After a decade of leading the team behind Final Fantasy XI, producer Akihiko Matsui announced today that he will be stepping down from his role and Yoji Fujito will be taking over. Matsui explains his reasoning in a letter to the community, stating that while he had expected to remain producer until he retired, Fujito expressed an interest in taking over the job eventually, and Matsui decided that his approach to managing the game had been more conservative than was necessary.
Fujito explained in a separate followup letter that while he plans to slightly reduce the number of people actively working on development for the game, his hope is that more compact version updates will enable a more solid overall environment for the game. This means both improving the server architecture for the game behind the scenes as well as producing more merchandise and even hosting live events once more. Check out the full rundown on the official site; it’s a major shift in the nature of FFXI’s development as the game continues to move forward.