Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month - meet Andrea, Shiho and Raio

Three more talented Square Enix staffers share their thoughts on their experiences in the games industry, the importance of their heritage and the games that give them happy thoughts.
By Square Enix Team

Welcome back to our series spotlighting the amazing people that make Square Enix the successful company it is.

This week, we speak to three more accomplished individuals about how they broke into the games industry, their advice for anyone who wants to do the same, their favorite games and much more.

Andrea Dela Cruz, Retail Marketing Coordinator

Andrea Dela Cruz

How did you get your start at Square Enix?

It was unexpected to say the least!

A recruiter reached out to me via LinkedIn and informed me about an open position on the company’s Retail Marketing Team. When I first read the message, I was shocked. I could get to work for a company I admired, and in a field I went to school for. This was a jackpot!

After a few rounds of interviews, I got the job. Although I started off as a coordinator supporting the Retail Marketing Team, I quickly showed interest in working on game-specific projects.

Expressing this interest led me to work alongside my now manager on the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE campaign. Following that, I was able to be more involved in projects, even managing the entire Balan Wonderworld marketing campaign.

Long story short, chase after something you’re interested in. Your hard work and determination never go unnoticed, and it will be worth it in the end.

What are you most proud of during your time at Square Enix?

I am SUPER proud of the professional growth I gained on the Retail Marketing Team. If you compared my day-to-day tasks and projects now to what I used to do over a year ago, it would be very different.

To this day, I don’t regret putting myself through the stress and craziness that was the launch of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. Since this was such a high-profile title, I had the constant challenge of always making sure I was doing everything correctly and in a timely manner.

Luckily with the support of my amazing team and manager, I was able to overcome these challenges and help successfully launch one of the biggest titles of last year.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the games industry?

Don’t be afraid of challenge and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get your ‘dream role’ at your ‘dream company’ - that’s just the start of your career. The video game industry is tough to get into, but once you’re in, it’s a rewarding experience.

I challenged myself by asking my manager for more roles and responsibilities, and I performed them exceptionally well. Now my team sees my potential and have allowed me to manage several titles during my time at Square Enix.

What does your Asian heritage mean to you?

As a proud Filipina, I would love to be an inspiration for other Filipinos who want to make it into the video game industry.

It’s a tough world out there for us, especially because people already have a preconceived notion of what we’re SUPPOSED to be doing with our lives. I’m grateful that my parents raised me to chase after my passions and make sure to do an incredible job wherever I end up.

This is super important to me because unfortunately, not every Filipino can say the same, which is why I want to share my story with the world to help inspire the community.

What’s your favorite game of all time (not necessarily Square Enix) and why?

I am a HUGE Legend of Zelda nerd, so my answer is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The art style is unique from any Zelda game I’ve played, and I really enjoy how expressive Toon Link is in the game.

I’m also a sucker for amazing in-game music, and this game’s music is just WOW. I could listen to the Dragon Roost Island theme for hours, that’s how good it is. The game is still incredibly fun even almost 10+ years after being released.

Shiho Mizutori, Lead UX/UI designer, Square Enix Montréal

Shiho Mizutori

Hi Shiho. How did you end up here at Square Enix?

I joined Square Enix Montreal in August 2020 so I’m pretty new. I’ve actually never seen my co-workers in person - except for the ones I previously worked with at other companies.

But so far, so good! Square Enix Montréal provides tons of support while we work from home.

What are your proudest moments in your career?

As a UX (user experience) designer, my role is to make sure we work on diversity and inclusion.

As I’m in a role that’s still quite rare in the video game industry, I make sure to think about how to include as many people as possible in our titles.

For example, while working on a popular online tactical shooting game, we found that women and people with accents were often attacked by toxic players because they could identify them by voice. As a result, these players tend to prefer text chat over speaking.

To address this, I helped develop a new pinging system that lets players tell teammates where to go, and what kind of danger to expect without having to physically speak. It did alter the gameplay, but because it helped these players it was accepted by both the development team and the majority of the community.

