Marking the end of an era, Shinji Hashimoto, producer and brand manger for many Final Fantasy titles, and infamous for kicking off the Kingdom Hearts series with an elevator pitch to Disney Japan executives, has announced his retirement from Square Enix today.
Posting on his twitter account, Hashimoto shared he’s leaving due to “entering retirement age.” Reflecting on his career and the many roles he’s had at the company, from here on “I’d like to support Square Enix as a fan. Thank you very much.”
Hashimoto first joined Square after leaving Bandai in 1995 and his first large project was a publicity producer on the original Final Fantasy VII, a title that would launch then Squaresoft (and the Japanese roleplaying game genre) to ever greater heights. Afterward, Hashimoto could be found on every major offline numbered title up through Final Fantasy XV, as well as a bucketful of spinoffs like Dissidia Final Fantasy and The World Ends with You and feature films like Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.
Of course, he’s left quite the mark on Kingdom Hearts franchise as well, for not only coming up with the original collaboration, but seating Final Fantasy series character designer Tetsuya Nomura in the director’s chair and as co-creator.
Hashimoto was also somewhat infamous for teasing a new Final Fantasy VII project at E3 2013, only to reveal it was a port of the original game to PlayStation 4, leaving the audience and viewers stymied. Perhaps realizing that expectations were misaligned, Hashimoto laughed out loud on stage — though it seems he truly got the last laugh when Square Enix finally announced the Final Fantasy VII Remake project two years later.
There’s no shortage of Square Enix titles that Hashimoto has touched, and for his indelible mark (or troll) on many video gaming fans, we wish Shinji Hashimoto a happy retirement. We hope he is excited.