Yoichi Wada steps down as Square Enix CEO
posted on 03.26.13 at 07:59 AM EDT by (@admeady)
Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda to replace him.

Yoichi Wada has stepped down as the President and Representative Director of Square Enix as of late June, the company has announced

Yosuke Matsuda, the current Representative Director of Square Enix, will replace Wada as the company’s new boss.

Matsuda, born April 27, 1963, joined Square Enix as a Senior Vice President in October 2001 and become the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Accounting and Finance in 2003. A year later, he graduated to Director and CFO of Square Enix, then four years later to Director and CFO of Square Enix Holdings.

Wada, born May 28, 1959, joined Square Enix in April 2000 and became an Executive Director and CFO in June 2000. When Square merged with Enix in 2003, he became the new company’s President and Representative Director.

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  • nyobzoo

    Great news, ever since wada took over it was 1 bad decision after another

    • Anime10121

      yep bout the only good decision he ever made was purchasing Eidos. Past that I can’t think of much done right under his reign. So yay (I mean I hate to say that about a person, but … yay!)!

  • Sairen


    • rockman29


      Seems like people at SE aren’t even happy with him.

      Stop trodding down your franchises for once SE!

      • rockman29

        Square-Enix expects ‘extraordinary loss’ in next financial report

        Seems like all the “success” people claim SE is having with their new directions is completely and patently false.

        Unfortunately SE already cut ties with a huge number of game directors and other contributors who worked on FF for so long, and that started this whole mess in the first place!

        • uhawww

          The main problem is that they placed some fairly unreasonable expectations on these recent Eidos titles and fell short, despite critical acclaim of those titles. Also, the amount of resources that have been rerouted into FFXIV:ARR were pretty extraordinary for a project that has not yet released, and therefore unable to generate any revenue. To the point where most other Japanese projects suffered. These decisions are squarely on Wada, for trying to forcibly replicate the success of FFXI.
          Rumors are swirling that there will most likely be major changes in executive personnel, now that the CFO in in charge.

          • Kurisu Makise

            Square Enix needed to replace all of their managerial positions outright honestly, so I hope the reform continues. Though I did like Wada’s earlier movements, such as purchasing Eidos. It’s time for change, so let’s see how it goes, Square Enix.

  • Derpazu

    About damn time.

  • I’m so happy.

  • Elvick

    Praise be to Yevon.

  • syaznifaiq

    Maybe kinda bad for me to say this but … Fuck Yes , no more westernized Final fantasy after this ..

  • Well let’s hope that changes things. If not… at least it was a chance to get back to “good game developement”.
    I know this is not very kind of me, since many people actually liked XIII-XIV and didn’t have anthing against the advertising choices either. But as a gamer who always loved the old games ( and no I do not necessarily mean VII with that, I’m more the IV,V,VI,VIII,IX type) this is one reason to celebrate! A change in management is always nice, if it’s for the good of the games/company and the actual development staff.

  • If this means less focus on westernizing core Japanese franchises, then I’m happy. If it means more of the same DLCs, microtransactions, no localizations, then I say a new guy is only going to make it worse.

    • DrForbidden

      Well said, dude.

  • Leon Keyv

    Goodbye Wada, u will not be missed.
    lets see how this new guy does as the new CEO,

  • gamelayer

    Final Fantasy needs more steampunk and less Starwars.

    • Awnye

      Less steampunk and more Star Wars, actually. FFXII was awesome and that game was closer to SW than any of the others.

    • ddsfan2

      I don’t know if Final Fantasy is really that different from Star Wars. Just take the classic Final Fantasy IV for example, which has a number of similarities to Star Wars:

      (Extensive spoilers to Final Fantasy IV follow…)

      – Golbez is sort of like Darth Vader; both in terms of appearance, behavior, and the fact that the actual villian was actually someone else (much like Darth Vader and the Emperor)

      – Trials to become a Paladin are similar to Luke’s cave ordeal

      – Red Wings and Red Squadron

      I’ve always gotten a kick out of the marriage theme song from FFIV being reused in FFXII. That game really does pay homage to the greats in more ways than meets the eye.

      EDIT: For what it’s worth, I’m a big time fan of both Final Fantasy 4 and 12, among several other entries in the series, as well as Steampunk, regular Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

    • More town & worldmap exploring, more experience build-up, more side missions to get special items, more decision-making… and less cinematics.

  • ryougazell

    Finally! This guy was a cancer with his terrible decisions. So long ‘Imperial Hot’ (lol)

  • Ratsuki


  • Martian Wong

    Maybe the first thing the new boss going to say: Get Final Fantasy Versus XIII released..those poor souls suffered enough!

  • I nevvvvvvvver thought this would happen

    I think I see a purple rainbow

  • Luccie85

    10 years. What took you so long to step down Mr Wada ? I hope the golden age of Square & Enix will be back with the new CEO.

  • MagoIichi

    Good, now fire the guy that made FFXIII into a series.

    • Gaara D.Dragon


      ….That’s the guy who made Final Fantasy X !

      • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

        Not really,he did directing.Pretty much everything else can be attributed to other people.

