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Hironobu Sakaguchi

Hironobu Sakaguchi
At the Tokyo Game Show in Tokyo, Japan in 2006.
Born (1962-11-25) November 25, 1962
Hitachi, Ibaraki, Japan
Residence Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Founder of Mistwalker, Game designer, Game producer, Game director, Author, Writer

Hironobu Sakaguchi (坂口 博信 Sakaguchi Hironobu) (born November 25, 1962) is a Japanese video game designer, director, producer, and former film director. He is the creator of the Final Fantasy series, 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.


  • Biography 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Square 1.2
    • Time as film director 1.3
    • Resignation from Square 1.4
    • Mistwalker 1.5
  • Games 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Early years

Sakaguchi was born in Hitachi, Ibaraki, Japan. He studied electrical engineering while attending Yokohama National University, but dropped out in 1983 mid-semester with Hiromichi Tanaka.[1]


On leaving the university, Sakaguchi became a part-time employee of Square, a newly formed branch of Denyūsha Electric Company founded by Masafumi Miyamoto.[2] When Square became an independent company in 1986,[3] he became a full-time employee as the Director of Planning and Development.[4] Sakaguchi then decided to create a role-playing video game which he named Final Fantasy as a result of his personal situation; had the game not sold well, he would have quit the games industry and gone back to the university.[5] The game was released in Japan for the Nintendo Entertainment System on December 18, 1987, and was successful across Japan. Under Sakaguchi's watchful eye, Final Fantasy developed into a successful 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 honoured with the position of Executive Vice President.[4] 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 at Square USA, Inc.[4] 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.[6] 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.[4]

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.[7]

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.


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.[8]

Later he began working on a new "large scale project" on which Sakaguchi commented: "I'm betting a lot on this project."[9] This game was announced in January 2010 to be The Last Story, a co-production with Nintendo for the Wii.[10] 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.[11]


Hironobu Sakaguchi has been credited, in some capacity, with the following games.[12]

Year Title Platform Direct 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[13] Producer
1995 Front Mission Super Nintendo Entertainment System Supervisor
Chrono Trigger Super Nintendo Entertainment System Design[14] 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 story Producer
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 Concept Producer
Sōkaigi 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 Scenario Producer
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, lyrics Supervisor
2007 ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat Nintendo DS ? ?
Lost Odyssey Xbox 360 Scenario, lyrics Supervisor
2008 Blue Dragon Plus Nintendo DS ? ?
Away: Shuffle Dungeon Nintendo DS Scenario
Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow Nintendo DS Executive director
2011 The Last Story Wii Director, designer, scenario, lyrics
2012 Party Wave iOS Director, Music Surfing
2014 Terra Battle iOS, Android Producer

See also


  1. ^ Castaneda, Karl (March 5, 2006). "Sin & Redemption 6". Gaming Vision Network. Retrieved April 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ Fujii, Daiji (January 2006). "Entrepreneurial choices of strategic options in Japan's RPG development" (PDF). Faculty of Economics,  
  3. ^ Szczepaniak, John. "Before They Were Famouos".  
  4. ^ a b c d "Hironobu Sakaguchi/Chairman and CEO". Square USA. Archived from the original on May 11, 2000. 
  5. ^ Fear, Ed (December 13, 2007). "Sakaguchi discusses the development of Final Fantasy". Develop. Intent Media. Retrieved October 16, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Interview with Hironobu Sakaguchi". IGN. April 5, 2000. Retrieved February 14, 2010. 
  7. ^ Duffy, James (August 2, 2006). "Movies that were Box-office Bombs". Retrieved January 2, 2010. 
  8. ^ "". December 25, 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  9. ^ "レゴ – mistwalker". Archived from the original on July 20, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  10. ^ Luke Plunkett (January 29, 2010). "Final Fantasy Creator Working On Wii Game". Kotaku. Retrieved January 29, 2010. 
  11. ^ Iwata Asks: The Last Story
  12. ^ "". Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  13. ^ "The Making Of... Final Fantasy VI".  
  14. ^ V-Jump Festival 1994 (VHS tape). Japan: Shueisha. 1994. 

External links

  • Hironobu Sakaguchi profile, interviews, and photo gallery at the Square Haven People Database
  • Hironobu Sakaguchi on Twitter
  • Mistwalker
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