Longtime Final Fantasy Producer Stepping Down, Health Reasons Cited

Illustration for article titled Longtime Final Fantasy Producer Stepping Down, Health Reasons Cited

Hiromichi Tanaka, one of the earliest members of Square, with producer credits on Final Fantasy XI, Xenogears and Chrono Cross, will be leaving Final Fantasy XI and Square Enix altogether, reports Famitsu.


An interview at Vanafest 2012 revealed that Tanaka has a "major illness" (this according to Tanaka himself) and that led him into his retirement. Despite the health problem, Tanaka evidently does not intend to leave games development altogether. He told Famitsu that he wants to return to development as a sole creator.

This year's Vana Fest 2012 event started on a high note with the announcement of the Final Fantasy XI Seekers of Adoulin expansion. It ended on a low note with the announcement that Hiromichi Tanaka would not only be stepping down as FFXI's producer, but leaving Square Enix as well.

Tanaka was one of the earliest members of then Square, and did design work on the first few Final Fantasy games before moving on to a producer role on some of the company's most beloved franchises, including Xenogears and Chrono Cross.

So what caused him to leave the company with which he's been employed since 1983? Famitsu.com found out during a mini interview with Tanaka that it conducted during day two of the Vana Fest event today.

It appears that a major contributor to Tanaka's decision was his health. While not going into specifics, he says that he has a major illness, and consideration of his health lead to the decision.

This wasn't the only reason, though. He also said that he asked to resign because he wants to return to the game development scene as a single creator.


Tanaka will be replaced on Final Fantasy XI by Akihiko Matsui, whom Tanaka gave a vote of confidence to in the Famitsu interview.

FFXI Producer Hiromichi Tanaka Discusses Square Enix Departure [Andriasang]

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Tanaka-san gets a lot of hate over on the FFXI official forums for being a sadist in terms of his design and management of FFXI.

I always want to say to the fan-base - what do you expect? Final Fantasy XI was *hard* and we loved it because the game was *nails*.

Now the game is really easy and people are hating it.

Tanaka-san, you were, for me, the last man who stood his ground as an old-school developer doing it your way. You genuinely are, my videogame development hero.

Thank you for developing the best videogame ever made, Final Fantasy XI. (MHO of course.)

EDIT: Also, I'll be praying for you Tanaka-san, for your health and future prospects.