  • Sae-Won Yoon

    A shame, yet a necessary sacrifice.

  • SirAuron14

    is this good or bad? is Yosuke Matsuda good?

    • uhawww

      He’s their CFO. When this happens in business, it usually means that serious changes to the directorial board and staffing are coming. This is probably a good thing.

  • inb4 the new CEO, who could be worse than Imperial Hot himself, enters the fray…

    • Anime10121

      God I hope not, I agree that its far too early to start celebrating though.

  • Prodigy-X

    Fuck Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now Versus can finally come out.

    • I think you mean the FFVII remake

      • Prodigy-X

        Yeah that to. Since PS4 is easy to develop for and hopefully the next xbox is to.

        • Wada’s statement about not making a remake for VII until another game outsells it wasn’t a good move imo

          • Prodigy-X

            Yeah, he just wanted to keep making excuses because all he cared about was FF XIII after he saw how good the first one sold.

  • Tac-Mex

    Yes, SE has been a pretty mediocre company, they already damaged the FF franchise with a stupid trilogy, a MMO and social games (all the bravest), i hope this new guy save the company

  • well everbody here said what i had to say :D

  • fallen

    They should hire Level-5 to replace him. As in, Level-5 should make all of Square-Enix’s decisions. What I’m saying is, they should be bought out by Level-5.

    • Elvick

      So we get even fewer games from SE than we do now?

      I love Level-5, but a good 90% (generous percentage) of their games never come out of Japan. And even fewer in North America than Europe (Inazuma Eleven, which has a lot of games in it’s franchise).

      • fallen

        I think if they had control of the S-E’s vast resources, staff, and talent, they would certainly ramp up their production schedule.

        In my opinion, the new Dragon Quests are nearly the only decent content S-E has put out since FFXII, and those games were developed by Level-5.

        Level-5 is more Squaresoft than Square-Enix is. You could say Monolith Soft is, too. Either of those companies would handle Square IPs with much more venerability than S-E.

        I sincerely don’t understand the hate I got for my comment. It was just a joking observation of the fact that games like Ni no Kuni are more Squaresoft than FFXIII-3: The New Adventures of Sexy Dressphere Warrior Princess Gaiden.

        • Elvick

          I didn’t give you any rating so meh. Can’t speak for other people.

          Probably has to do with SE still making good games, Eidos stuff does very well. Handheld offerings are still great. SE’s own console stuff is not what I would personally like, but not like there’s much to really go off of this generation.

  • Tac-Mex
  • InternatlGamer3

    With the PS4 being easy to develop for We are possibly more likely to get REMAKES of “Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX” on PS3/PS4/PS VITA.

    they’d make a killing in sales.

  • InternatlGamer3

    FFVII – IX remakes

    • Tac-Mex

      Funny to see how people keep asking for remakes, no wonder why se and other companies keep releasing their HD remixes.

      Rather have new games than “remakes”

      • MosquitoLemon

        FFXIII Vita remake, coming soon, lol

      • Elvick

        We can have both you know.

  • Ace

    This is some of the best news I’ve heard concerning Square Enix.

  • PrinceHeir

    wow i wonder who’s next?

    Capcom CEO? lol i wouldn’t be surprised!!

  • Gaara D.Dragon

    Lot’s of hate but not enough specific accusations.

    Let me start: Is he to blame for taking FF XIII to the 360 ?

    Failed move on many levels. One whole year of delay, extra development costs, LOW sales and games like MGS 4 indicating how the combination of exclusivity and a big name can bring in numbers.

    Everything went back chronologically and financially because of that move.

    So, is he to blame ??

    (Come on Sal / Adam get the scoop !)

    • Elvick

      It’s even funnier when you consider how FFXIII-2 sold on 360, and consider that the 360 version of the original was the only one advertised (in NA at least) and still didn’t match the PS3 sales.

      Just imagine what the game would have sold if they had advertised it on the system it was actually popular on? Or if it had remained exclusive and advertised?

  • Koatl

    Matsuda needs to put a fire under Hiroyuki Ito’s ass. I want whatever he’s been working on, then I want him to work on a lot more asap.

  • Tsukiru

    Sad day for people that actually like Square Enix and aren’t blinded by ignorance. Many great titles came out while he was head of the company, so I have to thank him for that at least. I hope SQEX can bring out more great titles in the future to come.

  • Those of you excited for Drakengard 3 should at least be thankful to Wada, he’s a big fan of Yoko Taro and Cavia’s work and I’m certain Drakengard 3 wouldn’t have it’s shoestring budget, or any budget at all, without him pushing for it.

    And to uhawww, how can you blame Wada solely for XIV? It had hundreds of staff in departments with department heads approving submitted work, then a director, producer and a number of execs as well as a huge QA process. Wada ran the company, he didn’t develop and do all the testing of XIV. The company wanted another financial success like FFXI, so they made another MMO, what did Wada do wrong in this process? XIV wasn’t overly westernized or anything like that that people complain about Wada, it just suffered from bad gameplay and wasn’t very good, especially after XI.

