Hironobu Sakaguchi

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Hironobu Sakaguchi
Hironobu Sakaguchi - Tokyo Game Show 2006.jpg
Sakaguchi at the Tokyo Game Show in Tokyo, Japan in 2006
Born (1962-11-25) November 25, 1962 (age 56)
Hitachi, Ibaraki, Japan
Residence Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
NationalityJapanese
OccupationFounder of Mistwalker, Game designer, Game producer, Game director, Author, Writer
Notable work
Final Fantasy
Awards AIAS Hall of Fame Award (2000) [1]

Hironobu Sakaguchi(坂口 博信,Sakaguchi Hironobu) (born November 25, 1962) 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.

A technical director (TD) is usually a senior technical person within e.g. a software company, engineering firm, film studio, theatrical company or television studio. This person usually possesses the highest level of skill within a specific technical field.

A video game producer is the person in charge of overseeing development of a video game.

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.

Contents

Biography

Early years

Sakaguchi was born in Hitachi, Ibaraki, Japan. Originally planning to become a professional musician, he played in various bands and booked local concert venues during his secondary education, selling tickets to the concerts himself. [2] Sakaguchi studied electrical engineering while attending Yokohama National University, but dropped out in 1983 mid-semester with Hiromichi Tanaka. [3]

Hitachi, Ibaraki City in Kantō, Japan

Hitachi is a city located in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. As of September 2015, the city had an estimated population of 183,148 and a population density of 811 persons per km2. Its total area is 225.71 km2. Hitachi is well known in the world for its brand name of electric products, including power plants and appliances, of the Hitachi company founded in the town in 1910 by Namihei Odaira with considerable properties as its factories in the city.

Electrical engineering field of engineering that deals with electricity

Electrical engineering is a professional engineering discipline that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. This field first became an identifiable occupation in the later half of the 19th century after commercialization of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and electric power distribution and use. Subsequently, broadcasting and recording media made electronics part of daily life. The invention of the transistor, and later the integrated circuit, brought down the cost of electronics to the point they can be used in almost any household object.

Yokohama National University university

Yokohama National University, or Yokokoku (横国) is a leading national university located in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Yokohama National University comprises five graduate schools and four undergraduate faculties. Yokohama National University is one of leading national universities in Japan. It is consistently one of the highest ranking national universities in Japan that is not one of Japan's National Seven Universities. It is also a core member of the Port-City University League.

Square

During university, Sakaguchi's programming studies led him to desire the new Apple II computer which had recently been released. Since he could not afford one, he instead purchased a knockoff in the Akihabara district, which, although cheaper than an actual Apple II, was still expensive. Realizing that he needed funds to buy software for his computer, he began to seek a part-time job to earn the necessary income. [2] This search then led to Sakaguchi becoming a part-time employee of Square, a newly formed branch of Denyūsha Electric Company founded by Masafumi Miyamoto. [4] At this point, Sakaguchi still dreamed of becoming a professional musician, but felt that working for a company like Square would provide him with needed programming experience in the meantime. [2]

Apple II series series of computers made by Apple

The Apple II series is a family of home computers, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products, designed primarily by Steve Wozniak, manufactured by Apple Computer, and launched in 1977 with the original Apple II. In terms of ease of use, features, and expandability, the Apple II was a major advancement over its predecessor, the Apple I, a limited-production bare circuit board computer for electronics hobbyists. Through 1988, a number of models were introduced, with the most popular, the Apple IIe, remaining changed relatively little into the 1990s. A 16-bit model with much more advanced graphics and sound, the Apple IIGS, was added in 1986. While compatible with earlier Apple II systems, the IIGS was in closer competition with the Atari ST and Amiga.

Counterfeit consumer goods are goods, often of inferior quality, made or sold under another's brand name without the brand owner's authorization. Sellers of such goods may infringe on either the trademark, patent or copyright of the brand owner by passing off its goods as made by the brand owner. Counterfeit products made up 5 to 7% of world trade in 2013, and in 2014 cost an estimated 2.5 million jobs worldwide, with up to 750,000 jobs lost in the U.S. About 5% of goods imported into the European Union in 2013 were fakes, according to the OECD. Less developed countries such as India have also been inundated with counterfeit products.

Akihabara town located in Chiyoda, Tokyo

Akihabara is a common name for the area around Akihabara Station in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, Japan. Administratively, the area called Akihabara mainly belongs to the Sotokanda (外神田) and Kanda-Sakumachō districts in Chiyoda. There exists an administrative district called Akihabara in the Taitō ward further north of Akihabara Station, but it is not the place people generally refer to as Akihabara.

