Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi will be revealing a new game next Wednesday at Japan Expo in Paris. The legendary game designer is scheduled for a lecture on his career, his “visions for the future of video games,” and most importantly, his next game.
Sakaguchi famously left the halls of Square after his Hollywood bomb Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within sank the soaring company. Shortly afterwards, he founded his own studio called Mistwalker and scored a high-profile exclusivity deal with Microsoft that would see his games made for the Xbox 360. Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon were well received with fans, but they didn’t quite pan out as either company dreamed.
His last major game was The Last Story, a Wii exclusive which channeled old-fashioned story themes and tropes with a new streamlined combat approach. It also was not quite the hit he was looking for, and the game had some localization issues here in America that unfortunately pushed it under the rug.
Since then, Sakaguchi has been relatively quiet, releasing only a small iOS and Android game called Party Wave, indicative of his love for surfing.
It’s been two years since we’ve seen anything from one of gaming’s most important figures. Outside of Mario and Legend of Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto, there is nobody else out there who can lay a bigger claim to popularizing Japanese video games around the world. Final Fantasy is one of the most influential and important video gaming franchises in history, and although it has fallen on some tough times in recent years, Square Enix seems genuinely interested in returning it to its former glory.
That is beyond Sakaguchi though, who is now working on something original and hopefully great. Will it be a small iOS game or will he be returning to the HD console scene? I sincerely hope its the latter. We need figures like Sakaguchi to reinvigorate the Japanese console scene.