Few people in the video game world have contributed more to the industry than Hironobu Sakaguchi.
After creating the seminal Final Fantasy series, which to date has attracted over 100 million sales, Sakaguchi left Square Enix to found the Mistwalker game studio in 2004.
We caught up with Sakaguchi to discuss his studio's latest project, Party Wave, and to find out what lies ahead for Mistwalker in the world of mobile gaming.
Pocket Gamer: Party Wave is a departure from your usual type of project - what made you want to design a game about surfing?
Hironobu Sakaguchi: I've been living in Hawaii for 15 years. I started surfing shortly after I moved here. Riding a wave is such a great feeling. At the same time, I like those moments when I'm waiting for a wave to ride. I get into a semi-meditative state and ideas start popping into my mind.
Creating Party Wave is somehow my way of showing my gratitude to surfing, which has given me so much enjoyment.
Party Wave went live on the App Store last week. Can you sum up the gameplay for those who don't know much about it?
Gamers will experience different things while they play through Party Wave. They can use their accumulated "Stars" wisely to fight against the boss character, for example. So, there's an RPG element to proceedings.
Furthermore, there's an Arcade mode in Party Wave - which presents you with a time limit - and a hidden stage that was designed by Hiso Alien.
While you have contributed lyrics to Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey in the past, Party Wave is the first game over which you have taken direct control of the music. What influenced that decision?
When I was in high school, I wanted to be a musician and so I composed some music. For Party Wave, I tapped into those old experiences and squeezed my not-so-musically-talented brain hard.
Now, I have introduced my lyrics AND music into the world through Party Wave. I feel like my high school dream has finally come true.
Earlier this year, you confirmed on Twitter that Mistwalker was working on three games for iOS. Can you explain why Mistwalker is so excited about making games for mobile devices?
It's so enjoyable to create a game with a small group of people under open, free, and transparent conditions. It's almost like when I created Final Fantasy I.
Can you tell us anything about the other upcoming iOS projects from Mistwalker?
The next iOS project off the Mistwalker production line will be the tower defence sci-fi game Blade Guardian.
The distinctive feature of this game is the 'Blade' unit, which you can manoeuvre around and transform into a sphere.
Do you play any games on your phone? If so, which ones are your favourites?
I'm a iPhone user, and I play games on my iPhone when I have some spare time. Zookeeper DX Touch Edition and Angry Birds Space are my favourites.
Do you plan to release your smartphone games on other mobile platforms, e.g. Android or Windows Phone?
Yes, we plans on releasing our games on Android and iOS.
What would you like Mistwalker to accomplish in the world of mobile gaming?
We would like to create titles using a variety of themes that you haven't seen in games before. And I would like to use Kimihiko Fujisaka's adorable characters in those games.