When Square became an independent company in 1986, [5] Sakaguchi became a full-time employee as the Director of Planning and Development. [6] After working on several Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games that failed to become major hits, Sakaguchi began questioning if he had chosen the right career path and if he was qualified to be a game writer. [7] [8] He then pitched the concept for a role-playing video game called Fighting Fantasy, and assembled a small team to realize this project of his. [7] [9] Among others, Sakaguchi's thoughts about quitting the game industry and going back to university – had the game not sold well – were a reason for the title being changed to Final Fantasy . [8] [9] [10] The game was released in Japan for the NES on December 18, 1987, and was successful across Japan. Under Sakaguchi's supervision, Final Fantasy developed into an expansive franchise, spanning from stand alone stories to spin-offs to direct sequels. In 1991, following the release of Final Fantasy IV for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, he was honored with the position of Executive Vice President. [6] The last Final Fantasy game he directed was Final Fantasy V , becoming the producer for future installments of the franchise. In 1995, he became president of Square's North American division. [6] His final role as game producer was for Final Fantasy IX . In an interview at the time he described it as his favorite Final Fantasy. [11] He later went on to serve more as an executive producer of the series, as well as many of Square's other games, including Vagrant Story , Parasite Eve and Kingdom Hearts . The Kingdom Hearts series would later go on to feature a character named Master Eraqus, who was designed to physically resemble Sakaguchi and match with Disney's Yen Sid. In May 2000, Sakaguchi received the Hall of Fame Award of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. [6]

Nintendo Entertainment System 8-bit video game console produced by Nintendo in 1983

The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit home video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It is a remodeled export version of the company's Family Computer (FC) platform in Japan, also known as the Famicom for short, which launched on July 15, 1983. The NES was launched through test markets in New York City and Los Angeles in 1985, before being given a wide release in the rest of North America and parts of Europe in 1986, followed by Australia and other European countries in 1987. Brazil saw only unlicensed clones until the official local release in 1993. In South Korea, it was packaged as the Hyundai Comboy and distributed by SK Hynix which then was known as Hyundai Electronics; the Comboy was released in 1989.

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.

<i>Final Fantasy</i> (video game) 1987 video game

Final Fantasy is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1987. It is the first game in Square's Final Fantasy series, created by Hironobu Sakaguchi. Originally released for the NES, Final Fantasy was remade for several video game consoles and is frequently packaged with Final Fantasy II in video game collections. The story follows four youths called the Light Warriors, who each carry one of their world's four elemental orbs which have been darkened by the four Elemental Fiends. Together, they quest to defeat these evil forces, restore light to the orbs, and save their world.

Time as film director

A long time proponent of bringing together the story-telling vehicle of film and the interactive elements of games, Sakaguchi took the leap from games to film when he made his debut as film director in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within , an animated motion picture based on his world-famous Final Fantasy series. Despite some positive reviews, the film was a box office bomb, losing approximately 94 million dollars. [12]

<i>Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within</i> 2001 computer-animated film directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a 2001 American computer-animated science fiction film directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series of role-playing video games. It was the first photorealistic computer-animated feature film and was the most expensive video game-inspired film until the release of Prince of Persia in 2010. It features the voices of Ming-Na Wen, Alec Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, James Woods, Ving Rhames, Peri Gilpin and Steve Buscemi.

Resignation from Square

Sakaguchi voluntarily stepped down from his post as an executive vice president at Square. This event also reduced Square's financial capital. Square later merged with its rival, the Enix Corporation, which led to the creation of Square Enix in 2003. In 2004, Sakaguchi founded Mistwalker with the financial backing of Microsoft Game Studios.

Enix Japanese video game publisher

Enix Corporation was a Japanese video game publisher that produced video games, anime and manga. Enix is known for publishing the Dragon Quest series of role-playing video games.

Mistwalker Corporation is a Japanese video game development studio founded by Hironobu Sakaguchi in 2004, with the financial backing of Microsoft. The logo and name were trademarked in 2001. Based in Tokyo, Mistwalker is a co-developer similar to Red Entertainment and Armor Project, outsourcing development duties to other companies, preferring to focus primarily on the story and music portions of game development, as well as generally overseeing the process. Nobuo Uematsu, known for his work in the Final Fantasy series, has written music for various games developed by Mistwalker.

