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Hiroyuki Ito.

For another person with similar name, see: Hiroyuki Itou.

Hiroyuki Ito (伊藤 裕之, Itō Hiroyuki?), previously credited with the spelling Hiroyuki Itou and has gone under the alias Ciomi or Shiomi (シオミ, Shiomi?), is a Japanese game producer, game director and game designer who has been working for Square Enix since 1987. Ito is known for directing and designing Final Fantasy VI (1994), Final Fantasy IX (2000) and Final Fantasy XII (2006). He also designed Final Fantasy V (1992) and Final Fantasy Tactics (1997). He produced, directed, and designed Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System (2007). He is the only remaining Square employee involved in every mainline title from Final Fantasy (1987) through to Final Fantasy IX (2000).


The Final Fantasy III development team in 1989; Ito is at bottom left crouching next to Tetsuya Takahashi.

After graduating from Tokyo Zokei University, Hiroyuki Ito joined Square in 1987.[1] He participated in creating the turn-based battle system used in the first Final Fantasy, for which he took influence from the gameplay rules and strategies of the NFL, giving the battle system an interface where the opposing sides face each other on a 2D plane, rather than a first-person view like Dragon Quest. Ito has said he created the original Final Fantasy battle system with no experience of playing RPGs, instead drawing from his knowledge of the game rules used in professional sports.[2] He later worked as a debugger for Final Fantasy II.[3] For Final Fantasy III, he worked as a debugger on the battle system and Job System. He was also part of a small team that created the game's sound effects.[3]

Ito designed the Active Time Battle (ATB) system for Final Fantasy IV.[2][3] For Final Fantasy V, Ito further refined the ATB system by adding an ATB gauge. He also created the Ability Points (AP) system, accessory system, and a new, customizable job change system.[2][4] Final Fantasy VI was the first game Ito directed, and he was also the game designer and battle system designer. He created the esper and relic systems and contributed ideas for the game's story and the individual character arcs.[5]

Ito served as game designer and battle system designer for Final Fantasy Tactics, where he created the Charge Time Battle (CTB) system and a new refined job change system.[2] Ito was the battle system designer of Final Fantasy VIII, where he created the Guardian Force (GF) system and Junction system. However, midway through development he was brought over to Hawaii by Hironobu Sakaguchi to direct Final Fantasy IX. Takatsugu Nakazawa replaced Ito for Final Fantasy VIII and added the draw system.[6][7]

Ito was the director and game designer of Final Fantasy IX. He creating the Active Time Event (ATE) system and Mognet, and participated in writing the scenario and wrote the dialogue of the game's protagonist Zidane Tribal, making him flirtatious towards women.[3][8]

Square Enix Party 2007 Pre-Conference Meeting; Ito is at bottom left next to Toshiyuki Itahana.

Ito returned to Tokyo and began development on Final Fantasy XII in December 2000. At Square's business strategy meeting in January 2001, the game was officially announced for the PlayStation 2. It was stated to be in early stages of production with direction being shared by Yasumi Matsuno and Hiroyuki Ito.[9] In August 2005, Square Enix announced Matsuno had left the company but would act as a supervisor on Final Fantasy XII.[10] Ito remained as director, while Hiroshi Minagawa took over Matsuno's position. Ito was mainly responsible for the game design, and created the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system, License Board, and gambits system.

At the Square Enix Party 2007 Pre-Conference Meeting in May 2007, Ito was introduced on stage as the producer and directer of the newly announced Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System.[11]

While he did not direct Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (2017), an HD remaster for PlayStation 4, he is still overseeing its development as younger staff work on the battle design. Ito wanted The Zodiac Age to be easier to explore and easier to play, and thus the staff tried to accommodate those wishes when making changes to the game.[12]

Game design

Active Time Battle (ATB) in Final Fantasy VI was designed by Ito. He also directed the game.

