Who is Naoki Yoshida? [Updated]

I must admit -- Square Enix has been making many promises regarding Final Fantasy XIV, but I fell victim to the pessimism.  They offered new items, new monsters, free months and more, but like many of our forum goers, I still felt disillusioned.

However, today's announcement has blown me away.  Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada stepped up and initiated a complete overhaul of the development team roster.  Hiromichi Tanaka has stepped down from his role as Producer, and Nobuaki Komoto has moved from Director to Lead Game Designer.

Adventurers can rest easy knowing that Naoki Yoshida is now at the reigns.

Wait, who is Naoki Yoshida?

Naoki Yoshida (吉田直樹) is a game developer and director who joined Square Enix in 2004.  His career has focused heavily on Role-Playing games, most recently the Dragon Quest Monster Battle Road series -- an RPG card game hybrid played on arcade machines.


It looks like there is even less information on Mr. Yoshida than we thought.  I originally found this page among others, through chatter on Japanese forums.  Despite having the correct picture and describing Yoshida as working at Square Enix, the games in the list are apparently for another Naoki Yoshida with identical kanji.

The only other information available points to his experience with RPGs and Action titles.

However, forum-goer Quinsisdos has pointed out a helpful post on NeoGAF that sheds a little light on the whole team:

For those interested in knowing what the new core members of the team have done in more specific terms...
Producer/Director: Naoki Yoshida [Director of S-E's Dragon Quest Monster Battle Road series of arcade games.]
Section Leader Changes

Assistant Director: Shintaro Tamai [Graphics director for various FF games (7, 8, 10, 13) mostly specializing in battle graphics and special effects. He was also the director of Front Mission 5.]

Lead Game Designer: Nobuaki Komoto [Originally director of FFXIV, it seems they're reducing his responsibilities so he can focus on designing the stuff he originally specialized in on FFXI - the scenario and quest design.]

Lead Combat System Designer: Akihiko Matsui [Originally the lead battle data planner for FFXI, he took over entirely as battle director for Aht Urhgan and Wings of the Goddess after Katsuhisa Higuchi left S-E.]

Technical Advisor: Yoshihisa Hashimoto [Ex-Sonic Team programmer, director of Sonic Unleashed and technical director of the Hedgehog Engine. Left Sonic Team and joined S-E in 2009 to work on their next-generation engine platform.]

Lead Programmer: Hideyuki Kasuga [Network programmer for the FFXI client and Dirge of Cerberus online mode. Lead programmer for Gyromancer.]

Senior Concept Artist: Akihiko Yoshida [FFXIV Art director, character designer for all of Matsuno's games, character designer for FF3 DS and FF 4 Warriors of Light. God's gift to S-E's art teams.]

Lead Artist: Hiroshi Takai [Mostly a battle graphic/effects director for most of the SaGa games, more recently overall director of The Last Remnant.]

Lead UI Designer/Lead Web Designer: Hiroshi Minagawa [Director of FFXII and Tactics Ogre PSP. Art director for all of Matsuno's games. God's other gift to S-E's art teams.]

At least my closing paragraph stays somewhat intact though, as Naoki Yoshida is still a bit of an enigma.  Many of us have felt burned by Square Enix before, but a fresh new developer at the helm sounds exciting, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

Let us know what you think in the ZAM Forums!


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Good Changes
# Dec 16 2010 at 1:45 AM Rating: Decent
I am just waiting for the PS3 release! All I do now is help a friend when he is playing on the PC. I look up stuff for him while he enjoys playing... hopefully get to join in soon
# Dec 14 2010 at 7:53 AM Rating: Decent
Am sure they will fix all the lack of animation in FFXIV not to mention conjurer elemental animation nukes and most importen this awful looking anicent magic animation and how it works >.<
# Dec 17 2010 at 12:16 PM Rating: Default
They need to make nukes goes "KAAABOOOOOOOOOM!!!!"
sage sundi
# Dec 14 2010 at 3:12 AM Rating: Decent
hummmmm ...

where is Sage Sundi? out of the développement team?
about f'ing time
# Dec 13 2010 at 12:57 AM Rating: Default
read the title then repeat.
# Dec 11 2010 at 7:42 PM Rating: Excellent
About time, i already knew this game would be great but now i'm excited!
Once the xi crew stops wasting their time on abyssea and focus on this new crystal core i'm sure they will be able todo some amazing things.

"Under New Management"
# Dec 11 2010 at 4:08 PM Rating: Good
19 posts
Scary and exciting at the same time. I'm looking forward to seeing what new directions this project will take. In the interim, I'll just keep enjoying myself in-game and keep hoping for more content. ^^
Ok. I'll hang till March.
# Dec 11 2010 at 2:14 PM Rating: Excellent
The graphics director from final 7 and the battle director of Final 11. Now i'm interested.
# Dec 11 2010 at 1:01 AM Rating: Excellent
110 posts
Man most of these guys are FFXI team.. im feeling good, FFXI concept with FFXIV innovation, it will be Legendary!!!
# Dec 10 2010 at 5:29 PM Rating: Excellent
2,448 posts
My jaw is on the floor and I have goosebumps. Nothing else to say. Cept maybe...

Holy ****! Excited!!!!!!!!
# Dec 10 2010 at 5:07 PM Rating: Decent
it seems like it should shape up to be pretty good hopefully, they've only been improving the game, so i don't think they would take a step backwards in the development of future updates
finally back to the old RPG
# Dec 10 2010 at 1:37 PM Rating: Default
I don't care much who make game as long it make it good.

"world map, random battles, level grinding, item combining/creation using alchemy"
That was I was asking until now for OFFLINE RPG. Im a fan of the old RPg where you could travel in the map. Random battle wasn't a problem in games where you had a ability of encounter reduction. Example FF8 with encounter 0. PS2 RPG was good, but the lack of this old things made me think if games was really RPG. Exploration for the world map was fun. Anyway back to FFXIV, I really hope they will move that butt for fix and add things up, because servers like Besaid start become empty.
Not Sure
# Dec 10 2010 at 10:56 AM Rating: Decent
53 posts
Own, Record of Aragarest War for the pillow case XD. Game was aight, but felt a bit dated, couldve played it on the PSP probably. In between this change right now.
# Dec 10 2010 at 10:15 AM Rating: Default
Wow, those scores are bad.
"a traditional Japanese role-playing game complete with world map, random battles, level grinding, item combining/creation using alchemy, etc... Success in ... battle is based on the ability to string together specific moves into chain attack sequences"
I don't see an enigma; I see more of the same.
Agarest and X Edge...<.<
# Dec 10 2010 at 10:03 AM Rating: Good
I don't mid any changes, as long as the game gets better, BUT I sincerely hope the new Producer won't "implement" his influence of his recent games to FFXIV, cause in all honesty, Record of Agarest War and Cross Edge were some horrible RPGs overall. Every aspect of them lacked pretty much everything xD
# Dec 10 2010 at 6:36 AM Rating: Decent
I hope this works! I'm still low level on FFXIV, so I'm still enjoying my occasional play. But, if there's so many people disliking the game, I hope this is fixed soon. In the two last update I already realized a better gameplay (controls issues, menu lags).

As you can see, differently of you, I'm kind of otimists ones. =]
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