Kotaku: When you create one of the most treasured franchises in video game history, what do you do next? When you work on that franchise for 20 years, can you ever really move on?
For Hironobu Sakaguchi, the man who created Final Fantasy back in 1987, these have been easy questions to answer. (1. Move to Hawaii and go surfing a lot; 2. Yes.) But for fans, Sakaguchi's legacy has become a little bit puzzling. In 2004, Sakaguchi left Square Enix, the company he saved from bankruptcy all those years ago, and started his own company, Mistwalker. Since then, the games he's touched have ranged from unexceptional (Blue Dragon) to great (Lost Odyssey) to... well, surfing games for iOS.
Most recently, much to the dismay of people who want more console RPGs, Sakaguchi and Mistwalker have been developing games for iOS and Android. Sakaguchi's next game, Terra Battle, comes out in October for mobile phones. It's a free-to-play strategy game with RPG trappings that uses a microtransaction-based energy system—all poisonous words to many gamers, who have been burned by unethical free-to-play games like, incidentally, Final Fantasy: All The Bravest.
Not exactly what you'd expect from the creator of Final Fantasy.
I sat down with Sakaguchi on Sunday for an extensive interview with the iconic developer, who was jovial and pleasant, frequently laughing and often chiming in with short English responses to my questions.