Journalist, Writer, Game Designer
Born in 1962 in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Hidenori Shibao attended Waseda University in 1982 with the initial intent to study literature. Upon failing the entry exams, he was entered into the Law program instead. During his tenure at Waseda University he joined the Waseda Mystery Club, which focused their interests on Science Fiction and Mystery literature. He would obtain work from his Club colleagues, who had gone on to work for major publishers like Kodansha, Shueisha, and Shogakukan.
He would go on to work in journalism and write strategy guides, namely collaborating with manga authors such as Hiroshi Takahashi. Around 1988-89 Shibao contributed to the development of Pioneer's Carrozzeria Car Navigation System, and later a note-taking device developed my Sharp (likely the Casio SF-R20 Digital Diary, released in 1990).
Shibao's work with Sharp led to his employment by the studio Asmik, wherein he eventually developed his first game, Lennus: Kodai Kikai no Kioku for the Super Famicom in 1992. Lennus would be localized by ENIX to North America under the alternate title Paladin's Quest in 1993.
Although Lennus was not very successful, he would go on to direct its sequel, Lennus II: Fuuin no Shito in 1996. This sequel never got localized to the US, although it did receive a non-profit fan-translation 12 years later.
Shibao's most notable contribution to the game industry was Legend of Legaia for Playstation in 1998, which was met with positive reviews and a long-lasting impact on JRPGs.
Following his role as writer for the PS2 game The FEAR in 2001, Shibao would contribute to some other games which he was not credited in, such as Toro Station, a now defunct download-only game for the Playstation 3.
Shibao passed away in April 2018 well before his time, at the young age of 55.
Further details on Hidenori Shibao's life can be found in the interview showcased on his NintendoLife Memorial Article