|Also known as||YmoH.S|
|Born||February 26, 1969|
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 joined the video game company Square in 1997. He left Square in 2002 to found Basiscape, a music and sound production company. His music has been played at concerts and published as sheet music.
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. A fan of video games, he began creating his own games in junior high school with some friends. 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".
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. Composing for these games was the first time he had ever composed music for any instrument. 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.
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. Between 1990 and 1992, Sakimoto worked on over 20 different video games for several different companies such as Toshiba EMI, Artec, and Data East. It was during this time that he composed his first solo score in 1990 for Bubble Ghost.
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 and Dragon Quest VI. 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. 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. 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.
Sakimoto founded the music and sound production studio Basiscape 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. 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. Members of the company are free to procure personal work as well as collaborate with other members on projects. The company launched a record label in 2009.
Sakimoto has also been involved in non-gaming projects during his career. He contributed one track each to the albums Ten Plants (1998) and 2197 (1999), which feature music from various well-known artists. Sakimoto collaborated with singer Lia in 2005 to create the music for the album Colors of Life. 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.
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. He has developed a strong relationship with the Australian-based Eminence Symphony Orchestra. 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. Sakimoto and Mitsuda collaborated with Eminence in July the same year to create Destiny: Reunion, a concert held exclusively in Japan. 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. "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.
Musical style and influences
Sakimoto composes his music by playing the pieces "briefly on the piano", and then working on a computer for more detailed arrangements. 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. 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. 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".
He has stated that his biggest musical influences are "old techno and progressive rock" groups such as the Japanese synthpop group Yellow Magic Orchestra. 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. 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. 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. One of his favorite soundtracks he composed was the one for Vagrant Story.
- Revolter (1988) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Bubble Ghost (1990) (Game Boy port)
- Carat (1990) – with Masaharu Iwata and Yoshio Furukawa
- Starship Rendezvous (1990) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Devilish (1991)
- Verytex (1991) – with Masaharu Iwata and Yoshio Furukawa
- King Breeder (1991) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Magical Chase (1991) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Cyber Block Metal Orange (1991) – with Masaharu Iwata and Yoshio Furukawa
- Midnight Resistance (1991) (Sega Genesis port) - with Shogo Sakai
- Two Crude (1992) (Sega Genesis port)
- Captain America and The Avengers (1992) (Sega Genesis port) - with Shogo Sakai and Tomoyoshi Sato
- Bad Omen (1992)
- The Little Mermaid (1992) (Game Boy port)
- TaleSpin (1992) (Game Boy port)
- 7 Colors (1992) (PC-98 port) – with Hayato Matsuo
- Gauntlet IV (1993) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Super Back to the Future II (1993)
- Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen (1993) – with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo
- Shin Megami Tensei (1993) (PC-Engine CD port) – with Naoko Mikami
- X-Kaliber 2097 (1994) (Japanese version) – with Hayato Matsuo
- Kingdom Grand Prix (1994) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Moldorian: Hikari to Yami no Sister (1994)
- Tactics Ogre (1995) – with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo
- Chick's Tale (1995)
- Dragon Master Silk II (1995)
- Treasure Hunter G (1996) – with several others
- Terra Diver (1996)
- Hourai Gakuen no Bouken! (1996)
- Chip-chan Kick! (1996) – with Masaharu Iwata and Yoshio Furukawa
- Bloody Roar (1997) – with Atsuhiro Motoyama, Kenichi Koyano, Manabu Namiki, and Masaharu Iwata
- Final Fantasy Tactics (1997) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Radiant Silvergun (1998)
- Armed Police Batrider (1998) – with Kenichi Koyano and Manabu Namiki
