5 classic Square Enix JRPGs that should get the HD-2D treatment

The Japanese publisher is home to many classic RPGs that can be remade for a modern experience (Images via Square Enix)
The Japanese publisher is home to many classic RPGs that can be remade for a modern experience (Images via Square Enix)

With the arrival of strategy-RPG Triangle Strategy for the Nintendo Switch, publisher Square Enix's HD-2D idea has struck gold. First introduced with 2018's Octopath Traveler, the aforementioned formula is essentially a visual choice retaining the pixel art style but with modern rendering techniques.

This has resulted in some pretty unique looking games from the Japanese studio while also leaving room for future project possibilities. Given the variety of RPG franchises under Square Enix's belt, there are numerous iconic titles that can be remade and introduced to a modern gaming audience.

Here are 5 classic RPG games from Square Enix's catalog that should get a 2D-HD makeover for modern platforms

5) Xenogears


Originally released for the PS1, Xenogears is the first entry in the multi-publisher Xeno franchise. It's a sci-fi turn-based RPG, which puts players on a mysterious planet where humans wage war in giant mechs called Gears.

Players are put in the shoes of Fei Fong Wong, who was adopted into the village of Lahan - this eventually snowballs into something grander, with a history spanning millennia. The plot is also backed by philosophical and religious themes.

The gameplay is a traditional turn-based affair, taking a page from Final Fantasy's ATB system, including numerous party members. However, it has input combos for attacks called Deathblows.

Xenogears has a mixture of mostly 2D visuals with some 3D elements like environments and mechs, and the HD-2D style should fit right in - even for the Gears.

4) Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together


This iconic strategy-JRPG is a cult classic that debuted on the SNES as a Japan-only release, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together saw a remake on the PlayStation Portable in 2010.

After the death of King Dolgare, the kingdom of Valeria is thrust into civil war with the three factions: Bacrum, Gargastan and Walsta.

The mature narrative is full of political warfare and player choices can alter the flow of narrative via different paths i.e. Lawful, Chaotic and Neutral. Gameplay sees players engage in grid-based tactical turn-based combat, controlling different playable characters, each having different classes.

The recently released Triangle Strategy bears combat gameplay similarities to this one, so we already have an idea of what a potential modern HD-2D remake would look like.

3) Final Fantasy VII


The PS1's most renowned RPG continues to be praised to this day. Shinra Megacorporation is robbing the planet of its Lifestream, so a team of eco-terrorists team up to take down the global entity.

The game sees Cloud Strife and his gang travel across various environments and tackle enemies in classic ATB combat.

Final Fantasy VII does have a current-gen remake - but honestly it's more of a re-imagining than anything else. A HD-2D version can be a 1:1 recreation, maintaining the charm and gameplay the original was known for; even though it may end up looking more like the SNES era Final Fantasy games.

2) Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies


The ninth mainline installment in Square Enix's underrated RPG franchise launched exclusively for the Nintendo DS in 2009. As the name suggests, players control the Celestrians, angelic beings who live in the Observatory up in the clouds.

After a mysterious force thwarts the Celestrians' plans to reach the Realm of God, the protagonist must find the scattered Fyggs (fruits from Yggdrasil the World Tree) and bring back the other angels while regaining their lost powers.

The gameplay follows the same turn-based formula established by the long-running franchise, as well as the signature artstyle by legendary manga-artist Akira Toriyama, known for his Dragon Ball designs.

DQ9 brings new changes, like allowing overworld encounters rather than random. It won several awards on release and is one of the best candidates for a remake.

1) Chrono Trigger


Another acclaimed Toriyama RPG classic, Chrono Trigger continues to appear in countless "best games of all time" lists to this day.

Originally launched for the SNES in 1995. It's a memorable time-travelling adventure that takes the hero Crono and several other party members through different eras across space and time to stop a world-threatening event.

While the gameplay is once again a menu-based derievative of JRPGs of that era, the plot is the focal point of the game, featuring great writing and narrative beats intertwining with gameplay, something not seen in games before.

To top it off, it features 12 endings.

Chrono Trigger has been ported to smartphones and PCs but not modern consoles, so this is a great opportunity for Square Enix to revamp the timeless RPG and introduce it to a modern audience in its full glory.

Note: This article reflects the author's opinions.