Microsoft Game Studios announced today that Sakaguchi's Mistwalker studio is preparing two RPGs for the upcoming Xbox 2 ("Xenon") platform (currently on schedule for a November 2005 release). Sakaguchi managed to successfully brown-nose the company's "cutting-edge" efforts for the next-gen race, and stated that he was "excited about the two epic game titles [they] will be developing." Note that "they" in this case is Microsoft Game Studios, and that the Mistwalker crew will merely be involved as designers, with Sakaguchi doing what he did best before Square canned him -- executive production.
Additionally, an interview with Sakaguchi published on Xbox.jp gives some further insight into the upcoming titles, as well as Sakaguchi's intentions. The "esteemed creator" claims that both titles will be epic, but one will be a realistic, stylistic RPG with "deep psychological development", and the other will pursue SD (super-deformed) renditions akin to the upcoming Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, and lend its scenario more to clich?s. Both of these projects were started several months ago, between Fall and Winter 2004.
Game Informer Online also took advantage of the opportunity to talk to Microsoft's Peter Moore, although it's not too descriptive -- some marketing mumbojumbo about how Sakaguchi-san is the best choice for Japanese development, yada yada (it's quite obvious at this point that Microsoft can't get Square Enix on Xenon no matter how hard they try), Game Informer asks some stupid questions met with equally stupid answers, the usual.
Apparently "a number of talented creators" are also involved, which probably explains the mythical FFXII delays, and Sakaguchi thinks the new games will be "a new vision for gaming". He concluded with some rhetoric about emotionally affecting gamers with his new epic stories.
This would seemingly cement increased success for Microsoft in Japan the coming generation, considering that thusfar all attempts at flirting with the Japanese gaming audience have been met with failure. But is this Sakaguchi being bought by Microsoft, or Microsoft allowing Sakaguchi to sign on with them?1