More Square Enix and Luminous Productions staff on Women’s History Month

More inspiring women from Square Enix and Luminous Productions share their stories and advice about working in the games industry.
By Square Enix

For Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the accomplishments of some of the profoundly talented women at Square Enix and working at our studios.

The following people were kind enough to share their own personal insights on working in the games industry, Women’s History Month and what it represents.

Roosa Jokiaho - Cinematic Artist, Luminous Productions

Roosa Jokiaho quote

Hi Roosa - can you tell us a little about yourself and your role at Luminous Productions?

I’m a Cinematic Artist at Luminous Productions and I’ve been at the studio almost from its conception.

My job is essentially to breathe life into the story and I play an active part in the process - all the way from storyboards and motion capture to implementing the scenes in engine. I’m passionate about visual storytelling and I’m always trying to come up with meaningful ways to complement the story with my camerawork.

When I’m not working, I watch a lot of movies and series for new ideas and love to unwind with karaoke. The karaoke culture in Japan is amazing and I actually even started a karaoke club in Luminous Productions, which unfortunately has been on hiatus since the pandemic began.

How did your career in gaming get started?

Through a series of lucky coincidences. I’ve pursued various passions of mine throughout the years, from performing arts in high school, to game development in university, and then interactive cinema in graduate school. All that coincidentally gave me the perfect combination of skills to work on cinematics.

I had always been fascinated by cutscenes when playing games growing up, but it never really crossed my mind as something I could actually do for a living myself until I stumbled upon Remedy hiring for a position on their cinematic team.

It called out to me instantly, so I applied and was fortunate enough to get the job.

What do you find meaningful about Women’s History Month?

It’s a wonderful celebration of women’s success, and while these successes really should be celebrated all year round, it’s nice to have a specific time in the year for all of us to come together and make some noise about everything we’ve achieved.

Being a woman is not often easy, so I love being reminded of how many of us are out there kicking ass and thriving - it motives me to keep challenging myself and to aim even higher, and I hope it does the same for other women too.

What advice would you give to other women looking to thrive in the gaming industry?

Not every studio will be for you, and that’s okay.

This industry is becoming more and more welcoming for all kinds of women, but sometimes it can still be tough and while advocating for things to be better is important, it’s also important to be mindful of your own limits and wellbeing.

There absolutely are studios out there that will be the right fit for you, so don’t get discouraged.

What do you feel can make the difference to address gender stereotypes?

I think catching your own and others’ gender bias and actively trying to unlearn it is key.

In order to do that, it’s crucial to listen to diverse voices and respect different perspectives - sometimes it’s difficult to notice you’ve fallen into the bias trap yourself since we live in a society that keeps pushing these stereotypes on us essentially from the day we are born.

As game creators, we have the power to break these stereotypes and offer more interesting character and gender expressions in our games. Hopefully, through our work we can at least have a small positive impact on how our players view these things in their lives.

Which inspiring woman do you admire?

You might not have heard of her, but for me it’s definitely Nana Mizuki.

She’s a Japanese singer and voice actor with enka training, so her voice is really powerful and her vocal range is very impressive. She’s gone through a lot to get to where she is with her career today and I really respect her for being so passionate about what she does and never losing her enthusiasm to challenge new things.

Her energy and her music inspire me to be better and help me keep going when things get tough.

She voiced Celestia in FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 and Desdemona in DRAGON QUEST HEROES II for the Japanese versions of the games actually, and it’d be cool if the opportunity arose to work with her on one of our projects as well in the future.

How can Women’s History Month inspire and help women?

I think it's really important for women to see all the amazing things that other women are doing and to have visible role models to look up to.

Women’s History Month helps provide that visibility by amplifying our voices. Seeing that there are many of us succeeding in all kinds of fields will hopefully inspire more women to pursue their dreams and to consider career paths they might not have thought of otherwise.

What are you most proud of from your time at Square Enix so far?

I’m honestly so proud that we’re making a game like Forspoken and that I get to be a part of it. I never imagined I’d be working on a game featuring so many badass women and it still feels like a dream sometimes.

I love how committed we are to do right by our characters and that me and the rest of the women on our development team are encouraged to voice any concerns or suggestions we might have. I like to think that I’ve had a positive impact on the project throughout its development and I really can’t wait for everyone to play it!

Sarah Bloom - Events Coordinator, Square Enix America

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Hi Sarah - can you tell us a little about yourself and your role?

I’ve been a gamer my entire life. I have fond memories of the Christmas I got my first N64 and all of the games. Pokémon Stadium and Mario Tennis were definitely some of my most played childhood games.

I’m a member of the Events Team here at Square Enix and I’ve been with the company for 3 and a half years. If you’ve attended any of our booths at E3, PAX East/West, SDCC, NYCC, and others, you would have seen me running around making sure everything is running smoothly!

How did your career in gaming get started?

Square Enix is the first gaming company I’ve worked for. I got started as a temp, helping run the kiosks at our events and eventually was able to apply to the company and join the Events Team.

What do you find meaningful about Women’s History Month?

Being able to connect and see just how important being a woman of today is. There are so many influential women out there and it’s important to see and hear their stories, but also hear about their struggles.

What advice would you give to other women looking to thrive in the gaming industry?

Don’t be afraid. We hear all the time about how the gaming industry is for men, but as women, we are clearly changing that every day.

The gaming industry is for everyone and for so many people my age, it’s what we grew up with.

Which inspiring woman do you admire?

I am constantly surrounded by inspiring women, but for me it’s the woman I interact with on a daily basis that I admire the most.

I’m so grateful and lucky to be surrounded by women who not only push me to be the best version of myself, but also allow me to push them.

How can Women’s History Month inspire and help women?

Women’s History Month can inspire women by giving us a platform to tell our stories, whether positive or negative. Everyone has a voice, and we just want to be heard.

What are you most proud of from your time at Square Enix so far?

At E3 in 2019 we showcased FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE at our booth. The Events Team was able to bring the train station scene of Midgar to life for all of the fans and media at the show.

Fast forward to when the game released in April of 2020, it was such a surreal experience to see what we had brought to life in the game - and it made me tear up from the joy of knowing we had done that in real life!

Many thanks to Roosa and Sarah for their thoughts and advice. Check out last week's feature for even more insight:

If you’re interested in working at Square Enix, be sure to check our careers site for current opportunities.