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Revision as of 00:44, November 15, 2013

Itou

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).

Hiroyuki Ito is the inventor of various gameplay systems used in the Final Fantasy series. Examples of his work include the Active Time Battle (ATB) system; Ability Points (AP) system; Accessory system; Job Change system in Final Fantasy V; esper and relic systems in Final Fantasy VI; Guardian Force (GF) system, Junction system, and Triple Triad card game in Final Fantasy VIII; Active Time Event (ATE) system, Mognet, and Tetra Master card game in Final Fantasy IX; Charge Time Battle (CTB) system in Final Fantasy Tactics; and Active Dimension Battle (ADB), License Board, and gambits systems in Final Fantasy XII.

Biography

FF3

A photo of the Final Fantasy III development team taken in 1989. Hiroyuki Ito can be seen 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, for which he took influence from the gameplay rules and strategies of the NFL. The NFL influence resulted in him giving the 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. 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 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] and for Final Fantasy V, Ito further refined the ATB system and created a new, customizable Job Change system.[2][4] He also created the 'Chicken Knife or Brave Blade' choosing event.[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]

He 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] and stated the main aim of Final Fantasy IX was to return to roots of the Final Fantasy series and provide the player with a feeling of playing a game. Ito 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. In an accompanying statement, Matsuno apologized for the long development time but guaranteed players the game was "progressing in its development under the hands of excellent staff".[8] Ito created the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system with the aim of abolishing random battles and allowing players to fight while exploring.[9] He created the License Board with the intention to give players freedom to develop characters the way they want to.[10]

SQEX Party 2007

A photo taken after the Square Enix Party 2007 Pre-Conference Meeting. Hiroyuki Ito can be seen 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.[11] According to Ito, the Zodiac Job System was a feature planned for the original Final Fantasy XII, but it was removed due to Ito believing including it alongside the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) and gambits systems would make the overall gameplay too complicated for players.[1] In an interview published in October 2007, Ito stated 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".[12]

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] In July 2013, Shinji Hashimoto stated Hiroyuki Ito was currently planning and doing proposals for a new project. He added Ito was going in-depth with the gameplay systems and mechanics, meaning development would take some time.[13]

Game design

Final Fantasy VI battle

Not only was Hiroyuki Ito the game designer and battle system designer of Final Fantasy VI, it was also his directorial debut.

When working as the game designer of a Final Fantasy game, Ito tries to balance the story and event scenes with the gameplay.[14] He believes the most important element of Final Fantasy is keeping the games fun to play.[14] When he begins his work on a Final Fantasy game, he does not pay attention to the story but focuses on the gameplay and adapts this to the story as closely as possible 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] He 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.[9]

Professional sports are 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][9] 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][15] Ito was inspired to create the ATB system as he felt 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 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

Hiroyuki Ito believes the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system is still rough but Ito 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, but the system was evolved in Final Fantasy V. 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 unnecessary features and add features that were previously lacking.[9]

In September 2012, Hiroyuki Ito stated the optimum form of his battle systems has yet to come as he has been held back by hardware restrictions, such as RAM and CPU power, but added hardware is getting closer to the optimum level where he could do what he wanted with a battle system.[2]

Lyricist

Melodies

Japanese cover for the single "Melodies of Life".

Hiroyuki Ito wrote the lyrics for "Melodies of Life", the theme song of Final Fantasy IX. The song was composed by Nobuo Uematsu and performed in both Japanese and English by Emiko Shiratori.[16]

He has written the lyrics for some songs for the Final Fantasy V: Dear Friends[17] and Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks[18] 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 all instruments are played by Nobuo Uematsu.

Impact

According to Metacritic, Hiroyuki Ito has directed the most critically acclaimed Final Fantasy game: Final Fantasy IX.[19][20] It is also the favorite Final Fantasy game of series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi.[21]

PS Awards 2006

Hiroyuki Ito holding the "Double Platinum Prize" with Hiroshi Minagawa and Hitoshi Sakimoto.

Final Fantasy XII is the first game in the series to get a perfect score from Famitsu Weekly magazine.[22] It was also named best PlayStation 2 game by numerous video game publications and websites, including GameSpot, GameSpy, and IGN.[23][24][25] Both Edge and Famitsu awarded it Game of the Year 2006.[26][27] At the PlayStation Awards 2006, held on 25 July 2006, it was awarded the "Double Platinum Prize".[28]

CESA FF12 02

Upon receiving the "Grand Award", Hiroyuki Ito took a photo alongside Hiroaki Kato, the game's Project Manager.

