Final Fantasy XI producer leaves Square Enix

Square Enix veteran Hiromichi Tanaka is leaving the company due to health reasons.


During the Final Fantasy XI-themed Vana Fest event held in Japan over the weekend of June 23, in Yokohama, Japan, Final Fantasy XI producer Hiromichi Tanaka announced that he will be leaving Square Enix.

FFXI producer Hiromichi Tanaka parting ways with the company. (image credit: Famitsu)
FFXI producer Hiromichi Tanaka parting ways with the company. (image credit: Famitsu)

According to a Famitsu article detailing the event, the main reason for Tanaka's departure from the publisher is personal health issues. Tanaka said that he has to cope with a major illness, which he wishes not to specify, that had led to his final decision to leave the company. He also stated that he will be returning to the Japanese game development scene as a solo creator.

His replacement is Akihiko Matsui, who is known as the battle designer for Final Fantasy XIV. Tanaka was a veteran in the company, having joined in 1983. He was one of the developers responsible for the creation of Final Fantasy I, II, and III. He also took the helm as a producer and battle designer for Xenogears and Chrono Cross.

In related news, the Vana Fest 2012 event highlighted the announcement of a new Final Fantasy XI expansion called Seekers of Adoulin. Apart from new map areas and quests, the expansion will be introducing two new classes: the geomancer and rune fencers. The expansion will be out in 2013.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 72 comments about this story
72 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
  • 72 results
  • 1
  • 2
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for toyo75

Wishing him the best and a speedy health recovery. Thank you for the great games you have given us.

If only we had a real elixir and a ribbon relic to instantly cure all his status ailments.

Avatar image for Dark_Arcitekt

I hope he remains well and is not to ill.He did a lot for XI.More than enough to have me playing off and on for many many years.Hats off to him and may he fair well in his endeavors.

Avatar image for ChiefFreeman

Sounds to me like it wasnt voluntary. He was forced out. FF sucks, and they need a complete revamp of the series.

Avatar image for zazzaro

I would like to tip my cap to Mr. Tanaka as Final Fantasy XI was my first MMO experience and got me into the genre. I would strategize all day at work (God Bless America) on the freaking prommys and how to make sure no one missed a portal screwing the whole mission, and then how to beat the boss. Great times.

Avatar image for decoy1978


Well said! I had such high hopes for FFXIV and now I probably will never play another FF MMO. Never again... the wound is still too fresh!

Avatar image for Tauu

@decoy1978 FFXIV 2.0 is probably overhyped but, I'm holding out a little hope for a miracle. FFXI was pure greatness back in it's heyday.

Avatar image for Sniperwire

Anyone else think his "major illness" is SE firing him? Considering he compeltely failed FFXIV, and he was burning what is left of FFXI(a game used to love to the ground). Maybe with him gone both FFXI and FF!4's futures look bright :)

Avatar image for Mimicry

@Sniperwire There aren't enough light bulbs in the world to make FFXIV's future look bright.

Avatar image for Sniperwire

@Mimicry I'm not so sure.I'm liking what i'm hearing about it. and a lot of people were impressed at E3 with version 2.0 and are excited to see the relaunch.

Avatar image for AnGiTheGamer

Bummer, get better.

Avatar image for Mimicry

This just in folks - making shitty games can be hazardous to your health.

Avatar image for bongsyas_23

hope he gets well soon

Avatar image for greeklegend


Avatar image for oskuuu

@greeklegend well.. it was better than final fantasy 14.. at least ;D

Avatar image for tachsniper

@oskuuu yea but PONG is better than FFXIV

Avatar image for zzamaro

Don't know about medicine stuff but I hope he gets well.

Avatar image for LIQUID-X-SKULL

I hope he gets well soon, and Square Enix should really consider going back to classic JRPGs like FFV-X. I feel like its been westernly influenced, which isn't bad, but they should loose that signature feel in their games.

Avatar image for Zerabp

@LIQUID-X-SKULL They Will never get that feeling back because two of the men that gave the games that feeling more than any one else (Uematsu and Sakaguchi) left Square a long time ago...

Avatar image for tachsniper

@LIQUID-X-SKULL Actually alot of flak thrown at japanese game companies is that they have failed to westernize enough and are really behind the times. it's not the 90's anymore, you have to evolve to the market.

Avatar image for LIQUID-X-SKULL

@tachsniper adding on to @mack10 , I think the game market is very accepting for hardcore Japanese games. Don't get me wrong, I love western games (including western RPG) and I do not want them to be influenced by Japanese games. I think Japanese games should stick to being Japanese games, to keep their fans cheering, and western games to do the same. I just think that the "in-betweens" are not as successful.

Avatar image for mack10

@tachsniper @LIQUID-X-SKULL I disagree. I think westernizing to an extent is good but the western world isnt the only one that exists and our tastes arent global. I agree with liquid skull, SE needs to go back to its roots and go from there.

Avatar image for LIQUID-X-SKULL

@leimonides @mack10 Well, @leimonides said it perfectly. Japanese games have their own unique taste to them. Western games also have one, but those two tastes are mutually exclusive. Its not a matter of which is better. Its a matter of keeping both unique tastes and not messing one of them up by forcing it to taste like the other.