Mistwalker

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California in 2007 Hironobu Sakaguchi - Game Developers Conference 2007.jpg
At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California in 2007

Sakaguchi founded Mistwalker, which began operation in 2004. In February 2005, it was announced that Mistwalker would be working with Microsoft Game Studios to create two role-playing video games for the Xbox 360. Still, the company remains independent from console exclusivity. Sakaguchi released the works Blue Dragon in 2006, and Lost Odyssey in 2007 on the Xbox 360, and ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat on the Nintendo DS. He was developing an action-RPG, titled Cry On , until the project was canceled in December 2008. [13]

Later he began working on a new "large scale project" on which Sakaguchi commented: "I'm betting a lot on this project." [14] This game was announced in January 2010 to be The Last Story , a co-production with Nintendo for the Wii. [15] It was revealed in an interview on Nintendo's website that Sakaguchi is the director of The Last Story, which marks his first time as director of a game since Final Fantasy V . [16]

In 2016, he announced the formation of a new video game development company located in Tokyo. The proposed name of the studio is "Dawnwalker". [17]

Games

Hironobu Sakaguchi has been credited, in some capacity, with the following games. [18] [19]

YearTitlePlatformDirect role(s)Other credit(s)
1984 The Death Trap NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, FM-7 Design
1985 Will: The Death Trap II NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, FM-7 Design
1986 Cruise Chaser Blassty NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, Sharp X1 Design
King's Knight Nintendo Entertainment System Design
1987 3-D WorldRunner Nintendo Entertainment System Design
Rad Racer Nintendo Entertainment System Design
Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School Nintendo Entertainment System Design
JJ Nintendo Entertainment System Design
Final Fantasy Nintendo Entertainment System Design
1988 Final Fantasy II Nintendo Entertainment System Director
1990 Final Fantasy III Nintendo Entertainment System Director
1991 Final Fantasy IV Super Nintendo Entertainment System Director
1992 Final Fantasy V Super Nintendo Entertainment System Director
1993 Romancing SaGa 2 Super Nintendo Entertainment System Executive producer
1994 Final Fantasy VI Super Nintendo Entertainment System Original story [20] Producer
1995 Front Mission Super Nintendo Entertainment System Supervisor
Chrono Trigger Super Nintendo Entertainment System Design [21] Supervisor
Seiken Densetsu 3 Super Nintendo Entertainment System Special thanks
Romancing SaGa 3 Super Nintendo Entertainment System Executive producer
1996 Bahamut Lagoon Super Nintendo Entertainment System Supervisor
Front Mission: Gun Hazard Super Nintendo Entertainment System Supervisor
Super Mario RPG Super Nintendo Entertainment System Production supervisor
Treasure Hunter G Super Nintendo Entertainment System General producer
Tobal No. 1 PlayStation Supervisor
1997 Final Fantasy VII PlayStation Design, original storyProducer
Bushido Blade PlayStation Executive producer
Tobal 2 PlayStation Supervisor
Final Fantasy Tactics PlayStation Producer
Einhänder PlayStation Supervisor
1998 Xenogears PlayStation Executive producer
Bushido Blade 2 PlayStation Executive producer
Parasite Eve PlayStation ConceptProducer
Soukaigi PlayStation Supervisor
Brave Fencer Musashi PlayStation Executive producer
Ehrgeiz PlayStation Supervisor
Chocobo's Dungeon 2 PlayStation Producer
1999 Final Fantasy VIII PlayStation Executive producer
Chocobo Racing PlayStation Executive producer
SaGa Frontier 2 PlayStation Executive producer
Legend of Mana PlayStation Executive producer
Front Mission 3 PlayStation Executive producer
Chrono Cross PlayStation Executive producer
Parasite Eve 2 PlayStation Executive producer
Chocobo Stallion PlayStation Executive producer
2000 Vagrant Story PlayStation Executive producer
Driving Emotion Type-S PlayStation 2 Executive producer
Final Fantasy IX PlayStation ScenarioProducer
The Bouncer PlayStation 2 Executive producer
2001 Final Fantasy X PlayStation 2 Executive producer
2002 Kingdom Hearts PlayStation 2 Executive producer
Final Fantasy XI PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows Executive producer
2003 Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Game Boy Advance Executive producer
Final Fantasy X-2 PlayStation 2 Executive producer
2006 Final Fantasy XII PlayStation 2 Special thanks
Blue Dragon Xbox 360 Scenario, lyricsSupervisor
2007 ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat Nintendo DS Executive producer
Lost Odyssey Xbox 360 Scenario, lyricsSupervisor
2008 Blue Dragon Plus Nintendo DS Scenario
Away: Shuffle Dungeon Nintendo DS Scenario
Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow Nintendo DS ScenarioExecutive director
2011 The Last Story Wii Director, designer, scenario, lyrics
2012 Party Wave iOS, Android Director, MusicSurfing
2014 Terra Battle iOS, Android Producer
2017 Terra Battle 2 iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows Producer
TBA Terra Wars iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows Producer
TBA Fantasian iOS Producer

See also

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