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Motomu Toriyama

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Motomu Toriyama
Motomu Toriyama - Game Developers Conference 2010.jpg
Motomu Toriyama at the 2010 Game Developers Conference.
Born February 9[1]
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Director and scenario writer of video games at Square Enix.

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. Toriyama started directing with Final Fantasy X-2 and continued doing so with large-scale projects such as Final Fantasy XIII. Since 2003, he has been directing his own team of scenario writers at the company. Toriyama sees his strength in developing story-driven games with emphasis on characters. Toriyama is a member of Square Enix's Business Division 1.[2] Toriyama is also a member of the Final Fantasy Committee.[3]

Toriyama revealed at the end of 2014 that he was hard at work on the next project.[4] Square Enix confirmed in January 2016 that the project Toriyama is working on is still in development and they hope to share more information this year.[5][6][7]


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.[8] 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.[9][10] 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.[10]

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.[8] 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.[11] 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.[12] In recent years, Toriyama was 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.[8][13][14]

Game design

Toriyama believes his strength is in directing games that are very story-driven.[15] 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.[16] According to him, the most important aspect of a Final Fantasy game is the characters.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

The position in the story and role in battle of the female character is dependent on the game Toriyama is working on. He does not base heroines on real people as he always tries to make a unique world in a Final Fantasy game. However, he thinks that there is a constant challenge to make new characters not overlap with previous ones from the series. Toriyama has noted that, considering the long development period of a Final Fantasy game, he would need to essentially "fall in love at first sight" with a character so he can really have the high morale and motivation to keep creating the game. He also said that he places emphasis on the actors' movements and voice to portray a character. This begins with the motion-capture process, whose direction is the basis for the personification. According to Toriyama, the recorded voice acting finally becomes the most important part of a character's creation and identity.[20]


Release Title System Credit(s)
1996 Bahamut Lagoon Super Nintendo Entertainment System Story event planner
1997 Final Fantasy VII PlayStation Event planner, submarine chase section planner
1999 Racing Lagoon PlayStation Scenario writer, event and map planner
2001 Final Fantasy X PlayStation 2 Event director, scenario writer
2003 Final Fantasy X-2 PlayStation 2 Director
2005 Final Fantasy VII: Technical Demo for PS3 PlayStation 3 Developer[11]
2007 Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings Nintendo DS Director, scenario and event direction
2007 The World Ends with You Nintendo DS Special thanks
2007 Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII PlayStation Portable Special thanks
2008 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King Wii Scenario director
2008 Dissidia: Final Fantasy PlayStation Portable Scenario supervisor
2009 Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Nintendo DS Special thanks
2009 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord Wii Scenario director
2009 Blood of Bahamut Nintendo DS Director, scenario writer
2009 Fullmetal Alchemist: Prince of the Dawn Wii Scenario
2009 Final Fantasy XIII PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Director, scenario designer (story outline)[12]
2010 Front Mission Evolved PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows Senior scriptwriter
2010 The 3rd Birthday PlayStation Portable Scenario director
2011 Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy PlayStation Portable Special thanks
2011 Imaginary Range iOS, Android Supervisor
2011 Final Fantasy Type-0 PlayStation Portable Special thanks
2011 Fortune Street Wii Text writing
2011 Final Fantasy XIII-2 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Director
2013 Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Director
2013 Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita Supervisor
2014 Yantama RE:Union (Racing Lagoon expansion) iOS, Android Scenario director
2015 Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster PlayStation 4 Special thanks
TBA Next Project Unknown


  1. ^ "Happy Birthday message on Bahamut Lagoon credits". Square Enix. February 9, 1996. 
  2. ^ "Motomu Toriyama is in Square Enix Business Division 1". Famitsu. December 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Final Fantasy Committee members". Siliconera. October 17, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Motomu Toriyama hard at work on the next project". December 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Toriyama's new project is still in development". January 5, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Motomu Toriyama's new project is still in development". MakuXV. January 7, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Motomu Toriyama's new project is still in development". SQEXBD1. January 12, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c Tong, Sophia (12 March 2010). "FFXIII director intends to keep series story-driven". GameSpot. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  9. ^ Studio BentStuff. Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega (in Japanese). Square Enix. p. 569. 
  10. ^ a b Cook, Dave (3 October 2012). "Final Fantasy anniversary interview: Toriyama speaks". videogaming247 Ltd. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "FFX producer developing PS3 Final Fantasy?". GameSpot. June 8, 2005. 
  12. ^ a b Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania (in Japanese). Tokyo: Studio Bentstuff. 2010-02-01. p. 388. ISBN 4-7575-2775-6. 
  13. ^ Toriyama, Motomu (2009-06-25). "From Creator". Square Enix. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ Christian Nutt (March 10, 2010). "GDC: FF XIII Director - Production Drove Content Decisions, Elements Will Return". Gamasutra. 
  16. ^ Tim Ingham (February 16, 2010). "Final Fantasy XIII boss responds to review scores". Computer and Video Games. 
  17. ^ "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. 
  18. ^ "News - Director: Motomu Toriyama". FINAL FANTASY XIII Official site. Square Enix Co., Ltd. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  19. ^ Lynch, Gerald (19 February 2010). "Final Fantasy XIII 's Motomu Toriyama and Yoshinori Kitase - Interview". News. Tech Digest. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  20. ^ Gifford, Kevin (30 March 2011). "Motomu Toriyama Talks About Making Heroines". Retrieved 2 April 2011. 

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