Hideaki Itsuno (伊津野 英昭 Itsuno Hideaki ) (born April 7, 1971) is a Japanese video game director and designer who has been employed by Capcom for most of his career. He is best known as the director of the Power Stone, Devil May Cry and Dragon's Dogma series.
Early years (1995–2001)
Not much is known about Hideaki Itsuno's early life before he joined Capcom but his earliest known work with the company was in 1995, where he worked on Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dream as a designer. He would go on to help develop many other fighting games throughout the 90's, such as Star Gladiator - Episode 1: Final Crusade, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Rival Schools, Power Stone, One Piece Mansion, Darkstalkers and Capcom vs. SNK 2, the latter four where he served as director.
Devil May Cry series
Despite the success of the original Devil May Cry, its director Hideki Kamiya did not return to work on the sequel. While the name of the original director assigned to Devil May Cry 2 is unknown, Itsuno would be credited as director despite his limited time on Devil May Cry 2, Itsuno was only brought onto the project at the tail-end of development in order to steer the project back on course after the shortcomings of the original unidentified director of DMC2. Nonetheless, the game received mixed reviews.
Following the lukewarm reception for Devil May Cry 2, Capcom chose to return to the design philosophy of the series' more successful first entry for Devil May Cry 3, this time allowing Hideaki Itsuno to work on the project as director on day one of the project's development. Gameplay elements such as the size of environments and the game's battle engine were reconsidered, and common criticisms such as changes to Dante's personality and the game's difficulty were brought back in line with the first game. These changes were met with praise and the game was very well-received.
Itsuno returned to direct Devil May Cry 4. He stated in a Famitsu article that the visual design sought to deliver a satisfying sensation of floating in the air, and that the actions of Nero's Devil Bringer could not be done on contemporary generation consoles, necessitating a new generation of consoles such as the PlayStation 3. Devil May Cry 4 was met with both commercial and critical success.
The next game in the series, DmC: Devil May Cry, was developed by UK developer Ninja Theory; Itsuno was the supervising director on that project. When discussing this decision, Itsuno said: "With DmC this time, we wanted to avoid the problem that befalls some series where you keep making it with the same team, same hardware, and it tends to decrease and fans move away from it... We don’t want the series to die." The development team included over ninety members, several of whom were from Capcom. Alex Jones and Motohide Eshiro acted as producers, aiming to help Ninja Theory make DmC play like the previous Devil May Cry games.
Hideaki Itsuno worked on Devil May Cry 5, which was released on March 8th, 2019.
Itsuno directed Dragon's Dogma. During the press conference at Capcom's Captivate event in 2011, he stated that Dragon's Dogma was a game he had been dreaming of making since his school days; it was finally a project he could realize now due to advancing technology. At the time of the press conference, he had been directing a staff of 150 people at Capcom Japan for three years of concept and project development. By April 2011, the game was roughly half completed.
Itsuno stated that his team had "made Dragon's Dogma and come up to this point through our experience of action games. We're trying to make a new genre: We're using our action heritage and putting that into an action RPG." He cited the influence of Capcom's previous works (such as Breath of Fire, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Monster Hunter), other Eastern RPGs such as Dragon Quest, and Western RPGs such as Fable and Oblivion. Itsuno later explained that they had "seen a great deal of open-world action RPGs]] over the years," but that they still desired "one that really put everything together in the action parts. We figured that if there hasn't been a game made by people who understand how action works, then we ought to do it ourselves. We wanted a game where the player is thrown into the world and needs to figure out how to stay alive via nothing but his own controller." However, the game was designed to allow players to take a less action-oriented approach, with Itsuno stating that they "[made] this game such that you can beat the monsters even if you build up EXP, collect good companions and/or pawns, and sit back and watch the battle unfold"; he elaborated that while it is an action game, "that's not all that it is. You can fully configure your party and put as much thought as you like into battle, which is something we're doing for people who really want to get into this world."
Initially, Dragon's Dogma was intended to be a Western fantasy game. In March 2012, Itsuno said he hoped the game would sell 10 million copies worldwide and one million in Japan. It was successful upon release, prompting Capcom to begin development on a sequel. Itsuno reports that the team was only able to accomplish 60-70% of what they had wanted to in the first game, and hope to include those ideas in the sequel. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018, Devil May Cry 5 was officialy revealed, with Itsuno serving as director.
