He’s out as of May 31
After serving Square Enix for over two decades in multiple roles, Shinji Hashimoto has left the company to retire from the industry altogether.
He announced the news directly on his Twitter account (posing with a Chocobo plush), noting that he will retire on May 31 of this year, and will continue to support the company as a fan. Directly following the tweet, Masahiro Sakurai reached out to thank him for his contributions to the field. 2021 was a prelude of sorts to this move, as he stepped down as executive director from the company to focus on other roles.
While Shinji Hashimoto isn’t as high-profile as some other members of the Square Enix collective, odds are you’ve played a game he’s worked on extensively, or read heaps of news that involved him indirectly. He was one of the first-ever people to comment on a remake of Final Fantasy VII over a decade ago, and has worked on games from Chocobo Dungeon to Kingdom Hearts III (a series that he in part is responsible for the creation of).
He was also famous for giving biting commentary when asked questions by fans and games writers alike; especially when he was quizzed about bringing back old franchises. Even if he said something people may not want to hear, he was a refreshing change of pace from the typically guarded executive part of the industry in the modern era. I hope he enjoys his retirement, and it’ll be fascinating to see where Square Enix goes next, and how they intend to fill his shoes.