Avatar image for Mitridon

@mack10 @tachsniper I also agree. I like JRPG's. Westernization is good in certain genres, not in others.

Avatar image for Megavideogamer

Hopefully he will overcome his health issues and return to duty. Speedy recovery and good health.

Avatar image for brollyandvegeta

Tanaka ..

It's Dangerous To Go Alone !

Take These .

( Potion x 5 )

( Phoenix Down x 1 )

Avatar image for Mitridon

@brollyandvegeta Brilliant! :-D

Avatar image for FinalDuo1886

I didn't much care for XI, because it was strictly party base, and making currency in that game was bitch, but it 9-10 change after all these years now.

I don't much have respect for the company anymore, but I do have a heart, and I hope he gets well soon.

Avatar image for tachsniper

@FinalDuo1886 yea I quit FFXI after standing there looking for a group for literally 2 1/2 hours. At that point my gaming time could be spent on something fun instead of just standing there.

Avatar image for Snowx_


Avatar image for Ravenlock_2112

Well, FF VII was the first I played and it got me hooked in 5 mins. I played every single one, xcept for the online ones and the crappy mess that was FF XIII (60 hours of play b4 the game drags you in, yeah right), after that and loved em all. Hope you get well soon and make more JRPG's that I can waste hundreds of hours of my life on.

Avatar image for GunnyHath

It doesn't make sense to leave a company which would clearly let you take a leave of absence after having that much seniority and pull. He isn't ill enough to leave the industry if he's coming back as a solo developer. Best wishes, regardless.

Avatar image for d_generate_x

@GunnyHath The Japanese have a reputation to overwork their employees. Just look at what Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono had to say about being overworked in this interview:

I don't think they would "clearly let you take a leave of absence" as you suggest. It's not well seen for them.

It's not surprising that a veteran like Hiromichi Tanaka would want to work under a less stressful environment in light of Japanese culture.

Avatar image for tachsniper

@d_generate_x Yes the Japanese work ethic would drive most of us Americans insane. they have a drive to them that is both amazing and sometimes self destructive.

Avatar image for dark_surge

Best of luck and a quick recovery to Hiromichi.

Avatar image for Vickman178

I wonder if all that radiation in Japan has had its effects on people. They don't report it on the news but the nuclear plant that blew up is still leaking radiation.

Theres been reports of birth defects and kids getting nose bleeds from sores caused by the radiation and stuff like that...Also radiation found in the tap water in Tokyo. Hell there has been reports that small amounts of radiation from that plant was found in the milk of cows in Germany.

Get well soon Hiromichi San, hopefully its not the radiation getting you sick!

Avatar image for tachsniper

@Vickman178 well the human body can take a pretty good dose of radiation and still be able to fully heal itself. While i don't disagree they may be some I don't think unless you live right next to the plant that it would be that harmful.

Avatar image for dark_surge

@Vickman178 It wouldn't surprise me. The world governments raised the "safe" levels of radiation instead of letting everybody know that there are much, much higher levels in the air then before. Not to mention that the American and Canadian governments have stopped testing the air or fish for radiation.

Sounds crazy, but there were dozens of articles on the net reporting this earlier this year.

Avatar image for buying1999

Get well soo Hiromichi San

Avatar image for gix47

here's to hoping Mr. Hiromichi Tanaka gets well

Avatar image for Justforvisit

As much as I hate what FF has turned into, since it isn't the matter of the topic here, get well Mr. Hiromichi Tanaka.

Avatar image for tigertaru

@Justforvisit Agreed. I wish the best for Tanaka-san. Regardless of FF's many recent failures, He's part of the team that made FF so epic. he deserves more than enough respect and honor for that.

Avatar image for Cryptic_Shadow

Despite the fact that many say the FF franchise has taken a turn for the worst, this is really sad news.

Get well soon, sir. Good Luck.

Avatar image for Ovirew

I wonder if FFXI will ever go free-to-play. I would be interested in devoting more time to it and checking out these new expansions.

Avatar image for Geertwillers

I don't care about this guy. The guy that is responsible for the trainwreck that is FF13, now that's the guy who I want to see get kicked out.

Avatar image for Ovirew

@Geertwillers Was he responsible for 13? Idk, that's why I'm asking. It says he's had a very long history with the company and that he was responsible for much of FF11, but they don't mention 13 in this article.

Avatar image for tigertaru

@Ovirew @Geertwillers I think he meant that he doesn't care if Tanaka-san is leaving Square, he wants whoever at Square that's responsible for 13 to leave, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Avatar image for tigertaru

@Ovirew No, they should get canned for 13,13-2, and 14 as well lol. I know there are a few gamers that will testify that 13 is the greatest rpg ever but many long term FF fans have a huge sense of disappointment over the last several games (I've played since the 1st and I agree that I feel that way). Many feel that it's been going downhill since 10 (I however had a huge addiction to 11 and actually liked 12). It's no mistake that Square is having its share of problems which even they acknowledge. I'm just hopeful that they at least get close to as good as they used to be, because many long term fans lived and died by FF releases and now many (like me) aren't even remotely motivated to buy anything Square anymore.

Avatar image for Ovirew

@tigertaru Ah, I misread, my mistake. I wasn't too big on FF13 either, but I don't think anyone should really get canned for it.

  • 72 results
  • 1
  • 2