Akitoshi Kawazu

Last updated
Akitoshi Kawazu
Akitoshi Kawazu (2007).jpg
Kawazu at the Final Fantasy XII London HMV Launch Party in 2007
Native name河津 秋敏
Born (1962-11-05) November 5, 1962 (age 55)
Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Video game designer, producer
Years active 1987–present
Notable work Final Fantasy

Akitoshi Kawazu(河津 秋敏,Kawazu Akitoshi, born November 5, 1962) is a Japanese game producer and game designer. He is best known for his work on Final Fantasy [1] and SaGa franchise of role-playing video games. He was the majority shareholder for The Game Designers Studio, a shell corporation founded in June 1999 by Square and re-purposed in 2002 to exploit a loophole with the company's exclusivity deal to develop for Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation consoles. [2]

Final Fantasy is a Japanese science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs/JRPGs). The first game in the series was released in 1987, with 14 other main-numbered entries being released since then. The franchise has since branched into other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooter, fighting, and rhythm, as well as branching into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, and novels.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

The Game Designers Studio, Inc. was a shell corporation founded in June 1999 by Square. The brand’s final iteration was known as Taito Soft Corporation, a 10-employee team designed for software development for consoles. The Game Designers Studio is associated with Taito Corporation for being the legal entity to assimilate Taito into the Square Enix group.



Joining Square

Kawazu studied ceramics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Kawazu was invited by a friend to work at the gaming magazine published by Softbank called "Beep". [3] He stated that he had always been interested in board games, and after a time joined Square Co. in 1985. [1] [3]

Tokyo Institute of Technology national top-tier research university located in Greater Tokyo Area, Japan

Tokyo Institute of Technology is a national research university located in Greater Tokyo Area, Japan. Tokyo Tech is the largest institution for higher education in Japan dedicated to science and technology, and is generally considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in Japan.

Early years

His first game at Square Co. was Rad Racer, creating the ending sequence showing a player's accomplishments. [3]

<i>Rad Racer</i> 1987 racing video game

Rad Racer, originally released in Japan as Highway Star, is a racing game developed and published by Square for the Family Computer in 1987. In this game, players drive a Ferrari 328 or a generic Formula One racing machine through a race course.

Final Fantasy

He and Hironobu Sakaguchi had wanted to make a role playing game for a long time, and were fans of Wizardry and Ultima, but were concerned it would not sell. [3] After the success in Japan of Dragon Quest , and the popular desire for an RPG proven, development began. [3] Kawazu took over the development of the battle sequence and system, and tried to model it as much after Dungeons and Dragons as he could. [3] Part of the development was to add western fantasy gaming rules, such as a fire monster being vulnerable to ice, which at the time were not features of Japanese gaming. [3]

Hironobu Sakaguchi game designer

Hironobu Sakaguchi is a Japanese video game designer, director, producer, writer, and film director. He is best known as creator of the Final Fantasy series, which he conceived the original concept for the first title Final Fantasy and also directed several later entries in the franchise, and has had a long career in gaming with over 100 million units of video games sold worldwide. He left Square Enix and founded a studio called Mistwalker in 2004.

<i>Wizardry</i> video game series

Wizardry is a series of role-playing video games, developed by Sir-Tech, which were highly influential in the evolution of modern role-playing video games. The original Wizardry was a significant influence on early console role-playing games such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Originally made for the Apple II, the games were later ported to other platforms. The last game in the original series by Sir-Tech was Wizardry 8, released in 2001. There have since been various spin-off titles released only in Japan.

<i>Ultima</i> (series) Role-playing video games series

Ultima is a series of open world fantasy role-playing video games from Origin Systems, Inc. Ultima was created by Richard Garriott. The series is one of the most significant in computer game history and is considered, alongside Wizardry and Might and Magic, to be one of the establishers of the CRPG genre. Several games of the series are considered seminal entries in their genre, and each installment introduced new innovations which then were widely copied by other games. Electronic Arts own the brand.

Later games

Production on The Last Remnant began after the remake of Romancing SaGa for the PlayStation 2 was completed. [4] Kawazu was also involved in the development of "It's New Frontier" (sic). [5] During the development of Final Fantasy XII , Yasumi Matsuno, who was the lead on the game, left half way through, and Kawazu took over. [6]

<i>The Last Remnant</i> video game

The Last Remnant is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix. It was released worldwide for the Xbox 360 in November 2008, and for Microsoft Windows in March 2009. A PlayStation 3 version was announced, but was not released. The game is set in a fictional world divided into multiple city-states inhabited by four different species and whose past includes conflicts over "Remnants", magical artifacts of varying forms. The player controls Rush Sykes, a young man searching for his sister during the war. It features a unique battle system in which the player commands multiple groups, or "unions", of characters rather than individual units.

