NEWS - Thursday, February 24, 2005

Final Fantasy Creator To Work With MS

February 24, 2005—Microsoft Corporation today announced that Hironobu Sakaguchi, videogame legend and president of Mistwalker game studio, has joined with Microsoft® Game Studios to develop roleplaying games (RPG) exclusively for the next-generation Xbox® video game system. Sakaguchi is best known as the creator of the Final Fantasy franchise, which has sold more than 60-million units worldwide. He was the executive vice president in charge of game development at Square Enix Co., Ltd., until February 2001. Citing a shared vision with Microsoft for the next generation of video games, Sakaguchi will lead the creation of two upcoming Xbox-exclusive RPGs to be published by Microsoft Game Studios. “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. “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 system to show year-to-year growth in 2004, while competitors declined.* Driven by epic, platform-exclusive content—including Halo® 2 by Microsoft Game Studios, Fable™ by Microsoft Game Studios, Ninja Gaiden® by Tecmo Ltd., and Xbox Live™, the only unified online video game console service—gamers worldwide continue to flock to Xbox for an unparalleled digital entertainment experience.


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