I don't have what it takes to make an action game. I think I'm better at telling a story.
- —Hironobu Sakaguchi
Hironobu Sakaguchi (坂口 博信, Sakaguchi Hironobu?) is a Japanese game designer, director, and producer who is widely known as the creator of the Final Fantasy series. Born on November 25th, 1962, in Hitachi, Ibaraki, he joined Square Co., Ltd. (presently Square Enix) in 1983 as part-time worker after dropping out of his university mid-course. He left the company in 2003. He currently lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Sakaguchi started his career at Square Co., Ltd in 1986 as director of planning and development. He was promoted to executive vice president in 1991 and eventually ascended to president of Square LA Inc. (now Square Enix) in 1995. Sakaguchi is the creator of the original Final Fantasy. Contrary to popular belief, the name "Final Fantasy" does not refer to the situation with Square, but was in fact given because the game was intended to be his final work.
Neither proved to be the case, since Final Fantasy was a success. He directed Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, and Final Fantasy V, and produced Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy IX. In 2000, Sakaguchi was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) Hall of Fame for his groundbreaking work on the Final Fantasy series. He was the third person to be inducted, after other gaming icons Sid Meier and Shigeru Miyamoto.
After switching over to the Famicom (NES), there was a time when I wasn't happy with anything I was creating. I thought of retiring from the game industry and I created Final Fantasy as my final project. That's why the title includes the word 'final' but for me, the title 'Final Fantasy' reflects my emotional state at the time and the feeling that time had stopped. They say that technologically, it's good to keep going, and each time, we give it our all and expend out skills and energy until we can go no further; this is what I consider to be the "final fantasy". The stories and characters change each time. This is because stories tend to limit a world and I think by changing these aspects and creating new material for each title, we try to show our full potential. In a way, you can say that it serves as a type of challenge for us.
- —Hironobu Sakaguchi in "Beyond Final Fantasy"
A long time proponent of bringing together the story-telling vehicle of film and the interactive elements of games, Sakaguchi debuted as film director with Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, an animated motion picture based on the Final Fantasy series. The movie was the second-biggest animated box office bomb in cinema history, losing over $120 million dollars and leading to the closure of Square Pictures and reduced Square's financial capital. Sakaguchi stepped down from his post as an executive vice president at Square. Square merged with their rival, Enix Co., Ltd., which led into the present day Square Enix in 2003. Sakaguchi resigned his position at Square.
In March 2015, he was given a Game Developers Conference Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in Final Fantasy and several other RPGs.
Works Within the SeriesEdit
|Final Fantasy||Director, Game Designer, Story Writer, Original Concept|
|Final Fantasy II||Director|
|Final Fantasy III||Director|
|Final Fantasy IV||Director|
|Final Fantasy V||Director, Story Writer|
|Final Fantasy VI||Producer, Story Writer|
|Final Fantasy VII||Producer, Game Designer, Story Planner (with Tetsuya Nomura)|
|Final Fantasy VIII||Executive Producer|
|Final Fantasy IX||Producer, Original Concept, Scenario (with Hiroyuki Ito)|
|Final Fantasy X||Localization Executive Producer|
|Final Fantasy X-2||Localization Executive Producer|
|Final Fantasy XI||Executive Producer|
|Final Fantasy XII||Original Producer, Special Thanks|
|Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System||Special Thanks|
|Final Fantasy Tactics||Producer|
|Final Fantasy Tactics Advance||Executive Producer|
|Final Fantasy Anthology||Executive Producer|
|Final Fantasy Chronicles||Executive Producer|
|Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring||Supervisor|
|Vagrant Story||Executive Producer|
|Chocobo Racing||Executive Producer|
|Chocobo's Dungeon 2||Producer|
- The Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep character Master Eraqus, whose name is an anagram of "Square" (in the same way as the Disney character Master Yen Sid), is said to be designed after Hironobu Sakaguchi.
- Between all Final Fantasy games, Sakaguchi said that Final Fantasy IX is his favorite.
- Garland from the first Final Fantasy is Sakaguchi's favorite villain in the series.
- Sakaguchi makes a cameo appearance in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
- In March 2015 during the Game Developers Conference, a mock video presentation was shown about how the success of Final Fantasy prevented Sakaguchi from pursuing his real dreams of becoming a hip-hop artist.
- Due to his subsequent departure from Square during the development of Final Fantasy XII, Sakaguchi openly expressed disappointment to then head director of the twelfth installment and brainchild of the Ivalice Alliance subseries Yasumi Matsuno, who quit midway in its development amongst alleged concerns of health reasons. They later worked on the 2014 Mobile RPG series Terra Battle.