Since the Square Enix Party 2005 began on July 30, news has circulated through the Internet that Final Fantasy XII producer and director Yasumi Matsuno has taken on a different role in the game's development. While this news did come from a respectable source, many voiced doubt over the validity of this development.
This news was officially confirmed today through an announcement on Final Fantasy XII's official web site. Yasumi Matsuno has left his roles as director and producer, and has instead taken on the role of original scenario plot supervisor. Taking his place as director are Hiroyuki Ito, who has done work on several Final Fantasy titles as well as Chrono Trigger, and Hiroshi Minagawa, who has worked on both Final Fantasy Tactics titles as well as Vagrant Story. The Producer position has been filled by Akitoshi Kawazu, who has worked primarily on Square Enix's SaGa series.
Word from Square Enix states that Matsuno had to take a lower-responsibility position on the development team due to an illness that has been plaguing him for a lengthy period of time.
Several other new faces made appearances to the staff listing on Final Fantasy XII's site today as well. The new staff listing is as follows:
Akitoshi Kawazu, Executive Producer
Yasumi Matsuno, Original Scenario Plot Supervision
Hiroyuki Ito, Director
Hiroshi Minagawa, Director
Takashi Katano, Chief Programmer
Hideo Minaba, Art Direction
Isamu Kamikokuryou, Art Direction
Kazutoyo Machiro, Battle Designer
Jun Akiyama, Event Designer
Eiji Fujii, Movie Director
Taku Murata, Supervisor
Hitoshi Sakimoto, Composer
Nobuo Uematsu, Music Insertion/Producer
Angela Aki, Vocals and Piano
Final Fantasy XII is scheduled to ship to retailers in Japan on March 16, 2006. A press release sent to news outlets today stated that a North American localization is scheduled for release "later" in 2006.