Final Fantasy 7: An Oral History

Fascinating in-depth history at polygon:

Today, it sits above a Doutor coffee shop a few doors from a train station in a busy part of Hiyoshi, Yokohama.

Visit the building and you won’t see a plaque commemorating the history or remnants of a company whose characters now model Louis Vuitton clothes and sell millions of games. Yet on that spot in 1983, inside his father’s office space, founder Masafumi Miyamoto began a development studio called Square.

Initially, it wasn’t even a formally-designated company. It was a room where people came and went.

Some describe the company in its early days as a family business. One of Square’s first hires, Shinichiro Kajitani, joined simply because he was friends with Miyamoto and compares the young studio to a college club. Another, Hironobu Sakaguchi, designed games while working part time.

“We treated it like a hobby, not a career,” says longtime Square composer Nobuo Uematsu. “We just wanted to do what we liked. We weren’t worried about our salaries or living situations or thinking, ‘Where is this company going?’”

But people grow up and things change.

There are some good sections on two very important artists that played important roles at Square: Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.