Welcome to Square Enix Music Online

Hitoshi Sakimoto

Hitoshi Sakimoto (Property of CocoeBiz) Date of Birth: February 26, 1969 (Tokyo)
Education: Graduated from High School
Musical Influences: Yellow Magic Orchestra, Chick Corea, Becker Brothers
General Interests: Horses, Games, Building PCs, Instruments
Place of Residence: Tokyo
Joined Square: 1998 (left in 2000)
Official Web Site: Hitoshi Sakimoto's Official English Site at CocoeBiz


This biography was written by Totz exclusively for use at Square Enix Music Online. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission, as this is a violation of copyright.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, on February 26, 1969, Hitoshi Sakimoto's interest in music goes way back to when he was in elementary school, when he took part in some brass and rock bands. His first job was as a writer for a computer magazine named Oh!FM during his senior high school year, when he was 17, and was put in charge of composing music for a computer-based shooting game, entitled Revolter, which he worked on with volunteers. Here, he received attention from game developers who saw the work, and leading him to becoming a freelance musician in 1989. After this, he began work on a number of games, first as an arranger, sound programmer, and sound effects engineer, and later, with Starship Rendezvous, as a composer. Though he has been what he describes as a 'computer, games, and music geek' from a very young age, he is entirely self-taught, and his only academic achievements come from graduating from high school. Unlike most Square composers, who studied at university and took piano lessons, employment, not academic achievement, was what made Hitoshi Sakimoto learn what he knows today.

The pathway to how Sakimoto created many of his works can be underpinned by his activities with the game company Quest. His first work for the company was Magical Chase in 1991. Here, he met two people now incredibly important to him. The first was Masaharu Iwata, an employee there at the time, who was to become his long-term 'composing partner'. After meeting, both ended up working on a huge number of scores together, and, though they worked separately on specific themes, they worked together to ensure their scores formed a cohesive whole. He also met Yasumi Matsuno, who was in charge of Magical Chaser's development. He was later to become head of a development team at Square who were responsible for the production of the majority of the Square titles Sakimoto was to work on. Sakimoto describes Matsuno as a very helpful person, who trusted him and gave him clear directions, and it is obvious that he always found working under him to be pleasurable.

Though Sakimoto had already worked on over 30 works, the first major project that gave him popular recognition was Quest's Ogre Battle, which was directed by Matsuno. He composed with Iwata and Hayato Matsuo from IMAGINE and released the album All Sounds of Ogre Battle, his first known CD soundtrack, in 1993. The album was mostly militaristic in nature and proved to be a grand success that left many fans desiring for more. Unfortunately, Ogre Battle Image Album ~ The Entrance, which featured arrangements from Ogre Battle didn't give most fans what they wanted and has been criticised for its sloppiness on a number of occasions. During his career, he continued to work on the series while conducting other projects, first with Iwata on Tactics Ogre in 1995 and then with Iwata and Matsuo on Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber in 1999.

Sakimoto's first two works for Square were both alongside Iwata, who was, by then, firmly established as his partner. The first of these was Treasure Hunter G, Square's last RPG on the Super Nintendo, where he also worked alongside John Pee, Toshiaki Sakoda, Yoko Takada, Akiko Goto, and Tomoko Matsui, forming the Sting Symphony. Despite composing a large proportion of the tracks, however, the Treasure Hunter G Original Sound Version didn't receive a large amount of publicity and continues to be an extremely rare find today. Sakimoto's next contribution, Final Fantasy Tactics, saw him work under Matsuno once again. Still his most well-known work to date and the one that revealed him abroad, he aimed to make the music readily accessible to all people and based much of the score on Matsuno's descriptions for characters and setting.