And I know that the players who wanted it were very appreciative!

What is one piece of advice, you’d provide to someone who wants to work in UX and UI Design?

Don’t afraid to apply - even without experience in video games!

UX Design is still new in the video game industry, and many companies accept people who have no previous experience.

However, we are looking for people who are passionate about videogames so make sure you tell the interviewer that you love playing games!

What does your Asian heritage mean to you?

Part of the reason I decided to come to work at Square Enix Montréal was because it was a Japanese company.

I worked for Japanese companies a long time ago, but since I started in the videogame industry I had never worked for a Japanese company.

Does this change anything to me? Not really - Square Enix Montréal has the same approach as any other studio in Montreal; in good way. But now my family and friends in Japan know which company I work for and they’re impressed!

Finally, what’s your favorite game of all time?


When I lived in Japan, I had so many different games to play, I didn’t finish most of them.


And CRISIS CORE is the only one that made me cry.

Raio Mitsuno, Senior Producer, Business Operations Division, Luminous Productions

Raio Mitsuno

What led you to work at Luminous Productions?

My journey actually started at Square Enix America as a QA Translator. Eventually I transferred over to the marketing team, and also spent some time at a creative agency.

A few years ago, I moved to Tokyo to join Square Enix Japan, then took the opportunity to join Luminous Productions. So I’ve actually been with the Square Enix group for the better part of my professional career, though I’ve worn many hats over the years.

I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunities to follow my evolving passions, from marketing to creative to production.

What are your proudest achievements in your career so far?

UNCOVERED: FINAL FANTASY XV easily comes to mind as one of the most challenging yet fulfilling experiences I’ve had.

It was an event filled with announcements and surprises, and we wanted to eschew the traditional press conference format for a more entertainment-focused approach.

I pitched a flow for the event, which we ended up going with, and I subsequently wrote the script as well. The toughest part was finding the right balance between being informative and entertaining without making any compromises. There were years of built-up anticipation for this title, so we wanted to do it justice for both the fans and the development team.

It was a tremendous endeavor for all of us involved, but in the end I think we were able to put on a great show.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the games industry?

Based on my personal experience, I would say that even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, as long as you have a passion for gaming, it’s okay to start anywhere.

You’ll either come across something that really interests you, or you’ll discover that you have a talent in a certain area. I don’t have experience working at other gaming companies, but I think this industry presents a variety of opportunities for everyone.

What does representing Square Enix in your country mean to you?

Square Enix is widely respected in the industry so I’ve always been proud to be a part of it, but here in Japan the recognition extends beyond just the gaming space. It’s pretty much a household name - even people who aren’t familiar with games have heard of Square Enix.

It just goes to show how much of a cultural impact the company has had over the course of its history, and serves as a reminder that we’re part of something enormous.

Having said that, my business card now says ‘Luminous Productions,’ which is a name that’s still relatively unknown. We have a lot to prove and it’s exciting being part of a growing brand. Hopefully one day we can reach the same level of recognition as Square Enix.

Finally, what’s your favorite game of all time?

This is a tough one, but I’m going to go with FINAL FANTASY VI. It was my second FINAL FANTASY game, but the one that turned me into a Squaresoft fanboy. The graphics were incredible for its time, the characters were all unique and equally likable, and the music was just unbelievable (“The Decisive Battle” is still my favorite boss theme of all time).

As a young gamer I remember being completely engrossed in the game, but I think I can appreciate the finer details even more today. Just writing this brings back so many memories, so I might have to go fire it up on my SNES Mini.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, I waited for Shadow.

Our gratitude to Andrea, Shiho and Raio for sharing their experiences.

Join us tomorrow when we’ll speak to two more amazing people about their experiences at Square Enix and the games industry, the importance of their heritage and their favorite games.

If you’re interested in a career at Square Enix, make sure to check our careers site here: