For those unfamiliar with Hiroyuki Itou’s body of work when it comes to the Final Fantasy series, all you have to do is recall the Active Time Battle system that became a staple of the series for years. Evolving and spawning unique iterations of itself, we’ve come to associate it fondly with the Final Fantasy brand itself. Itou has been a longtime employee of Square, predating the series itself. The appropriately-named “Father of ATB” was involved in Final Fantasy IV, V, VI, Tactics, IX, and XII — treating each battle system as an evolution of his original idea.
In a new interview with 1up, he looks back on his creation:
1UP [Jeremy Parish]: The ATB changed a lot in Final Fantasy V. In Final Fantasy IV, there was a clock on every action, and the more complicated the action, the longer it took to execute, even after you selected the command.
Hiroyuki Itou: It was just a natural progression of the system. The system wasn’t yet complete, in my mind, during Final Fantasy IV. So after talking to the new team members and stuff, I felt that the system evolved the way it should.
1UP [Jeremy Parish]: Was there a point where you think ATB reached its optimal form? Where you said, “This is what it needs to be”?
Hiroyuki Itou: First of all, I feel like the “optimal” ATB has yet to come. I think it’s the advance of hardware, and stuff like memory within that… I always had to be concerned about things like that initially, when I started doing this kind of thing. It’s getting closer and closer to the optimum level where I can do exactly what I want to. It’s getting there, but we’re not actually there yet. Did you want to ask about the Gambit system?
1up’s full interview with Hiroyuki Itou can be read by clicking here.