    • Elvick

      Wada had to have known what the game was like when it came out, but they decided to release it anyway. They literally released an unfinished product and hoped for the best… and they got what they deserved out of it. It’s the business side of the coin that makes those gambles.

      If you think the dev team is to blame for the game coming out before it was ready, then goodness. The dev team doesn’t make the call to release a game.

      What you’re saying is basically excusing any of the fault in the business side, because of the dev team’s faults. That’s like blaming Sonic Team for Sonic ’06 coming out. No. We blame them for the shitty game, but we blame SEGA for the game coming out the way it was.

  • new_tradition

    First I thought this was a surprise, but when I think about it, I don’t believe Wada’s been saying anything to the public for a while. I don’t think this was a sudden decision.

    Can’t say I’m happy to see someone lose their job, but I wasn’t a fan of his either (mainly for the whole appeal to the West thing). All the best for him and his new career path though.

    But I wonder if major changes really will be coming to SE now. I’m not familiar with Matsuda, so don’t know what to expect from his leadership.

  • I have mixed feelings about this. Honestly, I feel like I could write about this for quite a while, but I just don’t have the time. I’ll try to make this short…

    I’ll say this much — I think it’s unfair to just pin all the mistakes, failures, and bad decisions on Wada.

    The company has made some good decisions in the last few years, but they have also made some costly mistakes.

    You know what I like about Wada? For the most part, he has owned up to those mistakes. He alone, is not responsible for all the bad decisions, but he has been trying to do something about them. All you need to do is look at his direct involvement in FINAL FANTASY XIV – A Realm Reborn. I felt like he was trying to work his way out of a rough patch, but I guess he isn’t going to get the chance to finish trying.

    Don’t forget about all the great portable games, and how the company has been making some small steps in the right direction recently. The Eidos purchase was also great for gamers, but apparently not so great for the company itself, not profit wise, not yet at least.

    What does Square-Enix need to do better? I think a good first step is better communication. The Japanese branch especially. I’ve always complained about the lack of communicating with fans, which is absurd in 2013.

    Delivering on promises is also a good place to start. Get Versus out already, localize the games you said you would, etc.

    I’d also like to see them become more efficient. They have to find a way to reduce these crazy development cycles, it’s really crucial. They can’t get Versus out and then just announce a new game and go into another super long development cycle.

    That’s all from me on this subject right now. I just don’t want people to think things are suddenly going to get way better because of this change, I hope things improve, but let’s remain realistic. It sounds like the management is getting reworked from the top, so let’s hope this doesn’t slow things down a bunch during the transition.

    • Ratsuki

      Very well said.

      While I’m not liking Wada myself, I did gave him some points for trying to fix XIV rather than making excuse. While making mistakes here and there, at least he means well..?
      But I won’t argue that a mistake is still a mistake, and him stepping down is his own way to own it up.

      • Thanks for the reply. =)

        I just hope the Japanese branch can find something good out of all of this, something they can use to bond even more as a team. One person can’t be held responsible, and no one person is going to save the company or improve the development cycles, or profits, etc.

        I say start small, take small steps. Get back to enjoying making games, having fun, that’s when you end up making special games, games that are beloved and create fans for years to come, they also sell a ton of copies as well. =)

        It sure doesn’t seem like the teams in Japan have been taking this approach for several years now. I think back in the golden days, or so they call them. I think they were having fun back then.

        They don’t have to do some crazy new thing, or find the next big “it” thing, they just have to remember what made them special to begin with. (Just my opinion.)

        • Your comments need to be immortalized in some way.

          • Thanks for the complement. =) Seriously… making me blush over here. Thanks again.

  • EspadaKiller

    Oh man like FINALLY! YES!

  • ddsfan2

    I think that Yoichi Wada is one of Square-Enix’s many problems. I do think that ultimately he is responsible for releasing an unfinished game (FF14).

    While I wouldn’t blame him for being detached from gaming (since basically every game company CEO seems rather detached), I think that he should have encouraged more new franchises, and made deals to get veterans like Sakaguchi back, (since I think that he would have an easier time taking on a project like Versus 13) and to attract promising new talent as well. There really is no excuse given how wealthy the company is…

    The inability to hold on to the creators of Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Secret of Mana, Front Mission, Vagrant Story, and several other franchises is a major issue for the company. They seem unable to make a new in house series capable of replacing any of their trusted franchises (which outside of Final Fantasy, they struggle to continue making).

    While they are technically competent, their creativity is highly uneven, and making Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest their sole franchises has not helped the lack of variety. I really think that they would benefit from working with Team ICO, in part because they really need some creative influence.

    I am happy with the fact that they published Nier, which most likely benefited from their (presumably generous) budget, and I’ve heard that the recent Eidos titles are excellent, but mostly their output is lacking variety, and even among that output, much of the most important games are not released — We still can’t play Type-0 in English, Versus 13 isn’t out yet, Final Fantasy 14 will likely take a long time for them to fix, and so on.

  • 8ing mii 8ing u

    This is what happens when you buyout Eidos and then churn out Eidos products.