There are a lot of well known names in the gaming industry. Most gamers instantly recognize the names of Hideo Kojima, Shigeru Miyamoto, David Jaffe, Will Wright, Peter Molyneux…but one name that gets overlooked is the name of Hironobu Sakaguchi. Despite a long and prestigious career, Sakaguchi isn't as outspoken or as instantly recognizable as some of the previously mentioned developers. However, that oversight appears as if it is about to change, considering his upcoming titles and new game studio.
Hironobu Sakaguchi is the name behind a ton of the best RPGs ever made. As one of the founders of Square, he is partially responsible for the company that is synonymous with the genre. The hit series Final Fantasy was named such because Sakaguchi's previous titles hadn't been successful and the game was going to be considered his "Final" attempt. Fortunately for him and the gaming world at large, the game proved successful, launching a series that would bring role-playing games to the mainstream and pave the way for other successful and high-profile RPGs, such as Dark Cloud, Valkyrie Profile, and Blue Dragon. He is also considered to be the "father" of the Final Fantasy games, a series that has gone on to sell of 75 million copies.
Sakaguchi has had a long and prestigious career in gaming, with a titles that boast over 80 million unit sold worldwide. Some games that he has been involved with include notable titles such as Kingdom Hearts, Super Mario RPG, Xenogears, Parasite Eve, Vagrant Story, and Chrono Trigger, the latter of which he appeared as a character in the game's secret ending. One of Sakaguchi's earliest gaming credits comes in the form of the popular Nintendo game, Rad Racer. Sakaguchi has also served in the production of almost every Final Fantasy title to date, sometimes as producer, sometimes as director. In 2000, Sakaguchi was also inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame, with the prestige of being the third person to achieve the honor, which is reserved for those that make enduring and groundbreaking contributions to interactive entertainment.
Due to his desire to explore the story telling elements in film and create a relationship with interactivity in games, Sakaguchi took on the directorial role in the film adaptation of his most popular series with Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. While the film received decent reviews from critics, it was a financial bomb, losing $120 million and subsequently closing Square Pictures, the studio devoted to creating movies. Many believe that this financial disaster is what led to Square's merger with rival Enix as well as Sakaguchi's departure from the company.
Sakaguchi eventually formed his own company, entitled Mistwalker, to develop games. Two of the biggest titles currently being developed by Mistwalker presently are Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, two highly anticipated Xbox 360 exclusives. Blue Dragon is a collaboration between Hironobu Sakaguchi, Akira Toriyama, and Nobuo Uematsu, the trio that is respectively the producer, character designer, and composer. This team effort has many fans understandably excited, considering that this trio was responsible for crafting the excellent and still beloved Chrono Trigger for the SNES, a game that usually places in the top ten on most "Greatest Games of All Times" lists.
Blue Dragon, which is set for a North American release on August 28th, 2007, is already a runaway hit in Japan, where it has become the fastest selling Xbox 360 game in that region, known for its otherwise icy reception to Microsoft's console. When bundled with the Xbox 360, Blue Dragon helped to sell units and quickly sold out. The game has gone on to surpass 100, 000 units sold and Sakaguchi expects it to sell over 200,000, which may be attainable considering it hasn't even released in the North American market yet.
Lost Odyssey, another game in production by Sakaguchi's Mistwalker, is a highly anticipated RPG featuring an immortal protagonist seeking death. The game has already been praised for its incredible visuals as well as the anticipation created by the game's pedigree. Mistwalker is also working on Cry On for the Xbox 360 and ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat for the Nintendo DS.
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