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Sakaguchi And Xbox, Odd Couple



Microsoft announced that Hironobu Sakaguchi, father of the Final Fantasy series and now president of Mistwalker studios, has joined with Microsoft Game Studios to develop two exclusive RPGs for the next Xbox video game system. In this deal, Sakaguchi will lead the creation of the two upcoming RPGs, which will be published by Microsoft.

“Sakaguchi-san has taken roleplaying games—traditionally a niche market—and introduced them to a broad and diverse audience across the globe,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing at Microsoft. Moore also noted that "[Microsoft is] ecstatic to work with Sakaguchi-san and celebrate what this news means, not only for Xbox, but for gamers worldwide.”

Hironobu Sakaguchi stated, “I’m excited about the two epic game titles we will be developing...A number of talented creators have signed on to help develop these games, and I’m confident we will be able to create games that provide gamers with a new kind of thrill." He went on to add, “Microsoft’s cutting-edge technologies in the next-generation platform will allow me to bring to life an array of ideas that I have had for many years." Finally, Sakaguchi finished by saying "I want these games to be alive with a new vision for gaming and vividly depict new characters that will transcend the game, find a place in the hearts of gamers, and make time spent with my games a fond and long-lasting memory.”

Details of these upcoming Xbox games have not been discussed. Continue to look at RPGamer for more coverage concerning this news.

Update: 02.24.2005

Following today's announcement that Hironobu Sakaguchi would be working with Microsoft Game Studios to develop two RPGs for the next generation of Xbox consoles, Microsoft Worldwide Vice President of Marketing and Publishing for Xbox, Peter Moore, shared his thoughts on Sakaguchi's newfound relationship with the company. "This is the result of 10 months of negotiations back and forth between myself and Sakaguchi. We met in Japan, we met here, and we even met up in Maui while I was there on vacation last year. We've spent a lot of time discussing exactly what we feel next generation gaming should be."

Subsequently, he proceeded to discuss Mistwalker and Microsoft's relationship: "Sakaguchi's relationship with us is for the duration of these two titles, and while he isn't an employee of Microsoft Game Studios Japan, our arrangement with him is exclusive for the next generation platforms..."

Moore then went on to explain how Sakaguchi would be involved in these projects: "His role extends beyond working on the games -- he's also helping us with the positioning of the new platform in the Japanese market, and making sure that we're adequately resourced to deliver on everything we need in that market. Sakaguchi is helping guide us to build content that's relevant to the cultural lifestyle of Japanese gamers. None of our previous games in the territory have had impact, and we've not enjoyed as much success as we would like in bringing Western games into Japan. Although the games have been good, they've not had the impact we need."

Regarding actual game details, Moore was tight-lipped. "It's not determined yet when exactly the games will be released. We're just getting into the early stages of the code and getting the gameplay mechanics pinned down, but we have worked on these titles for a number of months already. It's premature to really start talking about dates."

Moore's explanation pertaining to the online capabilities of these two games was equally vague. "The games will have a Live element, but that's not to say they'll have any multiplayer features. They'll be Live Aware, as will all next generation Xbox games, but the decisions about multiplayer gameplay just don't need to be made yet. What's most important is that we won't force any gameplay ideas. The games will be what they need to be."

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