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Hironobu Sakaguchi

A Producer and Director for Square, Square Pictures, Square Enix, and Mistwalker

Hironobu Sakaguchi

Hironobu Sakaguchi is an industry figurehead, having co-founded Square with Masafumi Miyamoto in 1983 and later moving on to establish his own independent games venture, Mistwalker. As legend tells, Square's first games failed to achieve the success needed to keep the company afloat. With no other options, the pair decided to conclude their venture into the games industry by creating one final game with the company's final remaining funds. They called it Final Fantasy. Released in Japan for the Famicom on December 18, 1987, Final Fantasy became an instant hit in Japan and abroad. Sakaguchi considered the venture absolved and further development continued. Final Fantasy developed into a wildly successful franchise under his watchful eye, and now spans from stand alone stories to spin-offs and direct sequels. After directing every title in the flagship series through Final Fantasy V, Sakaguchi took on the role of executive producer for the series along with producing many of Square's other game projects.

Sakaguchi has enjoyed a distinguished career in game development with his titles selling over 80 million units worldwide. A long-time proponent of bringing together the story-telling tradition of film and the interactive elements of games, he took on the directorial role on Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, an animated motion picture loosely based on previously established Final Fantasy themes. Unfortunately, the movie was a catastrophic financial failure (in fact, the second-biggest animated box office bomb in cinema history) losing over $120 million and leading to the closure of Square Pictures. The upset, for which Sakaguchi was personally held responsible, affected Square's financial capital and may well have precipitated the merger with rival role-playing game creator Enix. As a consequence, feelings towards Sakaguchi's tenure at Square are somewhat mixed.

In 2000, Sakaguchi became the third person inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame. After voluntarily resigning from Square, he founded the game development studio Mistwalker with the financial backing of Microsoft Game Studios. In February of 2005 it was announced that Mistwalker would be working with Microsoft Game Studios to produce two role-playing titles for the Xbox 360 game console. Nevertheless, despite Microsoft's financial backing, Mistwalker remains independent of console exclusivity.

News & Blogs

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Is The Last Story the last Sakaguchi game? [Updated]

Although he just set up Mistwalker some six years ago, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has recently ruminated on his work on the Wii RPG The Last Story, Mistwalker's most recent project. A recent blog post might be a bit disheartening for Sakaguchi fans.

[Sakaguchi's] development team pours 120% of their energy [into the project]... Having been drained of energy, there is a strong feeling that this may be [Sakaguchi's] last work.

Will The Last Story do what Final Fantasy, some 25 years earlier, could not? Will it spell the end of Hironobu Sakaguchi's gaming career once and for all?

Update: According to The Magic Box (July 18, 2010), Sakaguchi has responded, saying his comments have been misconstrued. Here are his actual comments:

The energy poured into this project by the development team and I are 120%. I'm hoping you can understand that, however on the other hand, I feel worried and nervous like sending my child on a trip alone. Emotionally it feels like this is my last work, while pouring everything I have gotten into this project. Never regret, but now "I’m enjoying"; furthermore, aiming towards completion. The sense of "This is it" relaxes my shoulders, its pleasant feeling to conduct an orchestra by the sense of my intuition.

Thanks, Nels!

Mistwalker's latest blog reveals a snippet of Sakaguchi's current project

Ever since the announcement of The Last Story, Hironobu Sakaguchi has been freely expressing his views on the game and it's development process but today's blog post seems a little more insightful than the previous few; an e-mail discussion between him and a "Mr. M" on the battle system. Read on

Mikami, Sakaguchi, Sakamoto and Takahashi lay down the hype bomb.

Yesterday was possibly the biggest video game explosion known to man (especially in Japan). Three announcements, one update, all with official content. Here's what we've got:

Shinji Mikami's next thrilling epic aptly named Vanquish.

Hironobu Sakaguchi's next project now known as The Last Story.

Nintendo/Monolith Soft announces Xenoblade (known before as Monado: Beginning of the World).

Last but certainly not least, Nintando has launched an official site for Metroid: Other M.

So there you have it, January 29 has just past and is no where NEAR close to being forgotten; what a glorious day for us gamers.

On a different note, three of those titles are exclusively for the Wii. Could it be that Nintendo is vigorously fighting for the hardcore gaming demographic? Have they finally responded to the clamoring bitter gamerholics of yore? I think so!

10 Images tagged Hironobu Sakaguchi

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