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Hiroyuki Ito

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Hiroyuki Ito.

For another person with similar name, see: Hiroyuki Itou.

Hiroyuki Ito (伊藤 裕之, Itō Hiroyuki?), previously credited with the spelling Hiroyuki Itou, is a Japanese game producer, game director and game designer who has been working for Square Enix since 1987. Ito is known for directing Final Fantasy VI (1994), Final Fantasy IX (2000) and Final Fantasy XII (2006), and being the designer of Final Fantasy V (1992) and Final Fantasy Tactics (1997). He produced and directed Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System (2007).



The Final Fantasy III development team in 1989; Ito is at bottom left crouching next to Tetsuya Takahashi.

After graduating from Tokyo Zokei University, Hiroyuki Ito joined Square in 1987.[1] He participated in creating the turn-based battle system used in the first Final Fantasy, for which he took influence from the gameplay rules and strategies of the NFL, giving the battle system an interface where the opposing sides face each other on a 2D plane, rather than a first-person view like Dragon Quest. Ito has said he created the original Final Fantasy battle system with no experience of playing RPGs.[2] He later worked as a debugger for Final Fantasy II.[3] For Final Fantasy III, he was part of a small team that created the sound effects.[3]

Ito designed the Active Time Battle (ATB) system for Final Fantasy IV.[2][3] For Final Fantasy V, Ito further refined the ATB system and created the Ability Points (AP) system, Accessory system, and a customizable Job Change system.[2][4] Final Fantasy VI was the first game Ito directed, and he was also the game designer and battle system designer, and created the esper and relic systems.[5]

Ito served as game designer and battle system designer of Final Fantasy Tactics, where he created the Charge Time Battle (CTB) system and further refined the Job Change system.[2] Ito was the battle system designer of Final Fantasy VIII, where he created the Guardian Force (GF) system, Junction System and Triple Triad card game. He directed Final Fantasy IX and was also the game designer, creating the Active Time Event (ATE) system, Mognet, and Tetra Master card game. Ito also wrote the dialogue of the game's protagonist Zidane Tribal and made him flirtatious towards women.[6]

SQEX Party 2007

Square Enix Party 2007 Pre-Conference Meeting; Ito is at bottom left next to Toshiyuki Itahana.

At Square's business strategy meeting in January 2001, Final Fantasy XII was officially announced for the PlayStation 2. The game was stated to be in early stages of production with development being led by Yasumi Matsuno and Hiroyuki Ito.[7] In August 2005, Square Enix announced Matsuno had left the company but would act as a supervisor on Final Fantasy XII.[8] Ito remained as director, while Hiroshi Minagawa took Matsuno's place. For Final Fantasy XII Ito was mainly responsible for the game design, and created the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system, License Board, and gambits system.

At the Square Enix Party 2007 Pre-Conference Meeting in May 2007, Ito was introduced on stage as the producer and directer of the newly announced Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System.[9]

Ito provided the original concept and base story for Guardian Cross, which released in September 2012. The game has many cards featuring monsters from the Final Fantasy series.[10]

Game design

Final Fantasy VI battle

Active Time Battle (ATB) in Final Fantasy VI was designed by Ito. He also directed the game.

When working as the game designer Ito tries to balance the story and event scenes with the gameplay.[11] He believes it's important for the Final Fantasy series to keep the games fun to play, no matter how much technology keeps improving.[11] When he begins his work on a Final Fantasy game, he focuses on the gameplay and adapts this to the story as development progresses. Ito thinks it is his job to smoothly implement the gameplay so the people in charge of the story do not have to worry about this aspect.[2] Ito believes the most important factor of the Final Fantasy series is the player's feeling of accomplishment after beating the game.[12]

Professional sports is the primary inspiration behind Hiroyuki Ito's battle systems.[2] The monsters in Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V and the gambit system in Final Fantasy XII resemble aspects of the NFL in that their actions are based on the most likely outcome of a specific situation.[2][12] The Active Time Battle (ATB) system was inspired by Formula One, as Ito had the idea to give characters different speed values after seeing a race where the cars passed each other. These values would become the basis for the battle system and dictate a character's turn.[2][3] Ito was inspired to create the ATB system as he felt real time battles would become the standard in the future, but felt that too much of an action element would alienate users. The concept of the system was inspired by the the shift to semi-automatic transmission that was occurring in Formula One cars at the time.[2]

Ozmone plain

Active Dimension Battle (ADB) in Final Fantasy XII was designed by Ito. He hopes to evolve it in a future Final Fantasy game.

