Remarkable Ex-Square Sakaguchi interview - http://www.mmcafe.com/ Forums


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Professor
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"Impressive Ex-Square Sakaguchi interview" , posted Tue 21 Apr 15:47:post reply

http://ch.nicovideo.jp/indies-game/blomaga/ar772866

Famitsu's former senior editor Hamamura did an interview with Hironobu Sakaguchi and it's probably the most interesting one that I've read. He talks about the early years before Square was even formed and how many of the big members came around-- for example, Nobuo Uematsu was a part-timer working at a nearby video rental shop. I'll do some translations later when I have time but I'm posting up the URL so that I don't forget about it. For those who can read JA, go for it!



- Sakaguchi considered himself a hardcore musician in his student years, writing his own songs and lyrics. He was a member of a band unit.

- The Apple II completey shocked and impressed him. After fiddling around with a lot of its game datas, he started programming his own games using a combination of BASIC and assembly language (which was a common combination back then). He also knows Assembly for the Z80 CPU so he considers himself as coming from the programming field.

- His first friend in the gaming industry was Hiromichi Tanaka. When Sakaguchi was in his 3rd year of college, he and Tanaka decided to go work for some suspicious game maker, which turned out to be making a game based on a TV show without its license.

- After getting screwed by the company, Sakaguchi and Tanaka decided to do a project on their own, which turned out to become Square's first title "Deathtrap". There was a lot of effort put into the game but they totally overlooked its pricing. They released it on 3 disks and charged nearly 100 dollars for it. It didn't sell.

- On their next project, Sakaguchi realized the importance of knowing the market and put a girl into the opening screen. That and having a price nearly half that of their previous project made the game a hit.

- Nobuo Uematsu was a working part-timer working at a nearby rental shop. He was also a friend of the artist who worked on Deathtrap / Sakaguchi's first game. Hearing that Uematsu can do music, Sakaguchi asked him to compose for his games.

- Sakaguchi rejected Uematsu's first demo tape of what was later to become Final Fantasy's tunes. Uematsu sent a new tape saying he re-did the music, when in fact all he did was arrange the tracks in a different order. Sakaguchi didn't realize that and gave it the green light.



[added 4/22/2015]

- Interesting fact about Nasir Gebelli, the genious Iranian-American programmer who worked on FF1-3 and a number of other Square titles. It turns out that he's royal blood from Iran and moved to the US because of the Iranian revolution.

- Nasir was a well-known programmer during his time, but it was more or less by luck that Square's president just happened to meet him at a game party and offered him a job in Japan.

-Square's president basically shoved Nasir at Sakaguchi and told him to take care of Nasir. Sakaguchi knew Nasir's previous works, but his overall impression of Nasir as a great programmer was overwhelmed by the feeling of him being a innocent but weird programmer. He kept doing wacky things like asking where the kimono girls were in Japan, and secretly throwing in easter eggs into their games.

- Aside from Sakaguchi not knowing English, he also had a hard time keeping up with Nasir because the guy would only eat steak for dinner every night.

- When FF3 needed debugging but Nasir was back in the states for visa reasons, he told the devs what to fix in the program's hex code via phone call. He amazingly had his whole program memorized.

- Sakaguchi decided to make a Famicom Disk system game using Nasir's knowledge in 3D programming. That game was "Tobidase Daisakusen" (3-D WorldRunner). It bombed and Square's warehouse was left with piles of 3D glasses, leaving Sakaguchi shivering about what to do.



more translations later. If anyone feels up to contributing, be my guest!





[this message was edited by Professor on Wed 22 Apr 21:54]

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chazumaru
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"Re(1):Impressive Ex-Square Sakaguchi intervie" , posted Tue 21 Apr 18:34post reply

Interesting anecdote. I am surprised Mr Hamamura took the time to do this. Maybe he felt nostalgic of his time as an editor, or he just enjoys being in the limelight. Thanks for the (upcoming) translation!





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GekigangerV
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"Re(1):Impressive Ex-Square Sakaguchi intervie" , posted Wed 22 Apr 10:17post reply

Thanks a lot Prof. It's so weird to hear that Uematsu's first tape was rejected as it went on to be some iconic stuff. I wonder what the first track was the second time around.





Maou
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"Re(2):Impressive Ex-Square Sakaguchi intervie" , posted Wed 22 Apr 10:50post reply

Favorite anecdote so far: Sakaguchi having to recruit more people to make Final Fantasy:

"So this guy shows up, looks sort of like a punk who'd wear one of those feathery leather jackets, and he says, 'Yo, so I hear you're running interviews, right?' But when this guy opened his notebook, it had all kinds of cute character drawings in it, and I thought "what is this?!" I was so interested that I hired him. This was Kouichi Ishii, who was the father of [some] FF characters and the Chocobo. After that, he created the Seiken Densetsu series."

Like everything you've heard from your parents' generation, it actually was easier to make your break in the world back then.





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Shindekudasai
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"Re(3):Impressive Ex-Square Sakaguchi intervie" , posted Wed 22 Apr 11:42post reply

Not directly Square related, but I saw a documentary about game music that had a bit on Uematsu: https://youtu.be/kUrcYA-TkzQ?t=194 The other parts have some good stuff too, like an interview with Hip Tanaka.