<i>Romancing SaGa</i> video game

Romancing SaGa is a role-playing video game originally developed and published by Square as the fourth game of their SaGa series. The game was designed by Akitoshi Kawazu who had served as head developer for the previous SaGa titles, with fellow series veteran Kenji Ito providing the game's soundtrack. Set in the fictional world of Mardias, Romancing SaGa allows players to assume the role of one of eight main characters who must journey across the world to prevent the resurrection of an evil god named Saruin who was sealed away a millennium previous.

PlayStation 2 sixth-generation and second home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment

The PlayStation 2 (PS2) is a home video game console that was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to the original PlayStation console and is the second iteration in the PlayStation lineup of consoles. It was released in 2000 and competed with Sega's Dreamcast, Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox in the sixth generation of video game consoles.

Game style

Board games such as Avalon Hill and Dungeons & Dragons influence a lot of Kawazu's development process. [3] When creating a new game, he examines the elements like a board game and makes that the working foundation. [3]

Avalon Hill board game company

Avalon Hill Games Inc. is a game company that specializes in wargames and strategic board games. Its logo contains its initials "AH", and the company is now often referred to by this abbreviation. Before its takeover by Hasbro, it was known as The Avalon Hill Game Company and the initials TAHGC. It has also published miniature wargaming rules, role-playing games and sports simulations. It is now a subsidiary of the game company Wizards of the Coast, which is itself a subsidiary of Hasbro.

<i>Dungeons & Dragons</i> fantasy role-playing board game

Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR). The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997. It was derived from miniature wargames, with a variation of the 1971 game Chainmail serving as the initial rule system. D&D's publication is commonly recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry.


Related Research Articles

<i>SaGa</i> Wikipedia disambiguation page

SaGa (サガ) is a series of science fiction open world role-playing video games formerly developed by Square, and is currently owned by Square Enix. The series originated on the Game Boy in 1989 as the creation of Akitoshi Kawazu. It has since continued across multiple platforms, from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the PlayStation 2. The series is notable for its emphasis on open world exploration, non-linear branching plots, and occasionally unconventional gameplay. This distinguished the series from most of Square's titles. There are currently ten games in the SaGa series, along with several ports and enhanced remakes.

<i>Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles</i> 2003 video game

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is an action role-playing game developed by The Game Designers Studio and published for the GameCube by Nintendo in 2003 in Japan; and 2004 in North America, Europe and Australia. A remastered version for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 will be released in 2019. A spin-off of the Final Fantasy series, Crystal Chronicles was the first title released for a Nintendo console since Final Fantasy VI in 1994.

Terra Branford

Terra Branford, known as Tina Branford in Japanese media, is a character in the Final Fantasy series of role-playing video games published by Square Enix. Designed by Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura for the main series installment Final Fantasy VI, she also appeared in the spin-off fighting games Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, and made small appearances in several other games in and outside the Final Fantasy series.

<i>Unlimited Saga</i> 2002 video game

Unlimited Saga is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation 2 as the ninth game in their SaGa series. Originally released in Japan in December 2002, the game was later made available for North American players in June 2003 and in Europe the following October. The game was designed by series veteran Akitoshi Kawazu who is given a byline on the cover of the game's packaging, with music composed by Masashi Hamauzu who had previously provided the soundtrack for the game's predecessor, SaGa Frontier 2. A special limited collector's edition was made available exclusively in Japan and was released alongside the regular edition.

<i>SaGa Frontier</i> 1997 video game

SaGa Frontier is a role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation and released in Japan on July 11, 1997. The game was later published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEA) in North America on March 25, 1998. It is the seventh game in the SaGa series, the first to be released on the PlayStation, and the first to be released under the SaGa brand outside Japan.

<i>Final Fantasy Legend III</i> 1991 Game Boy game

Final Fantasy Legend III is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square Co. for the Game Boy handheld system as the third game of their SaGa series. Initially released for Japanese audiences in December 1991, the game was made available in North America nearly two years later in August 1993. While the title retains many similarities to its predecessors in terms of style and gameplay, the game's development was headed by series newcomer Chihiro Fujioka, who also served as composer alongside Ryuji Sasai. The North American version of the game saw a re-release alongside the two other Final Fantasy Legend titles in July 1998 courtesy of Sunsoft. In 2010, an enhanced remake of the game was announced for the Nintendo DS titled SaGa 3 Jikū no Hasha: Shadow or Light, featuring three-dimensional graphics, new story elements, and an arranged soundtrack.

Vaan fictional character

Vaan is a fictional character in the Final Fantasy series from Square Enix. Created by Yasumi Matsuno and designed by Akihiko Yoshida, he first appeared in Itadaki Street Special and then appeared in Final Fantasy XII as the protagonist. Final Fantasy XII establishes Vaan as an orphaned teenager from Rabanastre who dreams of becoming a sky pirate. He and his best friend Penelo join Dalmasca Princess Ashe in her fight against the tyranny of the Archadian Empire. Vaan also takes a more active role in the sequel Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings and has also been featured in few Final Fantasy crossover games.

