I've written before about how RPGs parallel football in many ways, and how the ebb and flow of an NFL game mirrors traditional turn-based combat.
So it was vindicating to see this great 1UP interview with Hiroyuki Ito, a veteran game designer and one of the engineers behind many of Square's Final Fantasy games, all the way back through the original. Speaking with Jeremy Parish, Ito said his designs for Final Fantasy's battle system were inspired by — believe it or not — NFL football.
1UP: You say you're a jack-of-all-trades, but what trade did you practice with Final Fantasy?
HI: I dealt mostly with the battle system.
1UP: So did you create the battle system, or work on balancing it...?
HI: I actually created the battle system, yes.
1UP: What was your inspiration for that?
HI: Basically, there's no one inspiration that I got that battle system from. It was just a logical process, where I thought, "How can I create an efficient battle system for a role-playing game?" That's the answer that I came to. At the root of it all, though, there's a basic kind of system that comes from professional sports...
1UP: Any particular sport that you had in mind?
HI: Yeah, the NFL. Football is probably the closest thing.
1UP: I guess I can see that, with the parties lining up on either side and taking turns...
HI: Yeah. A lot of it has to do with how in the NFL, the plays are pre-planned. Each side has a strategy. That's kind of the idea.
Go read the whole thing: it's a great interview! And Ito seems like a really interesting guy — I'd love to hear his thoughts on Tim Tebow.