Responding to earlier reports, it has been confirmed that Final Fantasy XII producer, Yasumi Matsuno, has stepped down from his position due to health issues.
Square Enix released an official statement revealing the long-time company producer has been persistently ill and will be replaced by numerous section leaders including Akitoshi Kawazu, previously known as a director for the SaGa series. However, Matsuno will remain as a supervisor for the game while he recovers.
"To all the fans that have been waiting for the release of Final Fantasy XII, I'm sorry that its development has been taking an extremely long time," said Matsuno in his official address. "I unfortunately will have to take a step away from the production scene, but the game is progressing in its development under the hands of excellent staffs, including [Hiroshi] Minagawa, [Hiroyuki] Ito, and [Jun] Akiyama."
We wish Matsuno a speedy recovery.
Final Fantasy XII will be released exclusively on PlayStation 2 in Japan on March 16th, 2006. Western versions will follow later that year, with no specific dates yet set.