Microsoft has announced that Mistwalker, the new development studio headed up by original Final Fantasy
creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, has signed on to produce two exclusive role-playing games for Microsoft's upcoming successor to the Xbox, tentatively called Xbox 2 or Xbox Next.
Sakaguchi left Square Enix and formed Mistwalker in 2004, following the earlier resignation of his position of Executive Vice President in charge of game development at Square Enix, then called Squaresoft. Mistwalker revealed earlier this month
that its debut title would be a strategy-RPG for the Nintendo DS, but also had plans for two unrevealed games.
No information at all about either next-gen Xbox title has been revealed, but according to a recent interview in Weekly Famitsu magazine, Sakaguchi is in the process of recruiting the services of longtime Final Fantasy
composer Nobuo Uematsu, who also now runs an independent music studio, Smile Please, to provide the soundtrack for one or both games. Sakaguchi has also publically expressed a wish to also hire former and current Final Fantasy
artist Yoshitaka Amano, a noted painter whose work has been exhibited in New York studios. Should both of these things come to pass, it would mark the first game by the three creators since Final Fantasy VI
"We are ecstatic to work with Sakaguchi-san and celebrate what this news means, not only for Xbox, but for gamers worldwide," said Peter Moore, Microsoft's corporate VP of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing. In turn, Sakaguchi commented: "Microsoft’s cutting-edge technologies in the next-generation platform will allow me to bring to life an array of ideas that I have had for many years."
Microsoft have also indicated that the two RPGs would be released in Japan first with an eye toward attracting the Japanese consumer, where the current Xbox's performance has traditionally been weakest.