Motomu Toriyama

Motomu Toriyama (鳥山 求, Toriyama Motomu) is a Japanese game director and scenario writer who has been working for Square Enix since 1994. He initially worked on cutscenes in Bahamut Lagoon and Final Fantasy VII before serving as one of the 3 directors on Final Fantasy X under Yoshinori Kitase where he was incharge of events.

Motomu Toriyama
Motomu Toriyama - Game Developers Conference 2010.jpg
Motomu Toriyama at the 2010 Game Developers Conference
Born (1971-02-09) 9 February 1971 (age 50)
OccupationDirector and scenario writer of video games at Square Enix.

Toriyama started directing himself with Final Fantasy X-2 and has continued doing so with Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Blood of Bahamut, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and Mobius Final Fantasy.

He also co-directed the Final Fantasy VII Remake and is part of the Final Fantasy Committee that is tasked with keeping the franchise's releases and content consistent.[1]


Motomu Toriyama joined Square around the time of the Final Fantasy VI launch in 1994. He later mentioned that he enjoyed how everyone on the development team had the opportunity to contribute their ideas without any solid job description. He was assigned to work on Bahamut Lagoon as his first project due to his lack of game development experience.[2] For Final Fantasy VII, Toriyama designed events such as the ones taking place at the Honey Bee Inn. As the designers were given much artistic freedom, he would often create cutscenes that were unlikely to be approved and thus were eventually changed or removed.[3][4] Toriyama also wrote and directed many of the scenes revolving around the romance between Aerith Gainsborough and Cloud Strife. He tried to make Aerith an important character to the player in order to maximize the impact of her death later in the plot.[4]

After the merger between Square and Enix in 2003, many rookie staff members had to be trained and there were more new platforms to develop for with the release of the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable. Toriyama decided to assemble and direct a team of scenario writers and joined various game projects.[2] He later collaborated with Final Fantasy X main programmer Koji Sugimoto and supervisor Yoshinori Kitase to create a Final Fantasy VII tech demo for the PlayStation 3. Development of this took around 6 weeks.[5] During the first year after the development start of Final Fantasy XIII in April 2004, Toriyama thought up a story premised on the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology created by Kazushige Nojima. In March 2006, when the structural part of the narrative started to come together and lead scenario writer Daisuke Watanabe joined the team, Toriyama showed him a rough outline of what he had written and asked him to flesh out the story and to correct how everything would connect.[6]

Toriyama has been the scenario director and supervisor on games in the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series as well as Dissidia: Final Fantasy and The 3rd Birthday, which entailed the creation of a story concept and the supervision of the character conception and scenario writing by his team of authors.[2][7][8] For Lightning Returns, he added an online communication system known as the "Outerworld Services". Among others, it enabled players to write posts on social networks that would then appear as a non-playable character's comment in another player's game. Toriyama's goal with this was to create an online community where the individual members would interact and enjoy the game's world together without being online at the same time, as a precursor to online features found in eight-generation video game consoles.[9] The main ideas for all the areas in Lightning Returns came from him as well.[10]

Toriyama has been incharge of the music for all of the games he's directed since Final Fantasy X.[11] With Final Fantasy XIII he wrote lyrics for the first time and again did so for its two sequels and later Mobius Final Fantasy. With Final Fantasy VII Remake he wrote all of the song titles for the first time in addition to again writing lyrics.

Game design

Toriyama believes his strength is in directing games that are very story-driven.[12] He also thinks that it becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when the player is given a huge amount of freedom to explore.[13] According to him, the most important aspect of a Final Fantasy game is the characters.[14] Toriyama explains that there are different approaches to creating a protagonist: with Yuna from Final Fantasy X, the general plot had already been set when the character was conceived; with Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII instead, the character's personality was decided upon before the backstory was written. He feels that a developer needs to "essentially fall in love at first sight with a character" to "keep [themselves] going". Toriyama considers the voice the "main image of the character" and thus "the most delicate part of making the character".[15]

Toriyama has stated that the aim of the linear game design used in the first half of Final Fantasy XIII was to feel like watching a film. This was done to absorb the player into the story and to introduce them to the characters and their battle abilities without becoming distracted or lost.[16] Toriyama explained that the amount of memory and processing power needed to produce impressive graphics was the main reason not to have a seamless battle system for Final Fantasy XIII. He is interested in using first-person shooter games for inspiration rather than Western role-playing video games, as he believes they give a better sense of tension during battles.[17] Toriyama would later use games such as Red Dead Redemption and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as inspirations for Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, respectively.[18][19] He feels that his role of director marked a shift from creating a game world based on his own vision to unifying a team's ideas into a cohesive whole.[20]


Video games

Year Title Credit(s) Ref.
1996 Bahamut Lagoon Story event planner
1997 Final Fantasy VII Event planner, submarine chase section planner
1999 Racing Lagoon Scenario writer, event and map planner
2001 Final Fantasy X Event director, scenario writer [21]
2003 Final Fantasy X-2 Director
2007 Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings Director, scenario writer,[22][23] event direction
2008 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King Scenario writer [24]
Dissidia: Final Fantasy Scenario supervisor
2009 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord Scenario director
Blood of Bahamut Director, scenario writer
Fullmetal Alchemist: Prince of the Dawn Scenario director [25]
Final Fantasy XIII Director, scenario designer (story outline),[6] lyrics[26]
2010 Front Mission Evolved Senior scriptwriter
The 3rd Birthday Scenario director
2011 Imaginary Range Supervisor
Fortune Street Text writing
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Director, lyrics [27]
2013 Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Scenario writer (Lightning Strikes event) [28]
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Director, lyrics [29]
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Supervisor
2014 Spirit Yankee Soul Scenario director (Racing Lagoon event) [30]
2015 Mobius Final Fantasy Director,[31] lyrics
2017 Itadaki Street: Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Scenario supervisor
2020 Final Fantasy VII Remake Co-director, scenario design, original lyrics, song titles