Sakimoto's other major works for Square also saw him work with Matsuno, though these were all solo scores that were not alongside Iwata. In 2000, the score for Vagrant Story was released, and Sakimoto describes it as his most memorable. The reasons for this are complex, but presumably the fact it was his only work for Square as a resident composer, not a freelancer (he joined in 1998 and left in 2000) was significant. In addition, it saw a completely new approach to his music, being much darker. While some of the dungeon themes were ambient, they were anything but uninspired, and the battle themes were in a class of their own. Two years later, he collaborated with Square and Matsuno for the production of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the Game Boy Advance. Here, he collaborated with Nobuo Uematsu for the first time ever (though Uematsu only created the main theme) and also worked with Super Sweep's Kaori Ohkoshi and Ayako Saso. An arranged album, White Melodies of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, was also released, though Sakimoto, a talented arranger, surprisingly created nothing himself.

Outside the Square world, Sakimoto has worked on too many other projects to mention — after all, he has contributed to over 100 games — but some works are more significant than others. One of his most popular soundtracks is the score for Treasure's Arcade and Sega Saturn game Radiant Silvergun, which was released in 1998 and mostly maintained his symphonic style. He has also collaborated recently with Yasunori Mitsuda, first for the score of Legaia Duel Saga in 2002 and second on the score for Capcom's Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter in 2003. Though Mitsuda had a smaller role in both scores and was only responsible for sound programming in the latter, they made a powerful team. Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter was particularly unique, as it saw him use electronically based themes quite prominently, which is atypical from his mostly symphonic style. As well as this, he is well-known for creating several scores for Arcade games for Eighting, including Bloody Roar with Iwata, and has worked with the legendary Koichi Sugiyama on two occasions as sound effects designer and sound programmer for Dragon Quest albums.

Sakimoto recent activities have seen him go from strength to strength. In 2002, he, Iwata, and Manabu Namiki created Basiscape, a company that aims to work with music in every medium but focuses primarily on video games. As company president, Sakimoto has huge administrative responsibilities, and these have added to his huge workload recently. This has not stopped him continuing to work on numerous scores, however, and he continues to work on a fair number at one time. He co-composed with Iwata for the first time in three years for the production of the score for Stella Deus in 2004. The Stella Deus Original Soundtrack featured 41 tracks and showed the two composers sharing equal roles. It was well-received in the video game music world, despite its initial lack of publicity, and an arranged album for it has recently been released. Also in 2004, he worked as the solo composer for Gradius V, one of Konami's major shooters, which he loved being part of. His last projects have involved working as an arranger on several of Basiscape employee Manabu Namiki's recent shooter albums.

Rumoured to be working with Sakimoto on Square Enix's next MMORPG, Fantasy Earth: The Ring of Dominion, expect lots more from him in the future! 2006 will be a huge year for Sakimoto, as it will see his most high-profile work to date being released. This is, of course, the score for Final Fantasy XII, which he finished producing in April 2004. Since the game is being produced by Matsuno's team, it was no surprise that Sakimoto was selected. Here, he will also collaborate with Nobuo Uematsu, though Uematsu will only be composing the main theme, with Sakimoto. It has yet to be seen whether fans of the series will be turned on by his style, or will loathe it because it's not the series' musical approach. Since Sakimoto says his personal best work is an upcoming project, however, one can only hope it is this score. If it is his best project, it will be stunning and may well be the best Final Fantasy soundtrack to be created. We will have to wait till August to see if this is the case, however.

List of Game Projects

Note: This list only includes games that the composer has actively worked on, so those games that feature reprises of the composer's work from older titles are not included.

Key: C = Composer, A = Arranger, P = Performer, S = Sound Programmer, E = Sound Effects, M = Synthesizer Operator

