Sakaguchi lays out Mistwalker plans

Former Square producer discusses upcoming Xbox 360 role-playing games, confirms fourth game in development at new studio.

Mistwalker, the independent game studio of former Square producer Hironobu Sakaguchi, is hard at work on three announced role-playing games, but apparently that's not enough of a workload.

In an interview with Famitsu, the man behind the Xbox 360's Last Odyssey and Blue Dragon and the Nintendo DS's Ash: Archaic Sealed Heat, revealed that he has another project in the works. Sakaguchi didn't go into detail about the project, except to confirm that it's something that hasn't been announced yet.

On more tangible matters, Sakaguchi said that he is planning to release a playable demo of Lost Odyssey sometime after E3 2006. The demo will contain the opening sequence of the game and the playable scene that immediately follows it.

Sakaguchi said development on Lost Odyssey is moving along as scheduled and that the final product will be released shortly after his other 360 RPG, Blue Dragon. That game will be coming out next year, according to Sakaguchi.

Alhough Blue Dragon is based on the artwork of Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Quest VIII), it will not use cartoonlike renderings like other games based on his work. Instead, Blue Dragon will use a different rendering style that Sakaguchi says is similar to claymation. While his first pick was to use the usual cartoonlike style, he explained that development techniques for games kept on advancing to the point that another graphic style became possible.

Sakaguchi also said that Blue Dragon will use light bloom for realistic lighting when a character is near a light source, and real-time motion blur to give battles a natural feel. According to Famitsu, Blue Dragon's development is currently 40 percent complete.

For more on Sakaguchi's upcoming games, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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44 comments
barok1973
barok1973

i was really excited that sakaguchi is making RPG like blue dragon and last oddesey in xbox360 ! ..... all i can say is thank you and FANTASTIC ! ..... surely im buying this games or more upcoming games RPG from creator sakagouchi ...... Domo arigato gusay mas ..... keep on coming ........ rock and roll

Lapogo
Lapogo

Very interesting to see more of the Japanese games development communtiy cooperating with microsoft. Infact this might be their saving grace to win more audiences especially those gamers who buy consoles looking forward to games made from Japan since they barely fail to give you premium quality in their games. I mean me as an example bought an Xbox after owning a PS2 for 2 years not because of its launch release games and hardware but because of Tecmo's NInja Gaiden which really made me buy the console without regrets!

the_cub
the_cub

i just wish there would be something in PS or Revolution from his studio... -____-

SnowFarmer
SnowFarmer

@mythrol- way to miss my point entirely... I'm not saying that the American market can't support games or the 360 on it's own, that would be just silly. What I am saying is that I have my doubts that the US 360 JRPG market is big enough to support the JRPG studios with out those studios getting financial assistance from MS. It is hard to say how well a JRPG will do on the 360 since there isn't much previous data to base a prediction on, but going by the 360/Xbox owners that I know and what I see on forums, they don't seem to be a major percentage of the market.

Link1515
Link1515

It would've been a lot smarter of Sakaguchi to make those two new series on the PS3, than on the 360.

mythrol
mythrol

What kind of sense does that make? You're saying that the American Market can't support games on it's own? Xbox games have made obviously tons of profits for the developers, otherwise, why would they still be making games for it? In all honesty, it'd be great if the Xbox360 sold more in Japan, but contrary to what YOU believe, the American market CAN support and carry the system. The only reason Microsoft swallowed a loss on the original Xbox was because of their nVidia fiasco. Developers on the other hand made tons of profits.

SnowFarmer
SnowFarmer

Good thing for Sakaguchi san that MS has boat loads of cash. I doubt that the sales of these games in Japan (or the US either) would be enough to keep his new studio going. Even if the 360 does 100x the sales of the Xbox in Japan it still wouldn't have a major share of the Japanese console market. Which is a shame since the ideas behind these games seem like they will be winners.

sudoh_kyoichi
sudoh_kyoichi

I've been really wanting some RPG's. My PS2 broke a while back so I got an Xbox. Shame that enchant-arm was delayed. WIll have to have some patience until I get some RPG's.

omarguy01
omarguy01

lost oddyssey looks so freakn awesome! i cant wait!

mythrol
mythrol

What do you mean JRPG's don't appeal to the Xbox fanbase? That's just plain stupid of a statement. The reason why JRPG's don't appeal to Xbox's fanbase is because NONE HAVE EVER BEEN RELEASED FOR THE XBOX. I very much look forward to LO and BD. If anything I'd say that the fanbase actually CRAVES a good old fashion JRPG. I love Kotor and Jade Empire as much as the rest, but I'd like some more traditional style games as well and I'm pretty sure that the hardcore fan's (me) will want the same thing, or quite frankly this will make the 360's fanbase grow and gain hardcore JRPG fans. Depending on how awesome Mistwalker's RPG's are I forsee them being a killer app that pushes a lot of the FF fanboy's over to the 360's. Especially with the way SquareEnix has sold out. The truth of the matter is, Sony Fanboy's are AFRAID of Mistwalker because it's done by the two fathers of FF. Sakaguchi and Utematsu.

Vegeta-sama
Vegeta-sama

Xbox fans who don't like JRPGs do exist but I assure you they are in the minority... most Xbox hardcore gamers will buy a JRPG quick like. I think LO has more western appeal to it, but Toriyama-san is pretty popular here and if the game is good enough people will buy the system for it... just like they bought the PS1 for FF7

Peckmoe
Peckmoe

I stil don't understand why Sakaguchi supports Xbox 360. *groan* At least there's the DS game.

