Hitoshi Sakimoto

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Hitoshi Sakimoto
崎元 仁
Sakimoto in 2004
Born (1969-02-26) February 26, 1969 (age 55)
Tokyo, Japan
Other namesYmoH.S
  • Composer
  • sound producer
Years active1988–present
Musical career
  • Symphonic
  • electronica

Hitoshi Sakimoto (崎元 仁, Sakimoto Hitoshi, born February 26, 1969) is a Japanese composer and sound producer. He is best known for scoring the video games Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XII, though he has composed soundtracks for over 80 other games. Sakimoto first played music and video games in elementary school and began composing music professionally in 1988. He worked at the video game company Square from 1997 to 2002, leaving in order to found the music and sound production company Basiscape.


Early life[edit]

Sakimoto was born on February 26, 1969, in Tokyo, Japan. He began developing an interest in music beginning in elementary school, when he taught himself to play the piano and electronic organ and participated in some brass and rock bands.[1] A fan of video games, he began creating his own games in junior high school with some friends.[2] While in his senior high school years, Sakimoto wrote for the computer magazine Oh!FM and compiled data about pieces of music he liked, becoming a self-professed "computer, games, and music geek".[1]

Sakimoto started composing for games when he was 16, and was paid to both create the music and the program to play it for several games.[3] Composing for these games was the first time he had ever composed music for any instrument.[4] His debut as a professional gaming composer came in 1988, when he and his friend Masaharu Iwata, whom he has worked with on numerous later titles, scored the shooter game Revolter, published by ASCGroup for the NEC PC-8801. Sakimoto also created the synthesizer driver "Terpsichorean" to enhance the sound quality of the game's music; the synthesizer driver has been implemented into many games throughout the Japanese game market in the early 1990s. Despite Revolter's success, he continued with his previous goal to become a video game programmer rather than a composer; however, his friends and colleagues encouraged him to continue composing game music. The recognition he gained within the gaming industry jump-started his career.[3][5]


After Revolter, Sakimoto's music and synthesizer driver earned him immediate recognition in the industry, resulting in him being asked to score several PC-9801 and Mega Drive games such as Starship Rendezvous and Gauntlet IV, as well as use his driver both in the scores he wrote and for other games.[1] Between 1990 and 1992, Sakimoto worked on over 20 different video games for several different companies such as Toshiba EMI, Artec, and Data East.[5] It was during this time that he composed his first solo score in 1990 for Bubble Ghost.[1]

Sakimoto's first encounter with mainstream success in Japan came about in 1993 when he composed Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. The game was directed by Yasumi Matsuno, and since the release of the title, he has chosen Sakimoto as a regular for his development team at Quest and later Square. Sakimoto also worked on 14 other titles that year, including Shin Megami Tensei and Alien vs. Predator. Over the next few years, he would go on to compose for or work on over 40 more titles such as Tactics Ogre.[5] In 1997, Sakimoto joined Square and composed the score for Final Fantasy Tactics, which made him internationally famous, and was the score he was best known for outside Japan until at least 2006.[3][6] Although he worked on a handful of titles by other companies over the next few years, his next work for Square did not come until 2000, with the successful Vagrant Story.[5] It was his last score as an employee of Square; although he went on to first compose Breath of Fire V and Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis for Capcom and Quest, after a couple of years of planning he resigned from Square to form his own music production company, Basiscape, in October 2002.[1]


Basiscape is a music and sound production studio founded by Sakimoto in 2002. The company has contributed to video games, anime, and films. Sakimoto says that he left Square to found the company because he wanted more freedom in choosing his projects.[7] At its founding, it had only three members: Sakimoto, Iwata, and Manabu Namiki. Through Basiscape, Sakimoto continued to compose for several different companies, including Square Enix. The company expanded in the mid-2000s with the addition of Mitsuhiro Kaneda, Kimihiro Abe, Noriyuki Kamikura, Yoshimi Kudo, and Azusa Chiba.[8][9][3] Members of the company are free to procure personal work as well as collaborate with other members on projects.[10] The company launched a record label in 2009.[11]

Other projects[edit]

Sakimoto has also been involved in non-gaming projects during his career.[1] He contributed one track each to the albums Ten Plants (1998) and 2197 (1999), which feature music from various well-known artists.[12][13] Sakimoto collaborated with singer Lia in 2005 to create the music for the album Colors of Life.[1] He composed the music for two anime series; Romeo x Juliet (2007) and The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk (2008); as well as the original video animation (OVA) Legend of Phoenix ~Layla Hamilton Monogatari~ in 2005.[3]