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 the team was grateful for the awards as they could not possibly think about the game's reception during its creation.[29] Ito also provided the following statement on the official website:

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
—Hiroyuki Ito's statement on the Japan Game Awards 2006 official website.[30]

In July 2012, 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.[31] 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.[32] In July 2013, Shinji Hashimoto stated he considers Ito as talented and in-depth. He added that Ito likes the depth of the gameplay side of things and likes to go deep with the creation of gameplay systems and mechanics.[13]

Works

Game Release Work
Rad Racer 1987 Debugger (uncredited)
Final Fantasy 1987 Battle System Designer, Debugger (uncredited)
Final Fantasy II 1988 Debugger (uncredited)
Square's Tom Sawyer 1989 Planning
The Final Fantasy Legend 1989 Scenario
Final Fantasy III 1990 Sound Effects (uncredited)
Rad Racer II 1990 Game Designer
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
Chrono Trigger 1995 Event Planner
Super Mario RPG 1996 Special Thanks
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
Itadaki Street Special 2004 Cooperation
Final Fantasy XII 2006 Director, Game Designer, Battle System Director
Itadaki Street Portable 2006 Special Thanks
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
Crawlian 2009 Producer
Gyromancer 2009 Special Thanks
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy 2011 Special Thanks
Guardian Cross 2012 Original Concept

Video interview

Development of Final Fantasy XII


Trivia

  • Hiroyuki Ito has had some level of involvement or influence on 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'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

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System Ultimania (in Japanese), 322–327, Square Enix.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 http://www.1up.com/features/final-fantasy-hiroyuki-ito-science
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy IX Ultimania (in Japanese), 578–582, Square Enix.
  4. 4.0 4.1 http://www.rpgamer.com/news/Q1-2000/032200d.html
  5. http://www.edge-online.com/features/the-making-of-final-fantasy-vi/
  6. http://www.rpgamer.com/news/Q1-2000/032400b.html
  7. http://uk.gamespot.com/news/2676896/square-talks-nintendo-announces-ffxii-for-the-ps2
  8. http://uk.gamespot.com/news/qanda-final-fantasy-xii-producer-akitoshi-kawazu-6160463
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYIzjBbO2FQ
  10. http://uk.gamespot.com/news/qanda-final-fantasy-xii-producer-akitoshi-kawazu-6160463
  11. http://www.1up.com/news/square-enix-2007-conference-report
  12. http://www.1up.com/news/square-enix-talks
  13. 13.0 13.1 http://www.rpgsite.net/interviews/457-talking-talent-western-development-&-sequels-with-final-fantasy-producer-shinji-hashimoto
  14. 14.0 14.1 http://psx.ign.com/articles/085/085276p1.html
  15. http://www.1up.com/features/final-fantasy-iv-creator-conversation?pager.offset=2
  16. http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/ff9ost/index.html
  17. http://vgmdb.net/album/108
  18. http://vgmdb.net/album/5424
  19. http://www.metacritic.com/search/all/Final+Fantasy/results?sort=score
  20. http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation/final-fantasy-ix
  21. http://uk.psx.ign.com/articles/077/077571p1.html
  22. http://www.1up.com/news/xii-scores-perfect-famitsu
  23. http://www.gamespot.com/special_features/bestof2006/platform/index.html?page=6
  24. http://bestof.ign.com/2006/ps2/39.html
  25. http://goty.gamespy.com/2006/ps2/index11.html
  26. http://web.archive.org/web/20070126114821/http://www.edge-online.co.uk/archives/2006/12/final_fantasy_x.php
  27. http://www.famitsu.com/game/news/2007/04/20/103,1177037473,70570,0,0.html
  28. http://www.jp.playstation.com/info/release/nr_20060725_awards.html
  29. http://awards.cesa.or.jp/2006/ceremony/02.html
  30. http://awards.cesa.or.jp/2006/english/prizelist/2005-2006/index.html
  31. 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
  32. http://dengekionline.com/elem/000/000/508/508560/

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