After the release of Final Fantasy XII, Hiroyuki Ito stated he felt the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system was still rough, much like the Active Time Battle (ATB) system he created for Final Fantasy IV. In the same way he evolved the ATB system in Final Fantasy V, he wishes to evolve the ADB system in a future Final Fantasy game. He added that the next iteration of ADB would both remove unnecessary features and add features that were previously lacking.[12] In September 2012, Hiroyuki Ito stated the optimum form of his battle systems has yet to come due to him being held back by hardware restrictions, such as available RAM and CPU power.[2]


Hiroyuki Ito wrote the lyrics for "Melodies of Life", the theme song for Final Fantasy IX. The song was composed by Nobuo Uematsu and performed in both Japanese and English by Emiko Shiratori.[13]

He has written the lyrics for some songs for the Final Fantasy V: Dear Friends[14] and Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks[15] albums. "Approaching Premonition" is a vocal track on Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks album featuring Nobuo Uematsu as the lead singer, and the entire Final Fantasy VI development staff as the background and chorus singers, including Ito. The lyrics were written by Hiroyuki Ito, and instruments are played by Nobuo Uematsu.


In July 2012, Tetsuya Nomura stated he considers Hiroyuki Ito one of his four "seniors" and an influence on his battle system planning.[16] In another interview published in March 2014, Nomura said that Ito taught him the basics of game design.[17]

In August 2012, Sohei Shinkawa, creator of the Disgaea series, stated the Job Change system Hiroyuki Ito created for Final Fantasy V inspired him to join the game industry.[18]

In a July 2013 interview, Shinji Hashimoto stated he considers Ito very talented and very in-depth. He added that Ito likes the depth of the gameplay side of Final Fantasy games and he likes go really deep with the creation of gameplay systems and mechanics.[19]

Works Within the Series

Game Release Work
Final Fantasy 1987 Battle System Design, Debugger (uncredited)
Final Fantasy II 1988 Debugger (uncredited)
Final Fantasy III 1990 Sound Effects (uncredited)
Final Fantasy IV 1991 Battle System Design
Final Fantasy V 1992 Game Design, Battle System Design
Final Fantasy VI 1994 Director, Game Design, Battle System Design
Final Fantasy VII 1997 Battle System Original Concept (uncredited)
Final Fantasy Tactics 1997 Game Design, Battle System Main Planner
Final Fantasy VIII 1999 Battle System Design, Triple Triad Concept, Chocobo World Game Design
Final Fantasy IX 2000 Director, Game Design, Battle System Director, Scenario Editor, Tetra Master Concept, "Melodies of Life" Lyricist
Final Fantasy XI 2002 Special Thanks
Final Fantasy XII 2006 Director, Game Design, Battle System Director
Final Fantasy V Advance 2006 Supervisor
Final Fantasy VI Advance 2006 Supervisor
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions 2007 Supervisor
Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System 2007 Producer, Director, Game Design, Battle System Director
Final Fantasy IV DS 2007 Battle System Supervisor
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy 2011 Special Thanks


  • Hiroyuki Ito's favorite Final Fantasy game is Final Fantasy VI, while his favorite characters are Locke Cole and Zidane Tribal.
  • Out of all the Final Fantasy battle systems he's created, Ito likes the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system the most.
  • Hiroyuki Ito created and wrote the humorous dialogue of the comic relief bosses Gilgamesh and Ultros and designed their battles in their respective debut games, Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI.
  • Hiroyuki Ito's special thanks credit in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy was given due to his input on Vaan's fighting style. Battle director for Dissidia 012, Takeo Kujiraoka, was unable to speak to Ito directly due to Ito working on another project, so he sent Ito a demo file of Vaan in an e-mail. Ito responded that he thought Vaan was great and that Kujiraoka had even given Vaan his favorite victory pose.
  • Hiroyuki Ito makes a cameo appearance as an enemy in the Developer's Room of Final Fantasy IV.

External links


  1. Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System Ultimania (in Japanese), 322–327, Square Enix.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy IX Ultimania (in Japanese), 578–582, Square Enix.
  11. 11.0 11.1
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2

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