Final Fantasy creator announces new studio

Hironobu Sakaguichi creates independent studio, looks to next-gen development.

The man described as the "father of Final Fantasy," Hironobu Sakaguichi, has founded his own independent development company, which is working on a new console role-playing game and is considering next-generation development.

Called Mist Walker, the studio has apparently been running in some form since mid-2001, and Sakaguichi hopes to attract significant talent to work on its projects - naming famous artist and Final Fantasy character designer Yoshitaka Amano and hugely popular manga artist Takehiko Inoue as possible future collaborators in an interview with Famitsu Weekly.

Sakaguichi was series director on the Final Fantasy series from the outset and climbed high in the Squaresoft (now Square Enix) management structure before accepting a demotion after the company made major losses on movie project Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

Although he continued to be credited as executive producer on Final Fantasy games including Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XI, it's thought that his actual involvement was minimal - and on Final Fantasy X-2, he is not credited at all, the first Final Fantasy game not to include his name in the credit roll.

It's not clear whether Sakaguichi has left Square Enix to work at Mist Walker, or if Mist Walker is a spin-off of Square Enix - perhaps similar to Capcom's Clover Studio initiative. Further information about the studio should be forthcoming in the near future, when its Japanese website is launched.

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