<i>Romancing SaGa 2</i> role-playing video game

Romancing SaGa 2 is a role-playing video game developed by Square and released for the Super Famicom in Japan on December 10, 1993. It is the fifth title in the SaGa series.

Hiroyuki Ito, is a Japanese game producer, director and designer who works for Square Enix. He is known as the director of Final Fantasy VI (1994), Final Fantasy IX (2000) and Final Fantasy XII (2006) and as the creator of the Active Time Battle (ATB) system in the Final Fantasy series.

Akihiko Matsui is a Japanese video game developer and battle designer working for Square Enix. He was one of the directors for Chrono Trigger and worked on several battle systems for the Final Fantasy series.

Takashi Tokita is a Japanese video game developer working for Square Enix. He has worked there since 1985, and has worked as the lead designer for Final Fantasy IV as well as the director of Parasite Eve and Chrono Trigger.

SaGa is a series of science fiction role-playing video games produced by Square, now Square Enix. The series originated on the Game Boy in 1989 as the creation of Akitoshi Kawazu. It has since continued across multiple platforms, from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the PlayStation 2, and like the Final Fantasy series, the story in each SaGa game is independent of its counterparts. The music of the SaGa series consists of musical scores and arranged albums from various composers. Some of these composers have created soundtracks and pieces for other Square Enix franchises including the Final Fantasy series and Mana series. The SaGa series is divided up between the original series, released as the Final Fantasy Legend series in North America, the Romancing SaGa series, the SaGa Frontier series, and Unlimited SaGa.

<i>Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy</i> video game

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy is a 2011 fighting game published by Square Enix for the PlayStation Portable as part of the Final Fantasy series. It was developed by the company's 1st Production Department and released in Japan on March 3, 2011. The game is both a prequel and remake of Dissidia Final Fantasy, revealing what occurred before the events of its predecessor, and was released on March 22, 2011 in North America.

<i>Theatrhythm Final Fantasy</i> 2012 video game

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is a rhythm video game, developed by indieszero and published by Square Enix for Nintendo 3DS and iOS. Based on the Final Fantasy video game franchise, the game involves using the touch screen in time to various pieces of music from the series. The game was released in Japan in February 2012, and in North America, Australia and Europe in July 2012. An iOS version was released in December 2012. A sequel, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, was released in 2014. A third game based on the Dragon Quest series, Theatrhythm Dragon Quest, was released in 2015. An arcade game, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: All-Star Carnival, was released in 2016.

<i>Final Fantasy Artniks</i>

Final Fantasy Artniks is a Japanese video game developed by Square Enix and the GREE social network. It is the second Final Fantasy social game and the second game developed with GREE.

<i>Imperial SaGa</i>

Imperial SaGa is a role-playing browser game developed by Think & Feel for web browsers. The eleventh installment in the SaGa series, the game was published by Square Enix in 2015. Designed as part of the series' 25th anniversary celebrations, it was developed with the supervision of series creator Akitoshi Kawazu.

Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs). The eponymous first game in the series, published in 1987, was conceived by Sakaguchi as his last-ditch effort in the game industry; the title was a success and spawned sequels. While most entries in the series are separate from each other, they have recurring elements carrying over between entries: these include plot themes and motifs, gameplay mechanics such as the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, and signature character designs from the likes of Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.

<i>SaGa: Scarlet Grace</i>

SaGa: Scarlet Grace is a role-playing video game co-developed by Square Enix and Studio Reel. The twelfth entry in the SaGa series and celebrating the series' 25th anniversary, the game was published by Square Enix in 2016 for the PlayStation Vita. An expanded port subtitled Hiiro no Yabou is scheduled for release in 2018 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Android and iOS. A Western localization is in production.


  1. 1 2 Winkler, Chris; Eve C. (2003-03-02). "Creator's Talk Interview #1: Akitoshi Kawazu". RPGFan. Archived from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
  2. "IGN - Sony buys stake in Square". IGN.com. Archived from the original on 2013-12-28. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Jeremy Parish (2012-12-01). "What's the Deal with Square Enix's Akitoshi Kawazu?". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  4. Doerr, Nick (June 2, 2007). "Some news on Last Remnant -- SaGa Frontier 3, almost". PS3FanBoy.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  5. 1 2 Spencer (August 25, 2009). "It's New Frontier, It's A New Square Enix Sim Game". Siliconera.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
  6. Fahey, Rob (October 31, 2006). "This Great Fantasy". Eurogamer . Archived from the original on January 25, 2009. Retrieved 2013-02-28.