from the good-signs dept
Video game giant Square Enix has never had a great track record when it comes to opting for lawyers over any kind of fan-created works built off of its properties. In fact, far from even making any attempt to encourage its fans, Square instead seems to enjoy the sledgehammer approach. Whether it was shutting down a fan-game set in the enormously popular Chronno Trigger universe, or a similar effort to create an OpenCarmageddon, the trend you'll notice is that these legal moves are made against some of the most rabid fans of some of the most beloved game franchises around.
So what would Square do if someone wanted to build off of what is almost certainly its most beloved franchise, the Final Fantasy games? Well, apparently the company will quietly okay it. At least, that's the case with the Kickstarter project for Final Fantasy 7: The Web Series, which has reportedly secured some of the necessary rights from Square Enix to move forward.
Today the team launched a Kickstarter to raise $400,000 for the project, which is now a 5-6-episode webseries based on Square's popular role-playing game. They say they've got the blessing of series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi—and the rights to use music from Final Fantasy VII.Now, this doesn't explicitly say that the company, Square Enix, has given everyone involved the go-ahead for the project, but it's hard to imagine the film creators going through the steps of securing music rights, contacting Sakaguchi, and then leaving it all to risk of the game developer's lawyers. In addition, the Q&A on Kickstarter indicates that the filmmakers have been reaching out to Square, that Square's general counsel is definitely aware of the project, and that the trailer for the series has even appeared on Square's website. I would guess that there has been at least some assurance made that nobody is going to get sued over this and, before anyone rushes to point out that the fans went the route of securing rights, that's only true of the music and no project of this kind is going to be able pay the kind of massive costs rights-holders have previously required. From all appearences, it looks like Square is playing nice.
"We have been in contact with SE for several months, and have attained full music rights," producer Dan Purcell told me in an e-mail today. "We have not however been endorsed or backed by SE. We have passed all necessary steps, including Kickstarter's review process."
And if that has indeed happened, it's a huge step forward for Square, and a step that might just be becoming a trend. The company recently went a little more lax when OCRemix, famed video game music organization, wanted to pay tribute to Final Fantasy 6, and Square gave its blessing. If it was now to give a muted nod to this fan film project building off of one of its most popular games ever, it might just be an indication that the company is rethinking its legalistic ways. And that'd be good for all fans of the game, because the web series looks fantastic.