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bentllama
02-24-2005, 08:14 PM
Video Game Legend Hironobu Sakaguchi Joins Microsoft Game

Studios as a Developer for Next-Generation Xbox Platform

2005-02-24 16:00 (New York)



Father of 'Final Fantasy' Series and AIAS Hall of Fame Inductee Will Develop

Role-Playing Games





REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp.

(Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced that Hironobu Sakaguchi, video game legend and

president of Mistwalker game studio, has joined with Microsoft(R) Game Studios

to develop role-playing game (RPG) video games exclusively for the next-

generation Xbox(R) video game platform. Sakaguchi is best known as the creator

of the "Final Fantasy" franchise, which has sold more than 60 million units

worldwide, and was executive vice president in charge of game development at

Square Enix Co. Ltd. until February 2001.



(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )



Citing a shared vision with Microsoft for the next generation of video

games, Sakaguchi will lead the creation of two upcoming Xbox-exclusive RPG

titles to be published by Microsoft Game Studios.



"Sakaguchi-san has taken role-playing 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. "We are ecstatic to work with Sakaguchi-san and

celebrate what this news means not only for Xbox, but for gamers worldwide."



"I'm excited about the two epic game titles we will be developing,"

Sakaguchi said. "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.



"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," Sakaguchi said. "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."



Sakaguchi started his career at Square Co. Ltd. in 1986 as director of

planning and development. He was promoted to executive vice president in 1991

and eventually ascended to president of Square LA Inc. (now Square USA Inc.)

in 1995. In 2000, Sakaguchi was inducted into the coveted Academy of

Interactive Arts & Science (AIAS) Hall of Fame for his groundbreaking work on

the "Final Fantasy" series. In 2004, Sakaguchi announced that he had started

his own development studio, called Mistwalker.



Xbox is coming off a blockbuster year as the only video game console in

the United States to show year-to-year growth in 2004, while competitors

declined*. Driven by epic, platform-exclusive content -- including "Halo(R) 2"

by Microsoft Game Studios, "Fable" by Microsoft Game Studios, "Ninja Gaiden"

by Tecmo Ltd. and Xbox Live(TM), the only unified online video game console

service -- gamers worldwide continue to flock to Xbox for an unparalleled

digital entertainment experience.






________________________________________________________________



Microsoft Hires `Final Fantasy' Creator to Develop New Games

2005-02-24 16:00 (New York)





By Jonathan Thaw

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp., the No. 2 seller of

video-game consoles, hired the creator of the ``Final Fantasy''

series to develop games for the next version of its Xbox device.

Hironobu Sakaguchi, 42, will create two role-playing games

exclusively for the Xbox, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft

said in an e-mailed statement. Such games allow players to

control fictional characters that cooperate to advance a

storyline or complete a task in computer-generated environments.

Microsoft is working on the next version of Xbox and it

needs compelling games to avoid the failure of its first console

in Japan. Microsoft shipped 9,279 units of its Xbox in the six

months ended Sept. 26 in Japan, while Sony Corp. shipped 946,065

units of its PlayStation 2, according to Tokyo-based game market

researcher Enterbrain Inc.

``We think we've identified our issues'' in Japan, said

Peter Moore, corporate vice president of worldwide marketing and

publishing at Microsoft. The company has lacked role-playing

games that are popular with Japanese gamers, he said.

Shares of Microsoft rose 16 cents to $25.36 at 4 p.m. in

Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. They have fallen 5.7

percent in the past year.

More than 60 million copies of ``Final Fantasy'' games have

been sold since it first went on sale in December 1987. The game

is produced by Tokyo-based games maker Square Enix Co. and plays

on PlayStation.



Sakaguchi



Sakaguchi served as executive vice president at Square Enix

until February 2001, Microsoft said in the statement. In April

2004, he began planning game development at his own company,

Mistwalker Inc., which was founded in March 2001.

Sakaguchi started developing story lines and characters for

Microsoft's new games several months ago, Moore said. He declined

to say when the games will be released. The company hasn't set a

release date for the new Xbox. Some analysts have said they

expect it in time of the year-end holiday season.

Microsoft said in January that its Xbox division turned a

profit for the first time, spurred by the November release of the

video game ``Halo 2.'' The division, on which Microsoft spent $12

billion between 2000 and 2004, earned $84 million compared with a

loss of $397 million a year earlier.

Terms of Sakaguchi's employment agreement with Microsoft

weren't disclosed. He'll be based in Tokyo.



--With reporting by Desmond Hutton in Tokyo. Editor: McGuire.

-Vormav-
02-24-2005, 08:22 PM
Haha. I'd hate to see the reaction to this on any Final Fantasy message board. They have to either be forming a resistance, conducting mass suicides, or just cursing Microsoft to the tune of "omg lolz!111." (yes... I used to visit one such board... but that was a long time ago!)