Professor
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"Re(4):Impressive Ex-Square Sakaguchi intervie" , posted Wed 22 Apr 21:56post reply

Additional translations for the day-

- Interesting fact about Nasir Gebelli, the genious programmer who worked on FF1-3 and a number of other Square titles. It's generally known that he's an Iranian-American, but it turns out that he was royal blood from Iran and he moved to the US because of the Iranian revolution.

- Nasir was a well-known programmer during his time, but it was more or less by luck that Square's president just happened to meet him at a game party and offered him a job in Japan.

-Square's president basically shoved Nasir at Sakaguchi and told him to take care of Nasir. Sakaguchi knew Nasir's previous works, but his overall impression of Nasir as a great programmer was overwhelmed by the feeling of him being a innocent but weird programmer. He kept doing wacky things like asking where the kimono girls were in Japan, and secretly throwing in easter eggs into their games.

- Aside from Sakaguchi not knowing English, he also had a hard time keeping up with Nasir because the guy would only eat steak for dinner every night.

- When FF3 needed debugging but Nasir was back in the states for visa reasons, he told the devs what to fix in the program's hex code via phone call. He amazingly had his whole program memorized.

- Sakaguchi decided to make a Famicom Disk system game using Nasir's knowledge in 3D programming. That game was "Tobidase Daisakusen" (3-D WorldRunner). It bombed and Square's warehouse was left with piles of 3D glasses, leaving Sakaguchi shivering about what to do.





nobinobita
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"Re(5):Impressive Ex-Square Sakaguchi intervie" , posted Wed 22 Apr 22:08post reply

quote:
Additional translations for the day-

- Interesting fact about Nasir Gebelli, the genious programmer who worked on FF1-3 and a number of other Square titles. It's generally known that he's an Iranian-American, but it turns out that he was royal blood from Iran and he moved to the US because of the Iranian revolution.

- Nasir was a well-known programmer during his time, but it was more or less by luck that Square's president just happened to meet him at a game party and offered him a job in Japan.

-Square's president basically shoved Nasir at Sakaguchi and told him to take care of Nasir. Sakaguchi knew Nasir's previous works, but his overall impression of Nasir as a great programmer was overwhelmed by the feeling of him being a innocent but weird programmer. He kept doing wacky things like asking where the kimono girls were in Japan, and secretly throwing in easter eggs into their games.

- Aside from Sakaguchi not knowing English, he also had a hard time keeping up with Nasir because the guy would only eat steak for dinner every night.

- When FF3 needed debugging but Nasir was back in the states for visa reasons, he told the devs what to fix in the program's hex code via phone call. He amazingly had his whole program memorized.

- Sakaguchi decided to make a Famicom Disk system game using Nasir's knowledge in 3D programming. That game was "Tobidase Daisakusen" (3-D WorldRunner). It bombed and Square's warehouse was left with piles of 3D glasses, leaving Sakaguchi shiver

-- Message too long, Autoquote has been Snipped --


Thanks for translating Professor. These anecdotes are TOO GOOD.






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Maou
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"Think like Amano" , posted Thu 23 Apr 03:43:post reply

Oh, I just remembered another story from the article that I loved and no one's mentioned yet, on our artistic lord and savio(u)r, Yoshitaka Amano:

--

Sakaguchi: The whole staff and I were looking for a painter who could do good image illustration for us, and Ishii says, "I think Mr. Amano would be good." But even though I'd read Guin Saga [light novel with Amano illustrations], for some reason I didn't recognize his name at all, and just rejected it: "Who the hell is that? Never heard of him." But when I was thumbing through books on my own, I found this amazing picture. I immediately told Ishii, "this is it!" and he said, "Uh, Mr. Sakaguchi...this is by Mr. Amano." (laughter)

So I went to see Mr. Amano right away, and we got a positive answer from him immediately--he was interested in the game-making process. But when Mr. Amano sent us a picture of a monster soon after, it was in hand-drawn pixel art! (laughter) I rushed and told him, "Mr. Amano, a normal picture is fine!" and he said, "Ohhh, not in pixels?" We lost the picture, but looking back, I guess we really should have saved it.





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[this message was edited by Maou on Thu 23 Apr 05:42]

chazumaru
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"Re(1):Think like Amano" , posted Thu 23 Apr 05:15post reply

Really cool stuff, thank you both. Amazing how candid and honest/lucid Sakaguchi sounds in this interview.





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"Re(2):Think like Amano" , posted Thu 23 Apr 07:04post reply

quote:
Really cool stuff, thank you both. Amazing how candid and honest/lucid Sakaguchi sounds in this interview.



He truly sounds as a guy you'll like to read about.

These segments are pretty good






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Maou
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"Re(3):Think like Amano" , posted Thu 23 Apr 07:28:post reply

quote:
He truly sounds as a guy you'll like to read about.
It's probably by no coincidence that in interviews with the people I deem truly creative storytellers in this field, whether the original Square team, Kamitani, or Game Arts, their energy and unique spirits really come through when reading. Interviews with Tetsuya Nomura or Motomu Toriyamu are like talking with a fanfic convention or listening to a voice recording of an instruction manual.





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[this message was edited by Maou on Thu 23 Apr 07:45]