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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. He is known for being the director of Final Fantasy VI (1994), Final Fantasy IX (2000) and Final Fantasy XII (2006), and for being the game designer of Final Fantasy V (1992) and Final Fantasy Tactics (1997).


The Final Fantasy III development in 1989. Hiroyuki Ito is in the bottom left.

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.[2] He later worked as a debugger for Final Fantasy II.[3] For Final Fantasy III Ito 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 a new, customizable Job Change system.[2][4] Final Fantasy VI marked the first time Ito became a director on a game. For this title, he was also the game designer and battle system designer.[5]

Ito later 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) and Junction systems. He once again took on the role of director with Final Fantasy IX.[3] He has stated the main aim of Final Fantasy IX was to return to roots of the Final Fantasy series. Ito also wrote the dialogue of game's protagonist Zidane Tribal and made him flirtatious towards women.[6]

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 due to an illness but would still be acting as a supervisor on Final Fantasy XII.[8] Ito remained as director, while Hiroshi Minagawa took Matsuno's place.

SQEX Party 2007
A photo taken after the Square Enix Party 2007 Pre-Conference Meeting. Hiroyuki Ito is in the bottom left.

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

In September 2012, Hiroyuki Ito said he would work on another Final Fantasy game if Yoichi Wada, the company president at the time, asked him to.[2]

Game Design

When working as the game designer of a Final Fantasy game, Ito tries to balance the story and event scenes with the gameplay.[10] He believes the most important element of Final Fantasy is keeping the games fun to play.[10] He also believes 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.[11]

Ito has said that he created the original Final Fantasy battle system with no prior experience of playing RPGs.[2] Despite this, Ito nonetheless has been very influential on the video game RPG battle system over all with creativity and thoughtfulness, having invented a vast majority of the series features and applications, with a notable influence from various rules and strategies of professional sports, which he has long enjoyed as a spectator hobby.

The strategies and formation setups of American Football resulted in him giving the turn based battle system an interface, where the two opposing sides face each other on a 2D plane, rather than using a first-person view like Dragon Quest, allowing them to face off with the strategies and courses of action with the flow and presentation shown with dramatic effect and a full overview of the battle. Later on, the Active Time Battle was inspired by Formula One Racing, where the character's stats hence influence their speed to "race" to another turn, instead of another place on the finish line, allowing the pace of battle to be slowed for ease to think and comprehend, and a good challenge for players, with the recharge mechanic of every turn taken to get them to strategize and choose wisely of what course of action to take in battle.

In Final Fantasy V, Ito would come to create the series' first Job Class system, allowing players to chose specific job roles with their own unique attributes and skills, and through their mastery, come to obtain their expertise for a versatile lexicon of abilities as they progress through the various jobs. He would then later refine this system in Final Fantasy Tactics.

In Final Fantasy XII, Ito created the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system with the aim of abolishing random battles and allowing players to fight while exploring.[11] He also created its License Board system to give players freedom to develop characters the way they want to.[12]

After the release of Final Fantasy XII, Hiroyuki Ito stated he felt the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system was still rough. He hopes to evolve the ADB system in a future Final Fantasy game.[11]


Hiroyuki Ito wrote the lyrics for "Melodies of Life", the theme song of Final Fantasy IX.[13] He has also written the lyrics for some songs for Final Fantasy V: Dear Friends and Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks albums.[14][15]


CESA FF12 02
Hiroyuki Ito holding the "Grand Award" for Final Fantasy XII at the Japan Game Awards 2006.

According to Metacritic, Final Fantasy IX is the most critically acclaimed Final Fantasy game.[16][17] It is also the favorite Final Fantasy game of series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi.[18] Final Fantasy XII is the first game in the series to get a perfect score from Famitsu Weekly.[19] Edge Magazine awarded it Game of the Year 2006, making it the first and only Final Fantasy game to win the Game of the Year award from the highly regarded magazine since its inception in 1993.[20]

Tetsuya Nomura, director of Final Fantasy XV, stated he considers Hiroyuki Ito one of his four "seniors" and an influence on his battle system planning.[21]

Works Within the Series

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


  • 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 and 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
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy IX Ultimania (in Japanese), 578–582, Square Enix.
  10. 10.0 10.1
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2
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