Anyway, sounds like good news for the Xbox. It has definitely been needing some good RPGs. I'll be interested to see what comes out of this.

Neil
02-24-2005, 08:24 PM
Thanks for the definition of what "xbox" and "microsoft" are. Someone on here might have been living under a rock for the past several years.

So did Sakaguchi leave PS to join MS or was he already between work? I mean it's not like he couldn't do what he wanted on PS, and besides PS3 is coming out soon too. Xbox is powerful, but i have yet to see anything on it that is not possible on PS. I was under the impression that they enjoyed doing the FF games and it was their own choice to keep doing it and not start a new franchise. It's not like the gamers haven't been asking for a new RPG FF style series for awhile.

BTW, where is the source link?

Saurus
02-24-2005, 10:03 PM
Xbox is powerful, but i have yet to see anything on it that is not possible on PS.

There's a tons of stuff ps2 can't do that xbox does. We were comparing splinter cell side by side between ps2 and xbox and ps2 looked like doggie doodoo.

Apoclypse
02-24-2005, 10:12 PM
But what about the FF series? Will he stil be producing these or has severed all ties to Square Enix? If so thats very sad indeed but very good for Microsoft. However if you read the article its doesn't say that mistwalker is xbox exclusive just that they are making two games exclusively for the xbox anything after that could probably go in any platform.

Now if microsdft decides to use its heavy clout to buy up the start-up company like they did with bungie and countless other, now thats a different matter entirely.

erilaz
02-24-2005, 10:25 PM
People were upset when Squaresoft severed ties with nintendo back in the N64 days, but they got over it and many good games came out regardless. I'm sure the Final Fantasy franchise will not suffer too greatly from him moving on. I'm not sure if he's had all that much input in the most recent one.

eX-one
02-24-2005, 11:07 PM
IIRC, he left Square to start Mistwalker quite a while ago, I remember seeing the news blurbs. Had to be a year ago now I think.

edit:
found the news link over at Gamespot

FF creator working on new RPGs (http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/08/09/news_6104404.html)

posted either Aug 9th or Sept 8th 2004, guess I remembered wrong on the date

MickyG
02-24-2005, 11:13 PM
To save me from hours of tedious research, can anyone tell me if was even involved in any of the recent FF games? The source says he is the president of Mistwalker games, and only credits him as 'Creator' of the FF series, and not anything tangibly pointing towards any actual involvement.I know he used to be vice-president of Square, but how long ago did he break away?

The reason I ask is that all the FF fanboys crying in their forum might be a non-event, if Sakaguchi-san has been out of the picture for a while.

Apoclypse
02-24-2005, 11:21 PM
Weel in almost every FF game I've played he was always mentioned as the producer. So he must have had some input into the games themselves. He is THE primary reason why this franchise is, well, a franchise. Maybe it won't really be that big of a deal as there are quite some talnted people at Squeenix but I'm of the opinion that the creator of a something like FF for example shouldn't and couldn't just be replaced. But it will prbably still rock as a series anyways, it hasn't failed us yet ( though I think sakaguchi was last involved with FFX). But I think he left square after the horrible financial flop that was FF:TSW allowing sony to sweep in and buy a huge chunkof the company in the process.

PyRoT
02-25-2005, 12:36 AM
Id have liked it if Microsoft picked Troika of it's feet instead. FF RPg's are rubbish compared to Arcanum / fallout type games. At least IMO. Though..the storytelling of FF mixed with Fallout/arcanum style play and detail would have gone a long long way.

erilaz
02-25-2005, 01:04 AM
FF RPg's are rubbish compared to Arcanum / fallout type games.

Ooooooh.... you're treading a knife edge there buddy!:D But like you said, everyone has their own opinion!

bentllama
02-25-2005, 01:06 AM
Thanks for the definition of what "xbox" and "microsoft" are. Someone on here might have been living under a rock for the past several years.


cut and pasted verbatim from a newswire email...sorry...i will edit that :)

bentllama
02-25-2005, 01:09 AM
Xbox is powerful, but i have yet to see anything on it that is not possible on PS.

www.lenscrafters.com (http://www.lenscrafters.com)

slime
02-25-2005, 01:48 AM
I think Sakaguchi did a great job copying Dragon Quest into Final Fantasy I for Nintendo so many years ago. I also think the FF series will be better without him :) He is the mastermind of the +super crappy+ Final Fantasy movie story, don't forget that! :D

pogonip
02-25-2005, 02:57 AM
www.lenscrafters.com (http://www.lenscrafters.com/)

Ha ha 0wned ... :thumbsup: Wow the Next Gen is really shaping up for the X-Box 2 ( 360,next whatever ) ...but seems like 10 billion years until we will see/hear some official stuff . Im dying to see something !

