came to PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch, imagine the excitement surrounding a full-fledged remake boasting the HD-2D visuals.
Aside from retaining the charming sprite work, its combat would benefit from the additional visual flairs, and certain story beats would be more dramatic in their presentation. Plus, it could incorporate the new content Square Enix made for the DS remake in 2008 to become the optimal way of experiencing this beloved time-travel adventure.
2. Final Fantasy 6
Aside from Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6 is another easy pick given its popularity. From what we can tell, there are some heated debates over which is considered the best Final Fantasy: this one or Final Fantasy 7.
It’s extremely unlikely that Final Fantasy 6 will ever receive the same remake treatment as Final Fantasy 7 (especially since the Final Fantasy 7 Remake project isn’t finished yet), but going that route would probably lead to Square Enix ditching a lot of gameplay elements to better suit real-time action. If anything, the best thing to do would be to remake it in the HD-2D style.
Some might argue that such a remake is unnecessary thanks to the PC and mobile pixel remaster (which hopefully will be ported to consoles at some point). But there’s a lot that a remake could add to the experience, such as full voice acting and maybe additional story content to help flesh out some of the party members that don’t have as much story prevalence.
We could easily fill this list out with nothing but Final Fantasy games, but that wouldn’t make for an interesting read. Plus, remakes aren’t just opportunities to re-experience the most popular games ever made, but also to give lesser-known titles a new lease on life and perhaps introduce them to new audiences. For example, Terranigma.
No one can be blamed for not recognizing the name considering it’s an Enix property not called Dragon Quest and it never made it to America. Released in 1995 for the SNES, Terranigma is an action RPG that sees a young boy named Ark tasked with resurrecting life on Earth.
While it may not be as famous as Dragon Quest, Terranigma received rave reviews when it came out, and there is a demand for it to be revived in some form. Its own development team petitioned Square Enix for a remake only last year alongside passionate fans (thanks Nintendo Life). Unfortunately, according to character designer and manga artist Kamui Fujiwara, apparently no one can contact the game’s original director, which could be the reason why a remake hasn't got off the ground.
4. Bahamut Lagoon
Bahamut Lagoon might be even more obscure than Terranigma by virtue of not releasing in the West at all. A 1996 grid-based and turn-based tactical RPG for the SNES, Bahamut Lagoon is set in a world of floating continents called lagoons and has you lead a campaign against an invading empire with a squad of dragons that can be raised and evolved into different types depending on what you feed them.
Even its Virtual Console re-releases for the Wii and Wii U in 2009 and 2014 respectively were Japan-only releases. It’s not like the game wasn’t particularly well received; it sold decently enough at launch and has enough passionate fans to receive an updated English localization via a ROM patch in 2021.
Some of its key staff are still working at Square Enix today, so greenlighting such a remake is feasible. It would admittedly be hard, though, since director Kazushige Nojima and writer Motomu Toriyama are currently involved with the Final Fantasy franchise, which is far more of a priority for the company.
5. Final Fantasy Tactics
Triangle Strategy may have filled the Final Fantasy Tactics shaped hole in fans’ hearts upon release, but that doesn’t mean they can’t yearn for the series to make a proper return. Much like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6, it tends to pop up on best games of all time lists, and yet Square Enix hasn’t really touched upon the Tactics series in over 10 years.
Admittedly, the game released on the 32-bit original PlayStation, so an HD-2D remake would fundamentally change the original art style, assuming Square Enix wished to keep it visually consistent with previous HD-2D titles. But maybe some fans can live with that if it means getting to reexperience the game on modern hardware.
There are rumors of some kind of Final Fantasy Tactics remaster being in development, with it being "leaked" alongside a Chrono Cross remaster, which was later revealed to be real. So, out of all the games on this list, this one might be the closest to actually happening, although whether it adopts the HD-2D art style or not is another question entirely.