Motomu Toriyama is a legendary Square Enix director and writer. He is a member of Square Enix’s Business Division 1 and also the FINAL FANTASY Committee with Yoshinori Kitase and other lead FINAL FANTASY developers.
In the past, Toriyama has said he has been inspired by, interested in and liked various games including Uncharted 2, Call of Duty, Heavy Rain, Red Dead Redemption, Dragon Quest X, Skyrim and more.
Toriyama’s favourite film series is Otoko wa Tsurai yo, a series of 48 instalments that ran from 1969 to 1995 each telling their own stories. Before Toriyama joined Square in 1994, he entered a big quiz competition with questions and quotes from the movies and won first place. The films inspired Toriyama to write his own stories and he saw video games as the way to do so.
Toriyama believes voice acting is the most important part of a character’s creation and identity.
Toriyama’s birthday is most likely February 9 due to a “Happy Birthday” message for him on Bahamut Lagoon’s credits, a game which was released on February 9 in Japan.
Toriyama is married with at least one child.
Toriyama has been called an acclaimed director, a storytelling mastermind, a revered director, a great leader, a legendary developer and a visionary director by multiple people including Square Enix themselves, IGN and Kinda Funny’s Colin Moriarty, Yoshinori Kitase, Meagan Marie and Ali Hillis.
Toriyama’s favourite moment from the FINAL FANTASY series is the opening scene of FINAL FANTASY VII.
Motomu Toriyama joined Square in 1994, not long after FINAL FANTASY VI’s Japanese launch. Prior to joining the company he played FINAL FANTASY IV but it was FINAL FANTASY VI’s opening that made him want to join Square and work on FINAL FANTASY.
Toriyama joined the FINAL FANTASY VII team, however, CHRONO TRIGGER was becoming a bigger project so many staff working on FINAL FANTASY VII went to work on it leaving Toriyama and other new staff to work on Bahamut Lagoon. Bahamut Lagoon was Toriyama’s first time ever working on a video game and he served as the story event planner.
Work then resumed for FINAL FANTASY VII. Toriyama’s role on FINAL FANTASY VII was an event planner and was placed in-charge of a lot of the game’s early scenes revolving Cloud and Aerith’s romance. His most famous scenes from the game are the opening and the infamous Honey Bee Inn. He tried to make Aerith an important character to the player to increase the impact of her death. Toriyama also planned the submarine chase section.
Toriyama then joined another project called Racing Lagoon. He was the game’s scenario writer and was even credited first on the game’s opening credits. He also planned events and maps. Toriyama would years later serve as scenario director for a Racing Lagoon event in the Square Enix mobile game, Spirit Yankee Soul.
Toriyama then re-joined Kitase, Kazushige Nojima and other staff who he had previously worked with on FINAL FANTASY VII. Toriyama was promoted to event director. He was responsible for every scene in the game and also the pacing and flow of the game. Toriyama worked with Nojima, Daisuke Watanabe and Kitase to write the game’s scenario. Toriyama was credited along with Takayoshi Nakazato & Toshirō Tsuchida as the directors of FINAL FANTASY X.
Toriyama and many of the other staff who worked on FINAL FANTASY X including Kitase, Nojima, Watanabe and Shintaro Takai returned to work on FINAL FANTASY X-2, the first direct sequel in FINAL FANTASY history. This was Toriyama’s first project as the sole director.
Toriyama asked Noriko Matsueda & Takahito Eguchi who he had worked with in the past on Bahamaut Lagoon & Racing Lagoon to compose the soundtrack for FINAL FANTASY X-2. He also asked Nobuo Uematsu to compose some music for the game but he was busy with other projects.
Included in the International version of FINAL FANTASY X-2 was a short game directed by Toriyama, titled LAST MISSION.
After Nojima left the company, Toriyama decided to assemble and train a team of writers. Due to this, Toriyama joined various projects and assisted in the writing in various capacities.
Among the writers he trained was Takanari Ishiyama who would go on to direct & write the successful Square Enix mobile game, School Girl Strikers a game that Toriyama quite enjoys.