Dark_man123
Dark_man123

I hope these games do good and sell really well.

SoralinkGS
SoralinkGS

to those Sony Fanboys who say Xbox owners are only fans of FPS and GTA clones, I must say those people you talk to are people who probably would picked up a PS2 for, guess what?, FPSes and GTA clones! but it really doesnt matter to me, Im all for every system, and Im happy to see some JRPGs coming to Xbox for once. I hated playing them on My PS2, so slow......lets hope PS3-wait, no hard drive included again?!?! but you promised this time sony!!

the_absolute
the_absolute

I understand that both Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey are only conceptually developed (character design, story, etc.) at Mistwalker and the actually game developments are done at other studios. I'm not sure which company is making Lost Odyssey, but I hear Blue Dragon is being developed by Artoon, the makers of the Blinx series. Hopefully, these teams are able to create what Sakaguchi and Mistwalker are trying to aim for. I'm also looking foward to Ash for the DS. It seems like it will be an awsome game.

Kemikul
Kemikul

We need some real info on Blue Dragon or Mistwalker.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I'm excited about Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. So another title in the works is definitely cool with me, especially if it's a RPG. Glad to see Sakaguchi is putting in work. Mistwalker might be a powerhouse in the next-gen the way Squaresoft was in the 90s.

fuzzysquash
fuzzysquash

I hope this new project is for Playstation 3. Sakaguchi-san, don't forget about us!

ewjim
ewjim

Good, but not for me... :(

AdityaN
AdityaN

these rpg's probably wont sell too well, considering that the xbox dosent look like it will have a large japanese install base, and those who do care about such rpg's will probably end up taking a ps3 instead. Sure, its a nice boost to the 360 in japan, but unless they are followed up by other major and minor titles, as well as series like suikoden, ff, shadow hearts etc etc, it wont cut ice and never reach its intended audience. 3 rpg's and one old ff dont make much of a diff, xbox should instead concentrate on its strengths.

JinxBoy
JinxBoy

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

JinxBoy
JinxBoy

Whether or not this is going to be a mistake for Sakaguchi will have to be seen, but from microsoft's end this is brilliant. I know several hardcore PS2ers that are seriously thinking about picking up a 360 just for these games. And if anything's going to endear the Japanese audience to the Xbox it's gonna be this stuff. If anybody's interesting in kinda getting a glimpse of what this "claymation" look is like, there's a picture using it on mistwalker's website. To see it go to mistwalker's page (www.mistwalker.info), then click on "contents", then "Blue Dragon". The link on the left that shows up (labeled "Data") uses the claymation-style rendering. Unfortunately the picture is tiny, and then when you click on it it becomes a nearly transparent background to another page; but it kinda gives you a taste of what he means by the rendering being "similar to claymation".

thekey
thekey

I all for it keep these hits comin!!! Xbox 360 is in the house you go Sakagichi-san!

crithon
crithon

this is probably the only reason for me to get an XBox 360, so lets hope he Sakaguchi still has the magic.

wiafs02
wiafs02

im a huge xbox fan but the RPG's i like are fable and shenmue series.infact i like racing more but my best game is shenmue.i like the shadow concept behind BLUE DRAGON and also the story in Lost Odyssey sounds cool too.maybe i'm starting to love JRPG's now

vorlen
vorlen

I'm also a huge xbox fab that loves jrpg's so we exist ;)

WallaceUGBeaver
WallaceUGBeaver

Something strikes me about the animation in Blue Dragon being more like Claymation. That doesn't sound good to me, but maybe it's just a bad definition for what it really is. Long as it ends up looking decent, I'm fine. I'm gonna pick it up either way. Lost Odyssey I'm a little unsure about, I'll have to see the secret fighting system that they're using for it. Hopefully they'll be in the same league as Chrono Trigger. Fingers crossed, everyone.

magus704
magus704

Cannot wait for both Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. These two games convinced me to get an X360, which, might I add, is totally awesome!

tidusjeff
tidusjeff

Who said the xbox 360 was only for fps and GTA clones? I know sakaguchi developing these rpgs sounds like a bad idea because of convincing more people to just go with a 360 but I in my opinion these games look very cool. Can't wait to try them out next year.

MasterChad
MasterChad

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

shinchy
shinchy

Yep, Same here, I'm a big fan of JRPG's and also a big fan of the Xbox. So I'm really looking forward to these games.

theirishweasel
theirishweasel

I'm an xbox fan who loves JRPGs. I personally can't wait to see these games, and I definitely hope these won't be the last.

hush404
hush404

Hmm, the game sounds cool to me... but I've yet to meet an xbox gamer who enjoy's Japanese style RPG's... The huge majority of xbox owners like their shooters and racers, so unless Japanese RPG fans jump ship from sony or nintendo then I don't see it selling all that well, even if it turns out to be an awesome game.

final33
final33

i really like his work for the past and can't wait for the game to born

SomeoneElse292
SomeoneElse292

i cant wait for these games, i hope that the new game in the works is also heading to the 360

davahsa
davahsa

With these killer apps coming out and Square going on board for the 360....is Japan going to deny buying this generation? not nearly as many will be able to pass these up

doomed51
doomed51

cant wait to see more of his projects!!

AA7
AA7

Cool.

Basinboy
Basinboy

Does Sakaguchi still have the magic? We'll see. I'm psyched to see Lost Odyssey on the 360, sounds sweet. Cool news.