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Yuji Horii

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Yuji Horii
堀井 雄二
Horii in 2011
Born (1954-01-06) January 6, 1954 (age 70)
Alma materWaseda University
  • Author
  • game designer
  • writer
Years active1982–present
EmployerArmor Project
Notable work

Yuji Horii (堀井 雄二, Horii Yūji, born January 6, 1954) is a Japanese author, video game designer, writer and director best known as the creator of the Dragon Quest franchise,[1] supervising and writing the scenario for Chrono Trigger, and The Portopia Serial Murder Case, released in 1983 as one of the first visual novel adventure games.[2][3]

Horii is CEO of his own company, Armor Project, a company that has an exclusive production contract with Square Enix,[4] a contract established with Enix before the company merged with Square, and is also one of the companies who co-own the Dragon Quest franchise alongside Square Enix.


Horii was born on January 6, 1954, in Awaji Island, Japan. He graduated from Waseda University's Department of Literature. He also worked as a freelance writer for newspapers, comics, and magazines, including the Famicom Shinken video games column that ran in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1985 to 1988.[5]

He then entered in an Enix-sponsored game programming contest, where he placed with Love Match Tennis, a tennis video game, motivating him to become a video game designer.[6]

Horii then created The Portopia Serial Murder Case by himself,[7] a game that later inspired Hideo Kojima (of Metal Gear fame) to enter the video game industry.[2][3] It is the first part of the Yuji Horii Mysteries trilogy, along with its successors Okhotsk ni Kiyu: Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin (1984) and Karuizawa Yūkai Annai (1985).

After creating several more visual novel adventure games, Horii went on to create Dragon Quest, which is said to have created the blueprint for Japanese console role-playing games, taking inspiration from Portopia,[8] as well as Wizardry[8] and Ultima.[1]

He was a fan of Apple PC role-playing games and was motivated to create Dragon Quest for ordinary gamers, who found such games difficult, and thus he worked on an intuitive control system,[9] influenced by his work on Portopia.[8]

His works also include the Itadaki Street series. Horii was also a supervisor of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System game, Chrono Trigger, which had multiple game endings, with Horii appearing in one of the endings with the game development staff.

He is on the selection committee for the annual Super Dash Novel Rookie of the Year Award.


Year Title Role
1983 Love Match Tennis Game design, programmer
The Portopia Serial Murder Case Game design, programmer, scenario
1984 Okhotsk ni Kiyu: Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin Jiken [ja] Game design, scenario
1985 Karuizawa Yūkai Annai Game design, programmer, scenario
1986 Dragon Quest Game design, scenario
1987 Dragon Quest II
1988 Dragon Quest III
1990 Dragon Quest IV
1991 Itadaki Street: Watashi no Omise ni Yottette Game design
Famicom Jump II: Saikyō no Shichinin Scenario supervisor
1992 Dragon Quest V Game design, scenario
1994 Itadaki Street 2 Game design
1995 Chrono Trigger Supervisor
Dragon Quest VI Game design, scenario
1998 Itadaki Street: Gorgeous King
Dragon Quest Monsters Executive director, game design, scenario
2000 Dragon Quest VII Game design, scenario
2001 Dragon Quest Monsters 2 Executive director, game design, scenario
2002 Itadaki Street 3 Original planning, supervisor
Torneko's Great Adventure 3 Supervisor
2003 Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart Executive producer
Kenshin Dragon Quest
Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest
2004 Dragon Quest VIII Game design, scenario
Itadaki Street Special Original planning, supervisor
2005 Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime Executive producer
2006 Itadaki Street Portable Original planning, supervisor
Dragon Quest: Young Yangus and the Mystery Dungeon General director
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker General director, game design, scenario
2007 Itadaki Street DS Game design
Dragon Quest Swords General director, game design, scenario
2009 Dragon Quest Wars General director
Dragon Quest IX Game design, scenario
2010 Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 General director
2011 Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest 3 Supervisor
Fortune Street Game design
2012 Dragon Quest X General director, game design, scenario
2015 Dragon Quest Heroes I General director
Theatrhythm Dragon Quest
2016 Dragon Quest Builders
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3
Dragon Quest Heroes II
2017 Dragon Quest XI Game design, scenario
Itadaki Street: Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Original planning, supervisor
Dragon Quest Rivals General director
2018 Dragon Quest Builders 2
2019 Dragon Quest Walk
2022 Dragon Quest Treasures General director, voice of Yuji the King Slime
2023 Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai General director
Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince
TBA Dragon Quest XII Game design, scenario


Horii received an award at the 2009 Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association developers conference and a lifetime achievement award at the 2022 Game Developers Conference for his work on Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger.[10][11]


  • "Square Enix Co., Ltd. 2004 Annual Report" (PDF). Square Enix. March 31, 2004. p. 70. Retrieved September 18, 2006.
  1. ^ a b Nintendo Power November 2007. Future US, Inc. 2007. pp. 77–80.
  2. ^ a b Szczepaniak, John (February 2011). "Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken". Retro Gamer. Archived from the original on September 26, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2011. (Reprinted at Szczepaniak, John. "Retro Gamer 85". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on April 12, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2011.)
  3. ^ a b Kasavin, Greg (March 21, 2005). ""Everything is Possible": Inside the Minds of Gaming's Master Storytellers". GameSpot. CNET Networks. p. 2. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2007.
  4. ^ "Top 100 Game Creators of All Time". IGN. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  5. ^ Fujii, Daiji (2003). "Entrepreneurial Choices of Strategic Options in Japan's RPG Development" (PDF). p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 30, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2006.
  6. ^ "Dragon Quest 30th Anniversary Special". Shmuplations. Archived from the original on March 15, 2023. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  7. ^ "1994 Game Developers - Interview Collection". Shmuplations. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c "East and West, Warrior and Quest: A Dragon Quest Retrospective". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  9. ^ "Yuji Horii". Retro Gamer (97). Imagine Publishing: 72–73. 2011.
  10. ^ Graft, Kris (September 4, 2009). "Dragon Quest Creator Yuji Hori Headlines Awards". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on February 20, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  11. ^ Lada, Jenni (March 24, 2022). "Dragon Quest Creator Yuji Horii Gets GDC 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award". Siliconera. Archived from the original on March 24, 2022. Retrieved March 24, 2022.

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