If you know the history of Square-Enix, you know the name Hiromichi Tanaka. More recently, if you’ve had anything to do with either Final Fantasy XI or Final Fantasy XIV, the name will also strike a chord, as Tanaka was the driving force behind both games. At the end of last week’s VanaFest convention in Japan, Tanaka announced that he will be stepping down from his current position as producer of Final Fantasy XI and leaving Square-Enix, citing health issues that he declined to elaborate upon.
Tanaka’s role on the FFXI staff will be filled by Akihiko Matsui, who previously briefly served as the game’s director before moving on to work as Final Fantasy XIV’s battle designer following the game’s troubled launch. This announcement comes in the wake of several major announcements regarding FFXI during VanaFest, including the promise of a new boxed expansion next year and a new UI for the game with the new expansion.