Yasunori Mitsuda and Sakimoto in 2007

Sakimoto has made numerous appearances at video game concerts that have performed his compositions. He, along with Yoko Shimomura and Michael Salvatori, were special guests at a July 2006 Play! A Video Game Symphony event at the Orchestra Hall in Detroit.[14] He has developed a strong relationship with the Australian-based Eminence Symphony Orchestra.[15] Sakimoto and Yasunori Mitsuda made guest appearances at their Passion event in December 2006. In April 2007, he appeared at Eminence's A Night in Fantasia 2007: Symphonic Games Edition, which featured three of his compositions.[16] Sakimoto and Mitsuda collaborated with Eminence in July the same year to create Destiny: Reunion, a concert held exclusively in Japan.[17] Eminence released Passion (2006) and Destiny: Dreamer's Alliance (2007), two studio recorded albums that feature various compositions from the Passion and Destiny: Reunion concerts respectively.[18] "Penelo's Theme" from Final Fantasy XII and a medley of pieces from Final Fantasy Tactics A2 were played at the Fantasy Comes Alive concert in Singapore in April 2010.[19]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Sakimoto composes his music by playing the pieces "briefly on the piano", and then working on a computer for more detailed arrangements.[6] The style of Sakimoto's compositions is mostly orchestral; he creates the orchestral sound by playing the music through a sequencer instead of using a real orchestra due to the high cost. When composing a soundtrack for a video game, Sakimoto first sits down with the director or producer of the game and works out what emotions they want the game to evoke in the player, and after making a demo for them, sets out to create music that fits that feeling.[4] He claims that his style of composition does not change when he works on non-game works such as anime series, saying that only the tone of the pieces is different.[15] He attributes any changes in his style over the years to his desire to constantly keep growing and learning new styles and techniques, saying that if you have not moved forward in your skill and style over time, "you've wasted your time".[4]

He has stated that his biggest musical influences are "old techno and progressive rock" groups such as the Japanese synthpop group Yellow Magic Orchestra.[20][15] When he was starting out in the field of music, he went under the pseudonym "YmoH.S", a reference to Yellow Magic Orchestra. He also cites the American jazz musician Chick Corea as a major influence.[1] While creating the music for Final Fantasy XII, however, his biggest musical inspiration was former regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. Sakimoto enjoys listening to techno and jazz fusion in his spare time.[21] While he sometimes gets inspiration while relaxing at home, Sakimoto feels that his best ideas come to him while he is at his studio concentrating. He cited Vagrant Story as one of his favorite soundtracks.[4]

Notable works[edit]

Video games[edit]