In October 2012, Itsuno hinted that the Rival Schools and Capcom vs. SNK series may see a revival. The former series was once again hinted in the next year, alongside Itsuno's interest in developing a fighting game that would recreate the influence Street Fighter II had on the genre. Hideaki Itsuno has also expressed a desire to make a direct Dragon's Dogma sequel as well as a sixth Devil May Cry mainline title.
On April 9th 2019, Itsuno hinted that he was working on a new project.
|Game||Year of release||Role|
|Quiz & Dragons||1994||Planner|
|Street Fighter Alpha||1995||Planner|
|Rival Schools: United by Fate||1997||Director|
|JoJo's Bizarre Adventure||1998||Planner|
|Power Stone 2||2000||Director|
|Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000||2000||Planner|
|Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001||2001||Director|
|One Piece Mansion||2001||Director|
|GioGio's Bizarre Adventure||2002||Planner|
|Capcom Fighting Jam||2003||Consultant|
|Devil May Cry 2*||2003||Replacement Director (only on last 5 months of development)*|
|Resident Evil: Outbreak||2003||Special thanks|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne||2003||Miscellaneous crew|
|Resident Evil: Outbreak File 2||2004||Special thanks|
|Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening||2005||Director|
|Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition||2006||Director|
|Devil May Cry 4||2008||Director|
|Project X Zone||2012||Supervision & Cooperation (Devil May Cry series and Rival Schools series)|
|DmC: Devil May Cry||2013||Supervising Director|
|Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen||2013||Executive producer|
|Devil May Cry 5||2019||Director|
- Dragon's Dogma taught Capcom new tricks that give Devil May Cry the feel of 60 frames per second, publisher claims. Eurogamer, 2012-11-05.
- The Devil's in the detail. Eurogamer, 20 February 2003.
- The Devil's Own: Capcom's Hideaki Itsuno on a Decade-Plus with Dante. USgamer, 29 June 2015.
- Hideki Kamiya on Twitter: Itsuno joined DMC2 team to rescue it from the crisis, but it was too late. Even if I were him, I couldn't have done better than he did. 2016-02-23.
- The Kamiya Touch. 1Up.com, 2006-08-18.
- Devil May Cry 3 Poised for Success. GameDaily, 2005-04-06.
- Devil May Cry 4's creative minds. GamesRadar, 2012-06-23.
- New Hero for DMC4. IGN.
- Capcom devs describe the 'long-distance romance' with Ninja Theory that led to DmC. Polygon, 2013-01-30.
- DmC Devil May Cry: "We don’t want the series to die". NowGamer, 2012-12-12.
- DmC Devil May Cry Development Team Has Over 90 Members. Siliconera, October 16, 2012.
- Dragon's Dogma: How Hideaki Itsuno is taking on Skyrim and the world. VideoGamer.com, 2012-03-20.
- A Few Bits About Dragon's Dogma. andriasang, April 13, 2011.
- Dragon's Dogma Explained By Staff: A single-player multiplayer RPG? 1up.com, 2011-07-21.
- Dragon's Dogma preview: A song of 'ice and fire'. Joystiq, 2011-06-12.
- A million sales pretty much guaranteed for Dragon's Dogma in Japan. Videogamer.com.
- Dragon's Dogma can sell 10 million worldwide, reckons Capcom. Eurogamer, 2012-03-20.
- Dragon's Dogma 2 on the way, original ships one million worldwide. Official Xbox Magazine, 25 June 2012.
- Game Creators Are Constantly Looking To The Future. Here's What A Few Of Them Are Looking At. Kotaku.
- News: Rival Schools and Capcom Vs. SNK 2 revivals teased. ComputerAndVideoGames.com, 2012-10-18.
- Could There Be ‘Rival Schools’ And ‘Capcom vs. SNK’ Remakes In Our Future? Multiplayerblog.mtv.com, 2012-10-19.
- Dragon’s Dogma Director Wants to Make a Sequel on PS4, Also Rival Schools 3 and Devil May Cry 5. dualshockers.com, 2013-10-21.
- Eurogamer - Dante returns: Hideaki Itsuno on Devil May Cry 5
- Videogamer.com - Devil May Cry 5 director would rather make DMC 6 than a DMC remake
- Twinfinite: Devil May Cry 5 Director Hideaki Itsuno Teases “New Project”