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Square Enix’s Symbiogenesis isn’t the Parasite Eve revival anyone was hoping for

Mysterious trademark has the worst possible ending

A logo for Symbiogenesis, featuring stark, futuristic text overlayed on colorful splashes of color, flowers, and primitive shapes. Image: Square Enix
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Fans of Square Enix’s Parasite Eve games felt a twinge of hope last month when the publisher registered a trademark for the term “symbiogenesis,” which multiple reports noted as meaning “merging of two separate organisms to form a single new organism.” Those reports also attempted to connect that definition to the Parasite Eve games (and their inspiration), fueling speculation that Square Enix was returning to the action-RPG series after more than a decade.

But on Thursday, Square Enix fully extinguished those hopes, announcing at the Web3 Conclave in India that Symbiogenesis is actually the game publisher’s “first digital collectible art project designed from the ground up for Web3 fans.” Described cynically as “brand-new entertainment content,” Symbiogenesis promises collectible digital art paired with an interactive story and “a dedicated community.” It’s unclear how Square Enix could guarantee the latter, but that seems unimportant to the intended audience.

In theory, Symbiogenesis’ art could be used for profile picture on social media and “as a character in a story that takes place in an alternate world where the player can ’untangle’ a mystery by completing missions that revolve around questions of the monopolization and distribution of resources.”

If any aspect of that sounds appealing enough to dump some spare crypto on, check back in spring 2023, when Symbiogenesis NFTs and its associated free browser service are set to launch.

Square Enix launched a Final Fantasy 7-related NFT project earlier this year, offering digital versions of its Bring Arts toys as a $30 Digital Plus surcharge. You can look at those digital models on a PC or smart phone. That release, and Symbiogenesis’ gut-punch of an announcement, comes after Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda said in a public letter that after “NFTs were met with a great deal of enthusiasm by a rapidly expanding user base,” the publisher viewed “AI, the cloud, and blockchain games as new domains on which we should focus our investments.”

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