Open main menu

Akitoshi Kawazu (河津 秋敏, Kawazu Akitoshi, born November 5, 1962) is a Japanese game producer and game designer. He is best known for his work on Final Fantasy[1] and SaGa franchise of role-playing video games. He was the majority shareholder for The Game Designers Studio, a shell corporation founded in June 1999 by Square and re-purposed in 2002 to exploit a loophole with the company's exclusivity deal to develop for Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation consoles.[2]

Akitoshi Kawazu
Akitoshi Kawazu (2007).jpg
Kawazu at the Final Fantasy XII London HMV Launch Party in 2007
Native name
河津 秋敏
Born (1962-11-05) November 5, 1962 (age 56)
OccupationVideo game designer, producer
Years active1987–present
Notable work
Final Fantasy



Joining SquareEdit

Kawazu studied ceramics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Kawazu was invited by a friend to work at the gaming magazine published by Softbank called "Beep".[3] He stated that he had always been interested in board games, and after a time joined Square Co. in 1985.[1][3]

Early yearsEdit

His first game at Square Co. was Rad Racer, creating the ending sequence showing a player's accomplishments.[3]

Final FantasyEdit

He and Hironobu Sakaguchi had wanted to make a role playing game for a long time, and were fans of Wizardry and Ultima, but were concerned it would not sell.[3] After the success in Japan of Dragon Quest, and the popular desire for an RPG proven, development began.[3] Kawazu took over the development of the battle sequence and system, and tried to model it as much after Dungeons and Dragons as he could.[3] Part of the development was to add western fantasy gaming rules, such as a fire monster being vulnerable to ice, which at the time were not features of Japanese gaming.[3]

Later gamesEdit

Production on The Last Remnant began after the remake of Romancing SaGa for the PlayStation 2 was completed.[4] Kawazu was also involved in the development of "It's New Frontier" (sic).[5] During the development of Final Fantasy XII, Yasumi Matsuno, who was the lead on the game, left half way through, and Kawazu took over.[6]

Game styleEdit

Board games such as Avalon Hill and Dungeons & Dragons influence a lot of Kawazu's development process.[3] When creating a new game, he examines the elements like a board game and makes that the working foundation.[3]



  1. ^ a b Winkler, Chris; Eve C. (2003-03-02). "Creator's Talk Interview #1: Akitoshi Kawazu". RPGFan. Archived from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
  2. ^ "IGN - Sony buys stake in Square". Archived from the original on 2013-12-28. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jeremy Parish (2012-12-01). "What's the Deal with Square Enix's Akitoshi Kawazu?". Archived from the original on 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  4. ^ Doerr, Nick (June 2, 2007). "Some news on Last Remnant -- SaGa Frontier 3, almost". Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  5. ^ a b Spencer (August 25, 2009). "It's New Frontier, It's A New Square Enix Sim Game". Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
  6. ^ Fahey, Rob (October 31, 2006). "This Great Fantasy". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on January 25, 2009. Retrieved 2013-02-28.