TorbjornO
02-25-2005, 04:28 AM
He didn't write it. Apollo 13 writer penned it. It was just the overal concept was his. There were so many things done wrong with that movie, I doubt it failed because of its mere premise.

I love the Final Fantasy series, hope he helps bringing something great to the Xbox. It desperately needs a decent RPG in my opinion.

I think Sakaguchi did a great job copying Dragon Quest into Final Fantasy I for Nintendo so many years ago. I also think the FF series will be better without him :) He is the mastermind of the +super crappy+ Final Fantasy movie story, don't forget that! :D

heavyness
02-25-2005, 04:31 AM
SquareEnix will continue making good RPGs. a bunch of people left Blizzard some time ago but everyone loves WOW.

i guess this would be Microsoft's answer to the Xbox not doing as well in Japan as it did in the US. You best believe EVERY Japanese FFfan will buy his first game for the Xbox2 when it comes out. if its a hit, then it will open more people's eye in Japan. if it flops.... well we know what will happen.

i wonder if the game is far enough along that it could be a launch title for the Xbox2?

ambient-whisper
02-25-2005, 06:12 AM
You best believe EVERY Japanese FFfan will buy his first game for the Xbox2 when it comes out.

only if that monstrous box will be able to fit in their apartments.





jk.

Hazdaz
02-25-2005, 10:23 AM
Its funnAy.. I read the same story on Yahoo and I was rushing over here to post up the story on to CGTalk... but a ltitle too late.

Either way, I think this is a huge coup for MS - espesially in the Japanese market.

Balusilustalu
02-25-2005, 11:06 AM
There's a tons of stuff ps2 can't do that xbox does.

Yes, like damaging your back when trying to lift one. :)

kwshipman
02-25-2005, 04:39 PM
SquareEnix will continue making good RPGs. a bunch of people left Blizzard some time ago but everyone loves WOW.

Yep, WOW is still amazing, and those that left formed Arena.net (http://www.arena.net/news/index.html) and are making Guild Wars (http://www.guildwars.com/). So in the end, we have two great games. I am sure that if this something other than the FF games that we will still be treated to a great game, and the FF franchise will continue to go on strong.

The new Xbox's RPG lineup is already starting to pretty good. This and TES:IV, I am really looking foward to see what is yet to come.

mikecarry
02-25-2005, 07:45 PM
Xbox is powerful, but i have yet to see anything on it that is not possible on PS. ?

First off, he's making games for the Next Xbox, or Xbox 360 (whatever it's called) Not Xbox 1. And second, your comment suggests that you don't even own an Xbox.

CGmonkey
02-25-2005, 08:02 PM
www.lenscrafters.com (http://www.lenscrafters.com/)

Hahah beautiful! >_<

Neil
02-25-2005, 08:21 PM
haha, man, ok, someone mention the best looking xbox game.

then someone mention the best looking ps2 game.

let's compare screen shots then.

there is a difference between a game "made" for a system and a game "ported" over to the sytem. Ports are not the same quality as the originals.

First off, he's making games for the Next Xbox, or Xbox 360 (whatever it's called) Not Xbox 1. And second, your comment suggests that you don't even own an Xbox.

Yes... so xbox2 (or whatever the heck they finally end up calling it). And guess what, ps3 is coming out soon too. You act as if everyone else is sleeping and xbox is "breaking the mold" with xbox2. EVERYONE is releasing a new system, including Nintendo. Yes, I do own an xbox, or else I wouldn't be commenting.

Bah, I'm not gonna get sucked into this arguement. I'm done.

strick9
02-25-2005, 08:56 PM
In the conference it was stated that Mistwalker is doing script, art, and music, while Microsoft is developing the games. This is a 2 game exclusive deal. As far as I know his last Final Fantasy game where he was hands on was either 6 or 7 in the series. I believe it was seven then he primarily was involved with the spirits within.

KOKE
02-25-2005, 11:14 PM
Now this is good news to me.... I own a Xbox and im very pleased with it, the only thing I missed from my old PS were those Final Fantasy games.

I think that this can boost the sales of the future Xbox2 in Japan.

If Xbox was good, Xbox2 will rock!, I think Microsoft has learned quite a lot of things from this first Xbox, and will solve the problems (like size, weight, and the rest button) with this next gen console.

:thumbsup:

Kyan
02-26-2005, 02:04 AM
The last game Sakaguchi was hands-on with was FFIX.

To the person who thinks PS2 can do anything Xbox can...are you serious? I mean PS2 is entirely capable of producing delicious eye candy, games like Naughty Dog's Jak Series, Polyphony's Gran Turismo, and Insomniac's Ratchet & Clank series to name a few are exceptional beauties. Jak 3 is the best looking PS2 game I've played, it's also stellar in the gameplay deparment.

