First reported by VGC (opens in new tab), Square Enix announced (opens in new tab) that it plans on ousting company president Yosuke Matsuda. Following shareholder approval, Matsuda will be replaced with Takashi Kiryu, who came to the company from managing the Dentsu Innovation Initiative (opens in new tab) in 2020.
Matsuda’s run since taking over for Yoichi Wada in 2013 has been, what else, a mixed bag. His tenure saw an increased number of PC ports, some simultaneously launching with their console counterparts, but that timeliness is hardly a given—Final Fantasy 7 Remake took over a year to come to PC, while Final Fantasy 16 will likely take more than six months (opens in new tab).
It’s also worth noting that the publisher has become synonymous with poor PC ports (opens in new tab) more broadly: Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins, Forspoken, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake all boasted varying degrees of stuttering, low FPS caps, and limited options menus. Matsuda’s tenure also saw the sloughing off of Square Enix’s Western developers (opens in new tab), selling Eidos Montreal, Crystal Dynamics, and Square Enix Montreal to the Embracer Group.
And of course, the elephant in the room: Matsuda loves blockchain stuff; still does too, even after crypto’s stunning contraction in late 2022 and the ongoing investigation and/or prosecution of several major exchanges. “We are most focused on blockchain investment, to which we have devoted aggressive investment,” Matsuda wrote (opens in new tab) at the beginning of the year.
Now, you might hope that this tone-deaf commitment—even as crypto boosters have been left holding the bag after the market collapsed—might be what prompted Matsuda’s ouster, but that seems rather doubtful. Incoming president Kiryu’s previous job at Dentsu involved “scouting of new and disruptive technologies,” and not the kind that make JRPGs run at arbitrary framerates above 60 fps. The company is heavily leveraged in NFTs, the metaverse, and Web 3.0—all those buzzwords that just seem weirdly dated now that the kids are all-in on AI.
Whatever comes of shuffling the top dog at Square Enix, I wouldn’t worry just yet—nothing much has come from the company’s blockchain bullishness to date. Besides, they can mint Cait Sith NFT lines to their hearts’ content as long as they just let my man, Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii, cook in peace. Slime NFTs in Dragon Quest 12—that’s when I’m breaking the glass.