Other media

Release Title Credit(s) Ref.
2009 Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero: Promise Original concept [32][33]
2010 Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero: Promise Fabula Nova Dramatica Alpha [34]
Final Fantasy XIII Side Story: A Dreaming Cocoon Falls into the Dawn [35]
Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero: Promise Fabula Nova Dramatica Omega [36]
Final Fantasy XIII: Episode i [37]
2011 Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before [38][39]
2012 Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments After [40][41]
2013[A] Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Chronicle of a Chaotic Era [42]
2014 Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories- [43]


  • A The novel was cancelled due to the author falling ill, however material from it would be Incorporated into Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories-.[42][43]


  1. ^ "What Does Square Enix's Final Fantasy Committee Do?". Siliconera. March 25, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Tong, Sophia (12 March 2010). "FFXIII director intends to keep series story-driven". GameSpot. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  3. ^ Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega (in Japanese). Square Enix. p. 569.
  4. ^ a b Cook, Dave (3 October 2012). "Final Fantasy anniversary interview: Toriyama speaks". videogaming247 Ltd. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  5. ^ "FFX producer developing PS3 Final Fantasy?". GameSpot. June 8, 2005. Archived from the original on 2011-08-15.
  6. ^ a b Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania (in Japanese). Tokyo: Studio Bentstuff. 2010-02-01. p. 388. ISBN 978-4-7575-2775-1.
  7. ^ Toriyama, Motomu (2009-06-25). "From Creator". Square Enix. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
  8. ^ Toriyama, Motomu (2010-11-22). "クリエイターズ メッセージ vol.3". Square Enix. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
  9. ^ "[E3 2013]「LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII」は3部作の完結編であり,次世代への一歩でもある。北瀬佳範氏&鳥山 求氏インタビュー". June 13, 2013.
  11. ^ "『FF7 リメイク』音楽面の全貌を把握している鳥山氏が曲名に込めた想いとは――音楽関連インタビューその1:鳥山求氏". Famitsu. April 13, 2020.
  12. ^ Christian Nutt (March 10, 2010). "GDC: FF XIII Director - Production Drove Content Decisions, Elements Will Return". Gamasutra.
  13. ^ Tim Ingham (February 16, 2010). "Final Fantasy XIII boss responds to review scores". Computer and Video Games. Archived from the original on May 8, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  14. ^ "FINAL FANTASY XIII Official Release Date Announcement Trailer". Square Enix Co., Ltd. Retrieved 18 April 2011. Motomu Toriyama: The most important element of FINAL FANTASY is the characters.
  15. ^ Gifford, Kevin (30 March 2011). "Motomu Toriyama Talks About Making Heroines". Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  16. ^ "News - Director: Motomu Toriyama". FINAL FANTASY XIII Official site. Square Enix Co., Ltd. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  17. ^ Lynch, Gerald (19 February 2010). "Final Fantasy XIII 's Motomu Toriyama and Yoshinori Kitase - Interview". News. Tech Digest. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  18. ^ "FFXIII-2: Multiple endings confirmed, inspired by RDR, HD towns "too boring"". VG247. June 9, 2011.
  19. ^ "Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Interview with Motomu Toriyama and Yoshinori Kitase". Nova Crystallis. March 21, 2013.
  20. ^ "LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII - Inside the Square - Director's Cut - 27:45". Square Enix. February 4, 2014.
  21. ^ Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy X Ultimania Omega (in Japanese). Square Enix. pp. 191–193, 476.
  23. ^ Harris, Craig (May 16, 2007). "Interview: Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings". IGN. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  24. ^ Square Enix (March 25, 2008). Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King (Wii). Square Enix. Scene: credits.
  26. ^ Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack Limited Edition. 2010-01-27. SQEX-10178~82.
  27. ^ Final Fantasy XIII-2 Original Soundtrack. 2011-12-14. SQEX-10296~9.
  28. ^ "[TGS 2013]「新生FFXIV」に登場する「LRFF13」コラボはハイクオリティ。「出張プロデューサーレターLIVE in 幕張」(22日分)をレポート". September 22, 2013.
  29. ^ Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack. 2013-11-21. SQEX-10392~5.
  30. ^ "Square Enix's Latest Countdown Wasn't As… Badass As Expected". Siliconera. November 7, 2014.
  32. ^ "Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-". Square Enix. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  33. ^ "Final Fantasy XIII: Episode Zero: Promise". Yen Press.
  34. ^ "Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica α". Sony. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  35. ^ Benny Matsuyama. Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega (in Japanese). Square Enix.
  36. ^ "Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Ω". Sony. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  37. ^ Jun Eishima. Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-. Square Enix.
  38. ^ "小説ファイナルファンタジー XIII-2 Fragments Before". Square Enix. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  39. ^ "Final Fantasy XIII-2: Fragments Before". Yen Press.
  40. ^ "小説ファイナルファンタジーXIII-2 Fragments After". Square Enix. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  41. ^ "Final Fantasy XIII-2: Fragments After". Yen Press.
  42. ^ a b "Release of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Novel Canceled Due to the Author's Illness". DualShockers. November 26, 2013.
  43. ^ a b "『ファイナルファンタジーXIII REMINISCENCE -tracer of memories-』著者、渡辺大祐氏にインタビュー" [Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories-: Interview with author Daisuke Watanabe]. Famitsu. 2014-07-11. Archived from the original on 2014-07-11. Retrieved 2014-07-11.

External links