By MICHAEL LYSTER
Orange County Business Journal
Square Soft Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s Square Co. Ltd., has moved its headquarters to Costa Mesa with plans to expand along with the upcoming release of the game “Final Fantasy VII.”
The move brings Square Soft’s administration closer to its 100-person research and development facility in Marina del Rey.
The company’s new office near South Coast Plaza includes about 30 administrative, marketing and software development employees.
In September, Square Soft relocated from Redmond, Wash., as part of the company’s shift to games for the Sony PlayStation platform.
Previously, Square Soft’s titles were designed for game consoles by Japan’s Nintendo Co. Ltd., whose U.S. headquarters is in Redmond.
According to assistant marketing associate Kenji Mimura, the company is readying for the September PlayStation release of Final Fantasy VII, the latest in the series of popular role-playing games.
A personal computer version of Final Fantasy VII is set to follow by year’s end or in early 1998, he said.
Square Soft is looking to add a number of programmers and animators as part of its ramp-up for both products, Mimura said, adding that most new hires likely will work in Costa Mesa.
Already available in Japan, Final Fantasy VII has become the most successful PlayStation game released to date, according to Shigeo Maruyama, chairman of Foster City-based Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
In all, the Final Fantasy series has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide.
Final Fantasy VII tells the story of Avalanche, a group of resistance fighters battling the Shinra company, which controls the world’s politics and energy. The group’s goal is to destroy Shinra’s Makoro power plant.
A demo version of the game was released in November.
Square Soft’s move to Orange County comes on the heels of a high-profile turnabout in the game console industry.
Last year, Square Soft announced it would stop producing titles for Nintendo machines, a platform for which it had sold some 9 million copies of Final Fantasy titles.
In December, Square Soft announced a multiple-title publishing agreement with Sony.
The two companies recently released “Tobal No. 1,” a fighting game that also includes the Final Fantasy demo and other sample titles.