Hiromichi Tanaka has stepped down as the producer of Final Fantasy XIV after continued negative fan feedback over the PC version of the game led to yet another delay of its PlayStation 3 release.
Square-Enix has released a statement explaining that it wishes to ensure that the PS3 version of the game meets its customers expectations and is therefore undertaking a restructure of the production team. The no-subscription trial of the PC version of the game has also been extended.
"While more than two months have passed since the official launch of Final Fantasy XIV service, we deeply regret that the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that Final Fantasy fans have come to expect from the franchise, and for this we offer our sincerest of apologies," read a statement by Square Enix president Yoichi Wada.
"After thorough deliberation on how to meet those expectations, it was decided that the most viable step was to approach improvements under new leadership and with a restructured team.
"To realise this vision, and in doing so, provide our customers with a better game experience, we have assembled our company's top talent and resources. Taking over the role of producer and director is Naoki Yoshida, a passionate individual for whom customer satisfaction has always taken top priority."
Outgoing producer Tanaka also issued a statement as part of the post, apologising for his part in the problems which players had experienced.
"First of all, I would like to apologise for our inability to fully satisfy our users with the initial release of Final Fantasy XIV. I take full responsibility for the game's current situation, and have therefore made the decision to step down from my role as producer."
The PC version of FFXIV received generally negative reviews, averaging only 54 per cent on Metacritic and reaching tenth on the UK chart. Square-Enix responded by extending the free-to-play trial period of the game and apologising to customers via the company's official blog.
Statements on that blog promised that nearly all of the reported problems with the game would be fixed by late November, when the free trial period would end, and that a PS3 version would hit shops in March 2011. No new date hs been set for the game's release.
Last month, poor sales of Final Fantasy XIV on PC were partially blamed for suddenly plummeting profits in Square-Enix's financial reports.