As good as the PS2 is the Xbox is simply more powerful and more capable of producing awesome eye candy. I'll recommend that you witness Dead or Alive 3 (or Ultimate), Ninja Gaiden (it's absolutely gorgeous), Panzer Dragoon Orta, and Halo 1 & 2 just to name a few that have outstanding visuals. If you want further proof just watch some trailers for upcoming games like Pariah, Jade Empire, Unreal Championship 2, Conker Live and Reloaded(this one in particular), or Doom 3.

Xbox is just more powerful. It's also about 15 months newer than PS2 so it makes sense, no?

Frank Lake
02-26-2005, 03:21 AM
FF RPg's are rubbish compared to Arcanum / fallout type games. At least IMO.
LOL!

Let's see 60 million IMO's vs. PyRot's IMO.

Owned. :p

Just to place that in better perspective that's 60 million copy's from a single title brand and not the console's genre.


ANYWAYS.

Getting Sakaguchi is a pretty big COUP for M$, because now they have a large pre-built fandom in Japan to work with. Until Sakaguchi makes another flop like FF9 that is. Hopefully they'll get his style without his baggage.

PyRoT
02-26-2005, 12:32 PM
LOL!

Let's see 60 million IMO's vs. PyRot's IMO.

Owned. :p

Just to place that in better perspective that's 60 million copy's from a single title brand and not the console's genre.


I wouldn't really see an appeal to popularity argument as getting 'owned'.

My problem with FF series is not the stories. The stories can be very good. My problem is the linear gameplay. Fallout was simply way more open-ended in terms of gameplay. I've tried both and the way you are limited in so many things just got me so bored in FF. There is basically one way to get through the whole game. I missed the ability to steal, persuade, kill anyone you want, various ways to solve some problems, special quests depending on your skills in certain areas etc.

Tomek

Boone
02-26-2005, 05:06 PM
Sounds quite a caper. Though I can't say I'd buy an X-Box2 just because he is developing for it... :hmm:

Frank Lake
02-26-2005, 05:25 PM
I wouldn't really see an appeal to popularity argument as getting 'owned'.

My problem with FF series is not the stories. The stories can be very good. My problem is the linear gameplay. Fallout was simply way more open-ended in terms of gameplay. I've tried both and the way you are limited in so many things just got me so bored in FF. There is basically one way to get through the whole game. I missed the ability to steal, persuade, kill anyone you want, various ways to solve some problems, special quests depending on your skills in certain areas etc.

Tomek
:rolleyes:

Then please tell the developers just how to build a game that doesn't force, in anyway, the player to complete the game. Because whether you like it or not the fact is nealy ALL games are linear(well except for maybe a certain space trader simulator), RPG's far more so then others. I wouldn't worry about it overly much because online gaming is truely gonna be 'mainstream' with the next gen of console systems and the demand for interactive will be so high development of games will revolve around whether they are online only/offline only/or a hybrid of both.

It's just a shame that computer games are so bland of late, except for a few MOD's.

Lyr
02-26-2005, 05:32 PM
Fable is pretty non linear. Best computer RPG I have played in a long time. You actually get to develop a character based on your choices instead of the pre-defined personalities you get in the FF series. Good luck trying Fable on the PS2, it already chokes on GTA: San Andreas.

Boone
02-26-2005, 05:40 PM
Re: Frank Lake.

Actually, I too find the FF series to be very linear as well - better efforts have been made. Seiken Densetsu 3 was a different game depending on which heros you chose for your party. Also, Balder's gate tried to make the game more indepth by using other skills to avoid battles.

I've been a firm follower of the FF series for a long time, but I feel its "same old" with each new installment...

DDS
02-27-2005, 01:06 AM
Well, Xbox2 will definately get more sales if they finish some Sakaguchi's titles before PS3 gets some other kick-ass RPG out there.

I'm a big fan of PSX/PS2 RPGs, and I think that FF isn't everything a RPG player wants, because you don't buy a PS2 to play during a month to a Final Fantasy title and then wait 3 years until the next one. Other RPG titles have become very interesting for Playstation, and I don't think Sakaguchi will take more than the 5% the RPG players from Sony to Microsoft.

Personally, while Nobuo Uematsu keeps making the Soundtracks for Final Fantasy and the next FF maker is decent...I don't mind if Sakaguchi's gone or not.

Anyways I suppose he's gotten a good replacement for him that will know how to make us have the same good times, so for the moment I will not cry a lot...

ambient-whisper
02-27-2005, 01:54 AM
Re: Frank Lake.

Actually, I too find the FF series to be very linear as well - better efforts have been made. Seiken Densetsu 3 was a different game depending on which heros you chose for your party. Also, Balder's gate tried to make the game more indepth by using other skills to avoid battles.

I've been a firm follower of the FF series for a long time, but I feel its "same old" with each new installment...

thats why they make other games, such as tactics, vagrant story, etc to fill in that gap somewhat.

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