Yuji Horii

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Yuji Horii
Born 堀井 雄二
(1954-01-06) January 6, 1954 (age 64)
Sumoto, Hyōgo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Other names Yuuji Horii
Education Waseda University
Occupation Video game designer, writer, author
Known for Creator of Dragon Quest series
Notable work Dragon Quest series

Yuji Horii (堀井 雄二, Horii Yūji) (also written as Yuuji Horii) (born January 6, 1954 in Awaji Island, Japan) is a Japanese video game designer and scenario writer best known as the creator of the Dragon Quest series of role-playing games,[1] supervising and writing the scenario for Chrono Trigger, as well as the first visual novel adventure game Portopia Serial Murder Case.[2][3]


Horii 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.[4] 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. Horii then created Portopia Serial Murder Case, 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 Yuuji 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,[5] as well as Wizardry[5] 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,[6] influenced by his work on Portopia.[5]

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.

Horii currently heads his own production company, Armor Project, a company that has an exclusive production contract with Square Enix,[7] a contract established with Enix before the company merged with Square. He is currently working on Dragon Quest XI. He is on the selection committee for the annual Super Dash Novel Rookie of the Year Award.

Published works[edit]

Title Year of release Primary platform Scenario writer Video game design Producer Other
Love Match Tennis 1983 NEC PC-6001 - - - Developer
The Portopia Serial Murder Case Green tickY - - Developer
Okhotsk ni Kiyu: Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin Jiken 1984 NEC PC-8801 Green tickY - - -
Karuizawa Yūkai Annai 1985 Green tickY - - -
Dragon Quest 1986 NES Green tickY - - -
Dragon Quest II 1987 Green tickY - - -
Dragon Quest III 1988 Green tickY - - -
Dragon Quest IV 1990 Green tickY - - -
Famicom Jump II 1991 Green tickY - - Scenario Supervisor
Itadaki Street: Watashi no Omise ni Yottette 1991 - Green tickY - -
Dragon Quest V 1992 Super NES Green tickY Green tickY - -
Itadaki Street 2 1994 - Green tickY - -
Dragon Quest VI 1995 Green tickY Green tickY - -
Chrono Trigger Green tickY - - Supervisor
Dragon Quest Monsters 1998 Game Boy Color Green tickY Green tickY - Executive director
Itadaki Street: Gorgeous King 1998 PlayStation - Green tickY - -
Torneko: The Last Hope 1999 Green tickY - - -
Dragon Quest VII 2000 Green tickY - - Scenario director
Dragon Quest Monsters 2 2001 Game Boy Color Green tickY Green tickY - Executive director
Itadaki Street 3 2002 PlayStation 2 - Green tickY - -
Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart 2003 Game Boy Advance Green tickY Green tickY - Executive director
Dragon Quest VIII 2004 PlayStation 2 Green tickY Green tickY - -
Itadaki Street Special PlayStation 2 - Green tickY - -
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime 2005 Nintendo DS - - - Executive producer
Itadaki Street Portable 2006 PlayStation Portable - Green tickY - -
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker Nintendo DS - Green tickY Green tickY -
Itadaki Street DS - Green tickY - -
Dragon Quest Swords 2007 Wii - Green tickY - -
Dragon Quest IX 2009 Nintendo DS Green tickY Green tickY - -
Itadaki Street Mobile 2010 Mobile phone - Green tickY - -
Fortune Street 2011 Wii - Green tickY - -
Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest 3 Nintendo 3DS - - - Executive producer
Dragon Quest X 2012 Wii, Wii U Green tickY Green tickY - General director
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below 2015 PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch - - - General director
Dragon Quest Heroes II 2016 PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch - - - General director
Dragon Quest XI 2017 Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows Green tickY Green tickY - -


In 2009, Horii received a special award at Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association Developers Conference for his work on the Dragon Quest franchise.[8]


  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. Retrieved 2011-03-16.  (Reprinted at Szczepaniak, John. "Retro Gamer 85". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-03-16. )
  3. ^ a b Kasavin, Greg (2005-03-21). ""Everything is Possible": Inside the Minds of Gaming's Master Storytellers". GameSpot. CNET Networks. p. 2. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  4. ^ Fujii, Daiji (2003). "Entrepreneurial Choices of Strategic Options in Japan's RPG Development" (PDF). p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-12-30. Retrieved 2006-08-12. 
  5. ^ a b c "East and West, Warrior and Quest: A Dragon Quest Retrospective". 1UP.com. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Yuji Horii". Retro Gamer. Imagine Publishing (97): 72–73. 2011. 
  7. ^ "Top 100 Game Creators of All Time". IGN. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  8. ^ Graft, Kris (2009-09-04). "CEDEC 09: Dragon Quest Creator Yuji Hori Headlines Awards". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 

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