Hiroyuki Ito (伊藤 裕之, Itō Hiroyuki?), also 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. He is known for being the director of Final Fantasy VI (1994), Final Fantasy IX (2000) and Final Fantasy XII (2006). He is also known for being the game designer of Final Fantasy V (1992) and Final Fantasy Tactics (1997).
Hiroyuki Ito is the inventor of various gameplay systems used in the Final Fantasy series. Notable examples of his work include the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, Ability Points (AP) system, Job Change system, Esper system, Relic system, Charge Time Battle (CTB) system, Guardian Force (GF) system, Junction system, Triple Triad card game, Active Time Event (ATE) system, Mognet, Tetra Master card game, Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system, License Board system and Gambit system.
After graduating from Tokyo Zokei University, Hiroyuki Ito joined Square Enix in 1987. He created the Turn-Based battle system used in the first Final Fantasy, which was influenced by the gameplay rules and strategies of the NFL. He later worked as a debugger for its sequel, Final Fantasy II. For development of Final Fantasy III, he was part of a small team that created the sound effects. His next major role was as the designer of the Active Time Battle (ATB) system for Final Fantasy IV. For Final Fantasy V, Ito further refined the ATB system and created a new Job Change system. He also created the 'Chicken Knife or Brave Blade' choosing event. Final Fantasy VI marked the first time that Ito became a director on a game. For this title, he was also the game designer and battle system designer. He later served as game designer and battle system designer of Final Fantasy Tactics, where he also created the Charge Time Battle (CTB) system and further refined the Job Change system. Ito was next the battle system designer of Final Fantasy VIII, where he created the Guardian Force (GF) system and Junction system. He once again took on the role of director with Final Fantasy IX. Ito stated the main aim of Final Fantasy IX was to return to roots of the Final Fantasy series and once again provide the player with a feeling of playing a game. Ito also wrote the dialogue of game's protagonist Zidane Tribal and made him flirtatious towards women.
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. In August 2005, Square Enix announced that Matsuno had left the company due to an illness but would be acting as a supervisor on Final Fantasy XII. In a statement, Matsuno apologized for the long development time of the game but guaranteed players that it was "progressing in its development under the hands of excellent staffs". Ito created the seamless Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system of Final Fantasy XII with the aim of getting rid of Random Battles and allowing players to fight while exploring. He created the License Board with the intention to giving players complete freedom to develop characters the way they want to. At the Square Enix Party 2007 pre-conference meeting in May 2007, he was introduced on stage as the producer and director of the newly announced Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System. According to Ito, the Zodiac Job System was a feature that was actually in the original Final Fantasy XII, but it was removed due Ito believing that including it alongside the Gambit system would make the game too complicated for players. In an interview published in October 2007, Ito stated that he considered the game design and battle system of Final Fantasy XII a "definitive contribution to the gaming lexicon" and that it had "the potential to shine in future games".
When working as the game designer of a Final Fantasy game, Ito tries to balance the story and event scenes with the gameplay. He also believes that the most important element of Final Fantasy is keeping the games fun to play, no matter how much the technology in the games industry improves. When he begins his work on a Final Fantasy game, he does not pay attention to the story but rather focuses on the gameplay and adapts this to the story as closely as possible as development progresses. He thinks that 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. He also believes that the most important factor of the Final Fantasy series is the player's feeling of accomplishment after beating the game and seeing "The End" on the screen.
Hiroyuki Ito has stated that he feels the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system he created for Final Fantasy XII was still very rough, like the Active Time Battle (ATB) system he created for Final Fantasy IV. He states that he evolved the ATB system in Final Fantasy V and it's only in that game where it matured. Similarly, he wishes to evolve the ADB system in a future Final Fantasy game. He added that the next iteration of ADB would both remove features that weren't needed and add features that were lacking.
Professional sports are the primary inspiration behind Hiroyuki Ito's battle systems. 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. The Active Time Battle (ATB) system was similarly inspired by Formula One, as Ito had the idea to give characters different speed values after seeing a race in which the cars passed each other. These values would then become the basis for the battle system and dictate when it will be a character's turn. Ito was also inspired to create the ATB system as he felt that battles in real time would become the standard in the future. When creating the ATB system, he made it thinking how he can get closer to real-time. At the same time, he felt that if he put too much of an action element in the game, it would alienate users. As a result, the actual concept of the system was inspired by the the shift to semi-automatic transmission that was occurring in Formula One cars at the time.
According to Metacritic, Hiroyuki Ito has directed the most critically acclaimed Final Fantasy game released as of present date. Final Fantasy IX is the most critically acclaimed Final Fantasy game on the website. It is also the favorite Final Fantasy game of series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and series composer Nobuo Uematsu.
