The Games That Made Us: PARANORMASIGHT Director Takanari Ishiyama

From DRAGON QUEST III to Schoolgirl Strikers, we find out the games that mean the most to the creator of PARANORMASIGHT.
Por Duncan Heaney

If you’ve played PARANORMASIGHT: THE SEVEN MYSTERIES OF HONJO, you can sense that it was made by team full of both passion and experience. The supernatural adventure was directed by the talented Takanari Ishiyama - a name that some of you may be unfamiliar with, as this is the first of his games to be released outside of Japan.

And what a game it is! PARANORMASIGHT has garnered incredible reviews from critics and players alike, with its fantastic storytelling and imaginative - and surprising - gameplay widely praised. It is, in short, an exceptional adventure.

But while Ishiyama-san made this game, what games made him? We spoke to him to find out:

Thanks so much for your time Ishiyama-san! So, what was the first game you ever played?

The first was probably SPACE INVADERS. It came out when I was just old enough to remember it.

I was very young, so I didn’t quite understand it at first, but I intuitively caught on to the rule of moving the turrets and shooting bullets to hit enemies. I remember being totally immersed in the game and having tons of fun.

It’s incredible!

What was the first Square Enix game you ever played?

I think it would be Door Door on the Famicon. I remember playing it at a friend’s house.


Door Door is a puzzle platformer, published exclusively in Japan by Enix in 1983 for the NEC PC-8801 computer. It was later ported to the Famicon in 1985.

The goal of the game was to complete single-screen stages by trapping different types of aliens behind sliding doors, while avoiding obstacles like nails and bombs. It was a commercial hit and one of the most well-regarded Famicon games of its time.

I found it revolutionary to defeat enemies without doing anything combative - you just opened the door, let them in and closed it again.

I remember how good it felt to close the door in that game.

Which single Square Enix game could you not live without?

I know this may sound like a very conventional choice, but I’d have to say DRAGON QUEST III. I don't think I would be where I am today without it.

The experience of playing it on the Famicon had a profound impact on me.

If you could only listen to one Square Enix soundtrack or album ever again, what would it be?

Well, sorry for repeating an answer, but this would also be DRAGON QUEST III!

I found a soundtrack LP that had sheet music included, and seeing it made me want to do music as well. This led me to where I am today - I started out in the game industry as a sound creator!

Are there any Square Enix games do you look at and think “I wish I could have worked on that?

I don’t have a particular title I think this way about, but I do wish I could have created games in the early days of the Famicom or Super Famicom era.

I think it would be fun to use all my ingenuity to explore new avenues of expression within the limitations of that era. Nowadays, there are just so many things that we are able to do!

What game do you think the entire world should play?


It’s a very fun and innovative game! Do try it!

What’s your fondest memory of playing a Square Enix game?

I have very fond memories of the two years I spent playing FINAL FANTASY XI. It was the only time I was able to fully immerse myself in an online world!

What’s your proudest career achievement?

That we were able to make Schoolgirl Strikers a success. We haven't released it overseas, unfortunately.


Schoolgirl Strikers released in 2014 for iOS and Android devices exclusively in Japan. It combined card collecting with visual novel elements and focused on a group of young women who have the power to fight against aliens known as ‘Oburi’.

The series received a sequel in 2018, and also inspired an animated series, manga and more.

I’m very proud of the fact that we developed a smartphone app in-house, which we had never done before, that it produced solid results despite it being a completely new IP, and that we also launched an anime and manga series!

What are you most proud of when it comes to PARANORMASIGHT: THE SEVEN MYSTERIES OF HONJO?

Well, first it would be that we were able to get an all-new adventure game project greenlit, completed and released on schedule!

I’m also proud that the game was localized the game in English and released it simultaneously worldwide… and that it was highly acclaimed!

Finally, that this interview was published on the Square Enix Blog (laughs)!

Any final thoughts you’d like to share with Square Enix fans?

Since my previous work, Schoolgirl Strikers, was not released overseas, PARANORMASIGHT is, in fact, the global debut of my work! I’m relieved to hear that many enjoyed it.

I’m now of a good age, but I’d be happy if you could take this opportunity to at least remember my name. I will continue to do my best and would appreciate your continued support!

Remember that name: Takanari Ishiyama because PARANORMASIGHT: THE SEVEN MYSTERIES OF HONJO is an incredible achievement. This supernatural adventure game is perfectly paced, full of exciting twists and turns and full of extremely clever ideas that you have to experience to believe.

If you’ve played it, you’ll know what we mean, but if you haven’t… it’s almost certainly going to surprise you in the best way possible.

So if you’re a fan of mysteries, supernatural stories or really bloomin’ excellent games, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It’s available now on Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam, iOS and Android.

If you’re interested in the game and are champing at the bit for more information, be sure to check out this article:

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