The other writers he trained included Sachie Hirano, Nanako Saitoh, Harunori Sakemi and two others. He worked with them on FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a King, DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY, FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a Darklord, FINAL FANTASY XIII, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2, LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII and other titles. These writers have written for various Square Enix titles including KINGDOM HEARTS II, CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII-, FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0, FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn, FINAL FANTASY XIV: Heavensward, FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS and many more.
Square Enix’s PR department would promote some of these titles with “Scenario created by Motomu Toriyama, the acclaimed director of the upcoming FINAL FANTASY XIII”.
While he worked on FINAL FANTASY XIII, Toriyama also directed and wrote a pair of handheld games: FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS and BLOOD of BAHAMUT. He worked very closely with Ishiyama on both. He also worked with other staff he has worked with on other projects including Toshitaka Matsuda.
Toriyama had this to say for the North American launch of FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS: “We are extremely excited to see FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS make its debut in North America. We adjusted the overall difficulty level of the game for the North American market and introduced a new dungeon and a new boss from FINAL FANTASY XII. We believe that the US consumers will find the changes very challenging and entertaining.”
After completion of FINAL FANTASY X-2 International + LAST MISSION, Toriyama, Kitase and the rest of the team moved onto FINAL FANTASY XIII. Toriyama was once again in the director’s chair. Early in development they created a Tech Demo based on FINAL FANTASY VII’s opening. This was directed by Toriyama who made the scene in the original game. It was shown at E3 2005.
Toriyama provided input for the FABULA NOVA CRYSTALLIS mythology when it was being written by Nojima. Toriyama then proceeded to design the scenario for FINAL FANTASY XIII based on it. Toriyama would also write music lyrics for the first time.
Toriyama had two goals for FINAL FANTASY XIII. The first one to create “an incredible story-driven RPG”. The second one was “to create an all-new battle system that provided speed as well as tactical battles.” Toriyama also hoped to have”five million units shipped or sold”. He was very happy to achieve all of this.
Toriyama went on to write FRONT MISSION EVOLVED, the most recent entry in a franchise he loves. The design director of the game said Toriyama has “an ability to craft an interesting story that still has some really interesting gameplay”.
Square Enix promoted FRONT MISSION EVOLVED with this: “Become immersed in a rich story crafted by the storytelling masterminds at Square Enix”.
After FINAL FANTASY XIII, Toriyama wished to tell more stories with Lightning and to make a story where she ends up happy. Toriyama served as director for the game’s two sequels: FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 and LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII and also wrote music lyrics for both titles.
During development of FINAL FANTASY XIII-2, Kitase noticed some changes in Toriyama. Toriyama is now more open to new ideas and is also taking inspiration from the Western industry on how to make games. Toriyama spoke to the recently acquired, Eidos on how they developed games and it influenced development of FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 and LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII. Due to this, Toriyama and the company decided that they would do more outsourced work going forward in order to hit their goals on time.
Toriyama asked the composers of FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 (Naoshi Mizuta, Masashi Hamauzu and Mitsuto Suzuki) to create “music that’s unlike Final Fantasy”.
The main ideas for the four continents in LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII came from Toriyama.
Toriyama added the Outerworld Services in LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII in preparation for more advanced sharing features in next generation consoles.
Toriyama also provided the original plan for the supplemental materials in the FINAL FANTASY XIII series with Watanabe, the lead scenario writer. They were written by Jun Eishima, Benny Matsuyama and Watanabe.
For LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII, a collaboration occurred with the FINAL FANTASY XIV team. For this, Toriyama wrote an event in FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn called “Lightning Strikes” where Lightning goes to Eorzea.
Toriyama served as a supervisor for FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD Remaster. He saw FINAL FANTASY X this time through the eyes of Sir. Jecht since he was now a father.
During Inside the Square, Kitase had this to say about Toriyama as a director. “It’s a massive undertaking. It would be easy to lose sight of the end game. But he’s able to unify the whole team behind one vision. I think that’s what makes him a great leader.”
Yuji Abe, the game design director on LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII added, “He’s extremely passionate about making video games. And he takes it so seriously, it makes me work that much harder. That’s the kind of boss he is.”
