FFXII producer steps down

Square Enix cites health issues for Yasumi Matsuno's departure; Akitoshi Kawazu takes over as producer for upcoming PS2 RPG.

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TOKYO--Square Enix announced today that Final Fantasy XII producer Yasumi Matsuno will be stepping down from his position due to complications with his health. An official statement by Square Enix revealed that the seasoned producer has been ill for a while. However, he will remain on the project as a supervisor. Taking over as executive producer will be Akitoshi Kawazu, an experienced director best known for the SaGa series.

Even before E3, rumors about Matsuno's absence from Square had been circulating, but this is the first time the company has publicly confirmed his status.

"Final Fantasy XII's development producer Yasumi Matsuno has left his position to recover from his illness, and he is currently working as a supervisor [on the game]. His roles in the project are being passed on to the section leaders, and our development staff is working hard on its production. The game is just one step away from completion, so please look forward to it. We are confident that we will deliver a Final Fantasy beyond everybody's imagination on March 16," commented Square Enix in its public statement.

Matsuno also released a statement: "To all the fans that have been waiting for the release of Final Fantasy XII, I'm sorry that its development has been taking an extremely long time. I unfortunately will have to take a step away from the production scene, but the game is progressing in its development under the hands of excellent staffs, including Minagawa, Ito, and Akiyama."

Square Enix's announcement came just one day after the Square Enix Party 2005, where it showed off Final Fantasy XII in a playable format for the first time to the public.

The current Final Fantasy XII staff is as follows:

Executive Producer
Akitoshi Kawazu

Original Concept/ Scenario Plot/ Supervision
Yasumi Matsuno

Director
Hiroyuki Ito
Hiroshi Minagawa

Chief Programmer
Takashi Katano

Art Direction
Hideo Minaba
Isamu Kamikokuryou

Character Design
Akihiko Yoshida

Battle Design
Kazutoyo Maehiro

Event Direction
Jun Akiyama

Movie Director
Eiji Fujii

Supervisor
Taku Murata

Composer
Hitoshi Sakimoto

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