Final Fantasy 15 art director Yusuke Naora has left Square Enix after 24 years, and will shift into an independent role while still collaborating on designs with the company.
Many fans had marked down September 30th as the date when the long-awaited Final Fantasy 15 was supposed to be released, following nearly a decade of development. Of course, this didn't quite pan out that way, and Square Enix's long-gestating RPG has since been pushed back to a November 29th release date. However, for a certain Square Enix art director who has worked at the company for over two decades, that September 30th date still holds some significance as it marks his last day with the developer.
After working at Square Enix as an art director for 24 years – and having served as art director for Final Fantasy 15 – Yusuke Naora recently announced on Twitter that he has left the company and that his final day was Friday, September 30th. Naora leaves behind an impressive portfolio of work having worked on a number of classic Square Enix titles, such as Chrono Trigger, and most notably, numerous Final Fantasy projects dating back to Final Fantasy 6.
For those who can't read Japanese, the folks over at Nova Crystallis have translated Naora's tweet into English:
While Naora has left Square Enix, it appears that both parties intend to maintain an ongoing working relationship. According to a follow-up tweet, it appears that Naora will be shifting into an independent role that, not only allows him the freedom to work on his own projects, but will also allow him to continue working with Square Enix on designs and illustrations.
Naora isn't the first big name to leave Final Fantasy 15 prior to its release, with the title's original director Tetsuya Nomura leaving to work on other projects in 2014 and Hajime Tabata shifting into the director's chair in order to complete the game. Given that the reasons for Final Fantasy 15's recent delay primarily revolve around debugging, and taking into account that his last day at Square Enix was less than a week ago, it appears that a majority – if not all – of Naora's work will remain in Final Fantasy 15, so fans need not worry about any last minute shift in art direction.
Based on what we've seen so far from the various snippets of gorgeous Final Fantasy 15 footage, it appears that Naora will be leaving the upcoming RPG and Square Enix on a high, and it will be exciting to see what projects he will be working on next.
Final Fantasy XV is scheduled for release on November 29, 2016 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.