Toriyama himself added, “In the past, I was focused on bringing the world as I saw it to life. Now as the director, I’m focused on what my team brings to the table and how to put it all together as one world.”
MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY was Toriyama’s chance to finally tell a continuous story similar to the Otoko wa Tsurai yo film series.
Toriyama meets up with scenario supervisor Kazushige Nojima once a week for work on MOBIUS.
Toriyama also wrote music lyrics for MOBIUS.
Toriyama is the director of MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY.
Toriyama revealed he was hard at work on something at the end of 2014, it is currently unclear if he was referring to MOBIUS or something else.
In the past, Toriyama has said he is “truly interested” in remaking FINAL FANTASY VII. It is currently unknown if he is working on FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE in any capacity.
Toriyama would likely be the director for FINAL FANTASY X-3 if it is ever made.
When asked about a possible prequel for FINAL FANTASY X regarding the journey of Lord Braska, Sir Auron & Sir Jecht, Toriyama said they tried to do it during development of FINAL FANTASY X-2 but it would have taken a lot of work. He added “It was a good idea and we were about to make it but ultimately the idea was scrapped, so there probably won’t be a prequel.”
Bahamut Lagoon – Story Event Planner (1996)
FINAL FANTASY VII – Event Planner, Submarine Chase Section Planner (1997)
Racing Lagoon – Scenario Writer, Event and Map Planner (1999)
FINAL FANTASY X – Director (Event), Scenario Writer (2001)
FINAL FANTASY X-2 – Director (2003)
FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS – Director, Scenario Writer and Event Direction (2007)
The World Ends with You – Special Thanks (2007)
FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a King – Scenario Writer (2008)
DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY – Scenario Supervisor (2008)
KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days – Special Thanks (2009)
FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a Darklord – Scenario Director (2009)
BLOOD of BAHAMUT – Director, Scenario Writer (2009)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Prince of the Dawn – Scenario Director (2009)
FINAL FANTASY XIII – Director & Scenario Designer, Lyrics (2009)
FRONT MISSION EVOLVED – Senior Scriptwriter (2010)
The 3rd Birthday – Scenario Director (2010)
DISSIDIA 012 FINAL FANTASY – Special Thanks (2011)
Imaginary Range – Supervisor (2011)
Fortune Street – Text Writing (2011)
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 – Director, Lyrics (2011)
FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn (Lightning Strikes event) – Scenario Writer (2013)
LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII – Director, Lyrics (2013)
FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD Remaster – Supervisor (2013)
Spirit Yankee Soul (Racing Lagoon event) – Scenario Director (2014)
MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY – Director, Lyrics (2015-present)
DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY -Arcade- – Special Thanks (2015)
FINAL FANTASY XIV: Heavensward (Patch 3.56) – Special Thanks (2017)
FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood – Special Thanks (2017)
Fortune Street DRAGON QUEST & FINAL FANTASY 30th Anniversary – Scenario Supervisor (2017)
DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT – Special Thanks (2018)
FINAL FANTASY XIII Episode Zero -Promise- – Original Plan (2009)
FINAL FANTASY XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Alpha – Original Plan (2010)
FINAL FANTASY XIII Side Story: A Dreaming Cocoon Falls into the Dawn – Original Plan (2010)
FINAL FANTASY XIII Episode Zero -Promise- Fabula Nova Dramatica Omega – Original Plan (2010)
FINAL FANTASY XIII -Episode i- – Original Plan (2010)
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 Fragments Before – Original Plan (2011)
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 Fragments After – Original Plan (2012)
LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII Chronicle of a Chaotic Era – Original Plan (2013-cancelled)
FINAL FANTASY XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories- – Original Plan (2014)
KINGSGLAIVE: FINAL FANTASY XV – Special Thanks (2016)
FINAL FANTASY XIII – Ragnarok, Fighting Fate, Born Anew
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 – Caius’s Theme and Serah’s Theme ~ Memories~ (co-lyricists with Frances Maya)
LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII – Lyrics with DAGMUSIC LTD
MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY – Capricious Cait Sith