Final Fantasy XII is the first game in the series to get a perfect score from Famitsu Weekly magazine. At the Japan Game Awards 2006 held on 22 September 2006, Ito accepted the "Grand Award" and "Award for Excellence" for Final Fantasy XII. He thanked the development team, longtime fans and new players alike and said that the team was grateful for the awards as they could not possibly think about the game's reception during its creation. His comment at the ceremony was: "I did my best to bring new and innovative elements to this work. I'm very happy that something like this, which was one of the more challenging games to create in the Final Fantasy series, has received this award. To return the favor to the users who've played this game and who regard it so highly, I'm determined to continue creating by always reminding myself of the need to rise to new challenges."
In July 2012, Tetsuya Nomura stated that he considers Hiroyuki Ito one of his four "seniors" and an influence on his battle system planning. Out of the four people Nomura mentioned, only Hiroyuki Ito and Yoshinori Kitase remain at Square Enix.
Works within the Series
|Final Fantasy I||Battle System Designer (uncredited)|
|Final Fantasy II||Debugger (uncredited)|
|Final Fantasy III||Sound Effects (uncredited)|
|Final Fantasy IV||Battle System Designer|
|Final Fantasy V||Game Designer, Battle System Designer|
|Final Fantasy VI||Director, Game Designer, Battle System Designer|
|Final Fantasy Tactics||Game Designer, Battle System Main Planner|
|Final Fantasy VIII||Battle System Designer, Triple Triad Concept, Chocobo World Game Designer|
|Final Fantasy IX||Director, Game Designer, Battle System Director, Scenario Editor, Tetra Master Concept, "Melodies of Life" Lyricist|
|Final Fantasy XI||Special Thanks|
|Final Fantasy XII||Director, Game Designer, Battle System Director|
|Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions||Supervisor, Game Designer, Battle System Main Planner|
|Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System||Producer, Director, Game Designer, Battle System Director|
|Final Fantasy IV DS||Battle System Supervisor|
|Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy||Special Thanks|
- Apart from Final Fantasy VII, Hiroyuki Ito has been involved in every mainline entry from the first Final Fantasy through to Final Fantasy IX. He also worked on Final Fantasy Tactics during this time.
- Hiroyuki Ito has directed every last mainline Final Fantasy released in a console generation since the SNES. He directed Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy IX, and Final Fantasy XII.
- Hiroyuki Ito makes a cameo appearance as an enemy in Final Fantasy IV. "He" can be found in the Developer's Room.
- 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. As a result, Kujiraoka 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.
- Ito has written the lyrics for some songs for the Final Fantasy V: Dear Friends and Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks 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 composed by Hiroyuki Ito, and all instruments are played by Nobuo Uematsu.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System Ultimania (in Japanese), 322–327, Square Enix.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 http://www.1up.com/features/final-fantasy-hiroyuki-ito-science
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy IX Ultimania (in Japanese), 578–582, Square Enix.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 http://www.rpgamer.com/news/Q1-2000/032200d.html
- ↑ (March 2013) The Making Of... Final Fantasy VI, 124–127, Future Publishing.
- ↑ http://www.rpgamer.com/news/Q1-2000/032400b.html
- ↑ http://uk.gamespot.com/news/2676896/square-talks-nintendo-announces-ffxii-for-the-ps2
- ↑ http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6130121/ffxii-producer-steps-down
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYIzjBbO2FQ
- ↑ http://uk.gamespot.com/news/qanda-final-fantasy-xii-producer-akitoshi-kawazu-6160463
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/news/square-enix-2007-conference-report
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/news/square-enix-talks
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 http://psx.ign.com/articles/085/085276p1.html
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/features/final-fantasy-iv-creator-conversation?pager.offset=2
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/search/all/Final+Fantasy/results?sort=score
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation/final-fantasy-ix
- ↑ http://uk.psx.ign.com/articles/077/077571p1.html
- ↑ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/i_nobuouematsu_feb2005
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/news/xii-scores-perfect-famitsu
- ↑ http://awards.cesa.or.jp/2006/ceremony/02.html
- ↑ http://awards.cesa.or.jp/2006/english/prizelist/2005-2006/index.html
- ↑ http://www.nintendo.co.uk/Iwata-Asks/Iwata-Asks-Nintendo-3DS-Third-Party-Game-Developers/Vol-11-KINGDOM-HEARTS-3D-Dream-Drop-Distance-/3-Square-s-Intentions/3-Square-s-Intentions-206536.html
- ↑ http://vgmdb.net/album/108
- ↑ http://vgmdb.net/album/5424