Fans of Final Fantasy XI and Square Enix are coming out of Vana Fest 2012 with mixed emotions, as video game developer and producer Hiromichi Tanaka announced his departure from Square Enix. Tanaka cited a major illness as the reason for his retirement (no details were given on the illness). He also wished to return to development as a single creator. The news came one day after the announcement of a new expansion to Final Fantasy XI, Seekers of Adoulin.
Hiromichi Tanaka was one of the earliest members of Square, working game design on the NES Final Fantasy games with franchise creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. Tanaka would play a major role in producing the Final Fantasy MMOs (XI & XIV) as well as directing the remake for Final Fantasy III on Nintendo DS. He also directed and produced games for the Seiken Densetsu (Mana) franchise, as well as fan favorites Xenogears and Chrono Cross.
Tanaka will pass the reigns of production for Final Fantasy XI to Akihiko Matsui, battle planner for Final Fantasy XIV. Tanaka will also leave behind his post as Senior Vice President of Software Development and head of Product Development Division-3 at Square Enix.
Sources: 1 (http://andriasang NULL.com/con1n4/tanaka_departure_interview/), 2 (http://andriasang NULL.com/con1mv/tanaka_leaves_squenix/), 3 (http://gematsu NULL.com/2012/06/hiromichi-tanaka-leaves-square-enix)