Citing poor health, Hiromichi Tanaka has stepped down from his role as producer on Final Fantasy XI – and from his career with Square Enix.
According to Andriasang‘s translation of a Famitsu interview, Tanaka admitted to suffering an unspecified major illness, and said his health was a significant contributing factor to the decision.
That said, Tanaka also said that he wants to return to development as a lone creator; this is good news for old school Square fans, as Tanaka was an important creative in the early days of Final Fantasy as well as Xenogears and Chrono Cross.
Tanaka will be replaced by Akihiko Matsui, who is currently part of the Final Fantasy XIV team. Although the new producer will straddle both MMO projects, Tanaka expressed faith in Matsui’s abilities, saying he was the only one who could do the job. Matsui is expected to focus on Final Fantasy XI after Final Fantasy XIV version 2.0 ships in early 2013.