- Ogre Battle 64 (1999) – with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo
- Vagrant Story (2000)
- Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis (2001) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Kuusen (2001)
- Legaia 2: Duel Saga (2001) – with Yasunori Mitsuda and Michiru Oshima
- Tekken Advance (2001) – with Atsuhiro Motoyama
- Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter (2002)
- Perfect Prince (2002) – with Shinji Hosoe and Ayako Saso
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (2003) – with Ayako Saso, Kaori Ohkoshi, and Nobuo Uematsu
- Gradius V (2004)
- Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity (2004) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Mushihimesama (2004) – with Basiscape, Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso, and Shoichiro Sakamoto
- Wizardry Gaiden: Prisoners of the Battles (2005) – "Ending"
- Bleach: Heat the Soul 2 (2005) – with Basiscape
- Zoids: Full Metal Crash (2005) – with Basiscape
- Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner (2006) – with several others
- Fantasy Earth: Zero (2006) – with Masaharu Iwata, Manabu Namiki, and Kenichi Koyano
- Wizardry: The Five Ordeals (2006) – with Kenichi Koyano
- Final Fantasy XII (2006) – with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo
- Digimon Battle Terminal (2006) – with Basiscape
- Battle Stadium D.O.N (2006) – with Basiscape
- Digimon World Data Squad (2006) – with Basiscape
- Bleach: Heat the Soul 4 (2007) – with Basiscape
- GrimGrimoire (2007) – with Basiscape
- Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (2007) – with Kenichiro Fukui
- Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (2007) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Odin Sphere (2007) – with Basiscape
- ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat (2007) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (2007) – with Ayako Saso, Kaori Ohkoshi, Mitsuhiro Kaneda, and Nobuo Uematsu
- Opoona (2007) – with Basiscape
- Deltora Quest: The Seven Gems (2007) – with Basiscape
- L no Kisetsu 2: Invisible Memories (2008) – with Basiscape
- Valkyria Chronicles (2008)
- The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road (2008) – with Kimihiro Abe, Masaharu Iwata, and Michiko Naruke
- Elminage: Priestess of Darkness and The Ring of Gods (2008) – with Basiscape
- Coded Soul: Uketsugareshi Idea (2008) – with Basiscape
- Elminage II (2009)
- Muramasa: The Demon Blade (2009) – with Basiscape
- Tekken 6 (2009) – with several others
- Lord of Vermilion II (2009)
- Valkyria Chronicles II (2010)
- Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (2010) – remake, with Masaharu Iwata and Hayato Matsuo
- Rikishi: Legend of Paper Wrestling (2011)
- Valkyria Chronicles III (2011)
- The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave (2012) – with Basiscape
- The Denpa Men 2: Beyond the Waves (2012) – with Basiscape
- Crimson Shroud (2012) – with Basiscape
- World Zero (2012)
- Dragon's Crown (2013)
- The Denpa Men 3: The Rise of Digitoll (2013) – with Basiscape
- The Denpa Men Free! (2014) – with Basiscape
- Age of Ishtaria (2014) – with Masaharu Iwata
- Rage of Bahamut (2014) – 3rd anniversary soundtrack
- Terra Battle (2014) – with Nobuo Uematsu, Kenji Ito, Yoko Shimomura, and Yasunori Mitsuda
- Battle Champs (2015)
- The World End Eclipse (2015)
- Chaos Dragon (2015)
- Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey (2015)
- Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (2016) – with Basiscape
- Tiger Knight (2016)
- Valiant Force (2016)
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (2017)
- Shinnazuki (2018)
- Valkyria Chronicles 4 (2018)
- Tales of Demons and Gods (2018) – with Basiscape
- Project Babel (2019)
- 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (2019) – with Basiscape
- Shining Beyond (2020) – with Basiscape
- Unsung Story (2020)
- Astria Ascending (2021) – with several others
- Little Noah: Scion of Paradise (2022)
- Tactics Ogre: Reborn (2022) – with Basiscape
- Valiant Force 2 (2023)
- Sword of Convallaria (2023)
- Songs of Silence (TBA)
- Tokyo Wars: Flowers and Cherry Blossoms (TBA)
- MCMXCI (1991) – with several others
- MYSTERY CASE in HI! SCHOOL! (1992) – with several others
- Be filled with feeling (1992) – with several others
- Great Wall (1993) – with several others
- G.T.R (1993) – with several others
- T•O•U•R•S (1994) – with several others
- Ten Plants (1998) – with several others
- 2197 (1999) – with several others
- ArtePizza.com (2005) – Home Page Theme
- Colors of Life (2005) – with Lia
- Kaleido Star: Legend of Phoenix - Layla Hamilton Story (2005) – ending theme
- Romeo x Juliet (2007)
- COLORS (2008)
- The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk (2008)
- The Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk (2009)
- Iron Vendetta (2011)
- Oto Gift (2011) – with Basiscape
- Tekken: Blood Vengeance (2011) – with Basiscape
- Red Dragon (2012)
- THE LEGEND ARTISTS Otakara Hakken! (2014) – with several others
- Chaos Dragon (2015)
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