Square Enix’s upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake has always been associated with Tetsuya Nomura. However, he will now be sharing the director’s chair for the game. In an update on Square-Enix’s website, Naoki Hamaguchi has been named as the co-director for the long awaited remake.
Hamaguchi will now share directing duties Nomura after having served as the game’s “Development Leader.” This will be Hamaguchi’s first time in the director’s chair for Final Fantasy game, though this is hardly his first time with the franchise. Before this, he served in various programming roles for Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy XIV. He was most recently the project lead for the mobile RPG Mobius Final Fantasy before he left to work on the upcoming remake.
In the website, Hamaguchi states that development on the remake is going smoothly. The development workflow has apparently been overhauled as part of the shift to in-house development and the team’s efficiency has improved.
Yoshinori Kitase is still the producer of Final Fantasy VII Remake, however. Kitase was the director of the original Final Fantasy VII for PlayStation where Nomura served as a character designer.
The reason as to why Hamaguchi was promoted has not been stated. It is likely though that this is part of Square Enix shifting the game’s development internally. Development on the game was at first done with the assistance of external studio CyberConnect2. Square Enix later announced that had parted ways with the studio during a livestream hosted by Famitsu back in 2017. Incidentally, Hamaguchi was the one who made the announcement during the stream.
This news comes as Square Enix is undergoing restructuring. In addition to the changes to the Final Fantasy VII Remake team, the division led by Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida has also been restructured. This restructured “3rd Development Unit” is currently at work on an unannounced next-generation title.