When working as the game designer, Ito tries to balance the story and event scenes with the gameplay.[13] He believes it's important for the Final Fantasy series to keep the games fun to play, no matter how much technology keeps improving.[13] When he begins his work on a Final Fantasy game, he focuses on the gameplay and adapts this to the story. Ito thinks it is his job to smoothly implement the gameplay so the people in charge of the story do not have to worry about this aspect.[2] Though he mainly focuses on gameplay, he still contributed to the stories and characters in Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy IX.[3][5][8] He believes the most important factor of the Final Fantasy series is the player's feeling of accomplishment after beating the game.[14]

Professional sports is the primary inspiration behind Ito's battle systems.[2] The monsters in Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V and the gambit system in Final Fantasy XII resemble aspects of the NFL in that their actions are based on the most likely outcome of a specific situation.[2][14] The Active Time Battle (ATB) system was inspired by Formula One, as Ito had the idea to give characters different speed values after seeing a race where the cars passed each other. These values would become the basis for the battle system and dictate a character's turn.[2][3] Ito was inspired to create the ATB system as he felt real-time battles would become the standard in the future, but felt that too much of an action element would alienate players. The concept of the system was inspired by the the shift to semi-automatic transmission that was occurring in Formula One cars at the time.[2]

Active Dimension Battle (ADB) in Final Fantasy XII was designed by Ito.

After the release of Final Fantasy XII, Hiroyuki Ito felt the Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system was still rough, much like the Active Time Battle (ATB) system he created for Final Fantasy IV. In the same way he evolved the ATB system in Final Fantasy V, he wishes to evolve the ADB system in a future Final Fantasy game. He added that the next iteration of ADB would both remove unnecessary features and add features that were previously lacking.[14] In September 2012, Hiroyuki Ito stated the optimum form of his battle systems has yet to come due to him being held back by hardware restrictions, such as available RAM and CPU power.[2]


Hiroyuki Ito wrote the lyrics for "Melodies Of Life", the theme song for Final Fantasy IX. The song was composed by Nobuo Uematsu and performed in both Japanese and English by Emiko Shiratori.[15]

He has written the lyrics for some songs for the Final Fantasy V: Dear Friends[16] and Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks[17] albums. "Approaching Premonition" is a vocal track on Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks album featuring Nobuo Uematsu as the lead singer, and the entire Final Fantasy VI development staff as the background and chorus singers, including Ito. The lyrics were written by Ito, and instruments are played by Nobuo Uematsu.

Works within the series

Game Release Work
Final Fantasy 1987 Battle System Design, Debugger (uncredited)
Final Fantasy II 1988 Debugger (uncredited)
Final Fantasy III 1990 Battle System Debugger, Sound Effects (uncredited)
Final Fantasy IV 1991 Battle System Design
Final Fantasy V 1992 Game Design, Battle System Design
Final Fantasy VI 1994 Director, Game Design, Battle System Design, Scenario
Final Fantasy VII 1997 Battle System Original Concept (uncredited)
Final Fantasy Tactics 1997 Game Design, Battle System Main Planner
Final Fantasy VIII 1999 Battle System Design, Chocobo World Game Design
Final Fantasy IX 2000 Director, Game Design, Battle System Design, Scenario Writer, "Melodies Of Life" Lyricist
Final Fantasy XI 2002 Special Thanks
Final Fantasy XII 2006 Director, Game Design, Battle System Director
Final Fantasy V Advance 2006 Supervisor
Final Fantasy VI Advance 2006 Supervisor
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions 2007 Supervisor
Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System 2007 Producer, Director, Game Design, Battle System Director
Final Fantasy IV DS 2007 Battle System Supervisor
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord 2009 Special Thanks
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy 2011 Special Thanks
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT 2015 Special Thanks[18]
Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age 2017 Supervisor


External links


  1. Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System Ultimania (in Japanese), 322–327, Square Enix.Invalid citation format.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy IX Ultimania (in Japanese), 578–582, Square Enix.Invalid citation format.
  5. 5.0 5.1
  6. Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania (in Japanese). Square Enix.Invalid citation format.
  8. 8.0 8.1
  12. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Developers Talk About Their Return To Familiar Grounds (Accessed: UnknownError: See this for how to archive.) at Siliconera
  13. 13.0 13.1
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2
  18. ''Dissidia Final Fantasy'' Credits (Accessed: UnknownError: See this for how to archive.) at Square Enix Japan