Video game works
Year Title Role(s) Ref.
1991 Devilish Music [5]
Verytex Music with Masaharu Iwata and Yoshio Furukawa [5]
Magical Chase Music with Masaharu Iwata [5]
1993 Gauntlet IV Music with Masaharu Iwata [5]
Ogre Battle Music with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo [5]
1994 X-Kaliber 2097 Music with Hayato Matsuo [5]
Kingdom Grand Prix Music with Masaharu Iwata [5]
1995 Tactics Ogre Music with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo [5]
1996 Treasure Hunter G Music with several others [5]
Terra Diver Music [5]
1997 Bloody Roar Music with several others [5]
Final Fantasy Tactics Music with Masaharu Iwata [5]
1998 Radiant Silvergun Music [5]
Armed Police Batrider Music with Kenichi Koyano and Manabu Namiki [5]
1999 Ogre Battle 64 Music with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo [5]
2000 Vagrant Story Music [5]
2001 Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis Music with Masaharu Iwata [5]
Legaia 2: Duel Saga Music with Yasunori Mitsuda and Michiru Oshima [5]
Tekken Advance Music with Atsuhiro Motoyama [5]
2002 Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter Music [5]
2003 Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Music with Ayako Saso, Kaori Ohkoshi, and Nobuo Uematsu [5]
2004 Gradius V Music [5]
Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity Music with Masaharu Iwata [5]
2006 Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner Music with several others [5]
Fantasy Earth Zero Music with Masaharu Iwata, Manabu Namiki, and Kenichi Koyano [5]
Final Fantasy XII Music [5]
Battle Stadium D.O.N Music with Basiscape [5]
Digimon World Data Squad Music with Basiscape [5]
2007 GrimGrimoire Music with Basiscape [5]
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions Music with Masaharu Iwata [5]
Odin Sphere Music with Basiscape [5]
ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat Music with Masaharu Iwata [5]
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 Music with Ayako Saso, Kaori Ohkoshi, and Mitsuhiro Kaneda [5]
Opoona Music with Basiscape [5]
Deltora Quest: The Seven Gems Music with Basiscape [5]
2008 Valrkyria Chronicles Music [5]
The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road Music with Kimihiro Abe, Masaharu Iwata, and Michiko Naruke [5]
Coded Soul Music with Basiscape [5]
2009 Muramasa: The Demon Blade Music with Basiscape [5]
Tekken 6 Music with Basiscape and others [5]
Lord of Vermilion II Music [5]
2010 Valkyria Chronicles II Music [5]
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together Remake; music with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo [5]
2011 Valkyria Chronicles III Music [5]
2013 Dragon's Crown Music [5]
2014 Terra Battle Music with Nobuo Uematsu, Kenji Ito, Yoko Shimomura, and Yasunori Mitsuda [5]
2015 Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey Music [22]
2016 Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Music with Basiscape [5]
2017 Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Music [23]
2018 Valkyria Chronicles 4 Music [24]
2019 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Music with Basiscape [5]
2020 Unsung Story Music; early access release [25]
2021 Astria Ascending Music with Basiscape [26]
2022 Little Noah: Scion of Paradise Music [27]
Tactics Ogre: Reborn Music with Basiscape [28]
2024 Unicorn Overlord Music with Basiscape
2025 Lost Hellden Music [29]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Greening, Chris (20 January 2013). "Hitoshi Sakimoto Profile". Video Game Music Online. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  2. ^ "Hitoshi Sakimoto - Profile". CocoeBiz. Archived from the original on 2008-10-02. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Credits". Hitoshi Sakimoto's official website. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  4. ^ a b c d Sakimoto, Hitoshi; Kennedy, Sam (2007-10-30). "Final Fantasy XII Composer Hitoshi Sakimoto Interview from 1UP.com". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-14. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az "Basiscape Artists - Hitoshi Sakimoto". Basiscape.com. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  6. ^ a b Sakimoto, Hitoshi (2006-10-24). "Twelve Days of Final Fantasy XII: Hitoshi Sakimoto Interview Part I". IGN. Archived from the original on 2007-02-12. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  7. ^ Winkler, Chris. "RPGFan Exclusive Interview #4: Hitoshi Sakimoto, Composer, Basiscape". RPGFan. Archived from the original on 2020-07-05. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  8. ^ "Basiscape". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  9. ^ "Basiscape :: Composers". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  10. ^ Sakimoto, Hitoshi; Napolitano, Jason (2009-04-02). "GDC 2009: Shooting The Breeze With Hitoshi Sakimoto". Original Sound Version. Archived from the original on 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  11. ^ Rojek, Kamil (2010-10-15). "Hitoshi Sakimoto Interview: A General Introduction". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  12. ^ Ten Plants. Biosphere Records (1998-04-22). BICA-5001.
  13. ^ 2197. Troubadour Records (1999-04-18). TTRC-0028.
  14. ^ "Hitoshi Sakimoto to attend Detroit concert". PLAY! A Video Game Symphony. 2006-05-23. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  15. ^ a b c Shea, Cam (2007-02-15). "Hitoshi Sakimoto AU Interview". IGN. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  16. ^ Shea, Cam (2007-05-04). "A Night in Fantasia 2007 Photos". IGN. Archived from the original on May 8, 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  17. ^ Kermarrec, Jérémie; Jeriaska (2008-10-15). "Interview with Yasunori Mitsuda". RPGFan. Archived from the original on 2016-08-05. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  18. ^ "Portfolio". Eminence Symphony Orchestra. Archived from the original on 2009-07-30. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  19. ^ "Fantasy Comes Alive :: Report by Between Moments". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
  20. ^ Sakimoto, Hitoshi; Larsen, Phil (2006-11-06). "Hitoshi Sakimoto Interview". PALGN. Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  21. ^ Sakimoto, Hitoshi (2006-10-25). "Twelve Days of Final Fantasy XII: Hitoshi Sakimoto Interview Part II". IGN. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  22. ^ Moriarty, Colin (19 September 2014). "TGS 2014: Introducing Zodiac, a New JRPG for PS Vita". IGN. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  23. ^ Sato (13 April 2017). "Revisit Ivalice In Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Original Soundtrack Trailer". siliconera.com. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  24. ^ Mathew, Gallagher (20 November 2017). "Hitoshi Sakimoto to compose Valkyria Chronicles 4". Video Game Music Online. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  25. ^ White, Lucas (2 January 2019). "Hitoshi Sakimoto's Unsung Story Soundtrack is Finished, and You can Listen to a Sample". PlayStation Lifestyle. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  26. ^ Vitale, Adam. "Traditionally styled RPG Astria Ascending set to release for consoles and PC in 2021". RPG Site. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  27. ^ Lada, Jenni (5 July 2022). "Review: Little Noah has a Winning Formula". Siliconera. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  28. ^ Romano, Sal (4 August 2022). "Tactics Ogre: Reborn announced for PS5, PS4, Switch, and PC". Gematsu. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  29. ^ Vitale, Adam. "Artisan Studios announces Lost Hellden, a 'hand painted' JRPG set to release for consoles and PC in 2025". RPG Site. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  30. ^ a b c d e "Hitoshi Sakimoto". Video Game Music Database. January 1, 2020. Retrieved May 31, 2020.

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