Year Game Role
NEC PC8801
1988 Revolver C+A+E+P
1989 Stone of Deigan A+E
1990 Starship Rendezvous C+A+E+P
1990 The Witch of Barbatus P
1991 King Breeder C+A+E+P
1991 Metal Orange C+A+E+P
NEC PC9801
1989 Stone of Deigan A+E
1990 Starship Rendezvous C+A+E+P
1990 Carat C+A+E+P
1991 King Breeder C+A+E+P
1991 Metal Orange C+A+E+P
1991 Dragon of Frame A+E
1991 Death Knight of Krynn A+E
1992 Champions of Krynn A+E+P
1992 Dragon Master Silk A+E+P
1992 Eye of the Beholder A+E
1992 Seven Colors A+E+P
1993 Quiz Jipangu A+E+P
1994 Swap A+E+P
1994 Blue Garnet A+E+P
1995 Chick's Tale C+A+E+P
1995 Dragon Master Silk 2 C+A+E+P
FM Towns
1990 Hero of Lance A+E
Nintendo Game Boy
1990 Bubble Ghost C+A+E
1992 Mounted Soldier A+E
1993 Tail Spin A+E
1993 Aguri Suzuki's F1 Super Driving A+E
1993 Alien vs. Predator A+E
1993 Little Mermaid A+E
1993 Rock Board A+E
1993 J-LEAGUE Soccer A+E
1994 Nangoku Shonen Papuwakun A+E
1994 Shogi A+E
1994 Power Rangers The Movie A+E
1995 Azazukin Cha-Cha A+E+P
Game Gear
1991 Devilish C+A+E+P
1992 Gauntlet C+A+E+P
1994 Moldorian C+A+E+P
1994 Side Pocket A+E+P
1995 Gunstar Heroes P
1995 Pet Club A+E+P
1996 Panzer Dragoon MINI P
Sega Mega Drive
1991 Verytex C+A+E+P
1991 Midnight Resistance A+E+P
1991 Master of Monsters A+E+P
1992 King Salmon E+P
1992 Crude Buster A+E+P
1992 Captain Aerica and The Avengers A+E+P
1992 Bad Omen C+A+E+P
1992 Board of Education Quiz C+A+E+P
1994 Lorelei A+E+P
1994 Super Double Dragon P
1994 Swap A+E+P
NEC PC Engine
1991 Magical Chase C+A+E
1993 Quiz Jipangu A+E+P
1991 Deathbringer A+E+P
1992 Crying Dragon E+P
1992 Eye of the Beholder A+E
1992 Captain Aerica and The Avengers A+E+P
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
1993 Super Back to the Future 2 C+A
1993 Ogre Battle C+A
1993 Sword Maniac C+A
1993 Classic Lord C+A
1994 Super Hockey '94 C+A
1995 Tactics Ogre C
1995 Dragon Quest VI A+E
1995 Megami Tensei 1 A+E
1995 Megami Tensei 2 A+E
1995 Super Bomberman Panic Bomber W A+E
1995 Classic Lord 2 A+E
1996 The Adventures of Hourai High School C+A+E
1996 Dragon Quest III E
1996 Throughbred Breeder 3 A+E
1996 Treasure Hunter G C
1994 Kingdom Grandprix C+A+E
1995 Mazinger Z E
1996 Soukyuugurentai C
1997 Bloody Roar C
1998 Radiant Silvergun C+A
1998 Batrider C+A
Sony PlayStation
1994 Pile Up March C+A
1995 Key E
1996 Virtual Gallop Kisyudou A+E
1997 Final Fantasy Tactics C+A
1997 Civizard - Majutsu no Keifu A+E
1998 Traffic Confusion A+E
2000 Vagrant Story C+A
2001 Block Wars C
1995 F1 GP A+E
Sega Saturn
1996 Kingdom Grandprix C+A+E
1996 Shippuu Mahou Daisakuen C
1998 Radiant Silvergun C+A
1998 Battle Garrega A
1998 Roommate 3 A
1999 Roommate W -Futari- A
1996 Chip Chan Kicky C+A+E
Sega Dreamcast
1999 Evolution C
1999 Evolution 2 C
Nintendo 64
1999 Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber C+A
Nintendo Game Boy Advance
2001 Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis C
2001 Tekken Advance C
2002 The Pinball of the Dead A+E
2003 Final Fantasy Tactics Advance A+E
Sony PlayStation 2
2001 Kuusen C
2001 Legaia Duel Saga C
2003 Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter C
2004 Gradius V C
2004 Stella Deus C
2006 Final Fantasy XII C
2003 Perfect Prince C
2005 Wizardry Gaiden -Prisoner of the Battle C+P
Nintendo Game Cube
2005 ZOIDZS Metal Crush C

List of Albums

Original Scores

Arranged Albums

Other Albums

Home Contact Us Top