Yosuke Matsuda, president and representative director of Square Enix, is stepping down after 10 years in the position.
The official announcement states that he’ll be replaced by the relatively new Takahashi Kiryu, a company director who joined Square in 2020, as part of an organizational restructuring. The proposed change will be voted for approval at the 43rd Annual Shareholder’s Meeting in June. Square Enix’s reason for the change is as follows:
Under the rapid change of business environment surrounding the entertainment industry, the proposed change is intended to reshape the management team with the goal of adopting ever evolving technological innovations and maximizing on the creativity of the Company’s group in order to deliver even greater entertainment to its customers around the world.
Matsuda became president in 2013, succeeding Yoichi Wada as part of a massive restructuring. His time at the top could be viewed as a bit of a rollercoaster. He pushed for innovation in Square’s flagship franchise, Final Fantasy, and voiced commitment to remaking and re-releasing popular titles from Square’s back catalog, such as Final Fantasy VII. The MMO Final Fantasy XIV also became a global phenomenon under his watch, though the company as a whole has largely struggled to land a massive success outside of the franchise. In recent years, high-profile Square Enix-published titles such as Marvel’s Avengers and Babylon’s Fall had disappoitning releases, with the former ceasing development this year and the latter shutting down this week.
Perhaps most infamously, Matsuda was also at the front of Square’s tumultuous relationships with its North American third-party publishers, namely Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal, whose titles such as the Tomb Raider reboot trilogy, Deus Ex, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy were often deemed commercial disappointments. That came to a head last May, when Square Enix sold off these studios and their IPs to Embracer Group.
In recent times, Matsuda was also a vocal advocate for NFTs and blockchain gaming. In January, he published a letter detailing upcoming company initiatives, including making games that incorporate blockchain technology.