Shinji Hashimoto, the producer of Final Fantasy games and the co-creator of Kingdom Hearts, has retired after 28 years at Square Enix.
He announced his retirement on Twitter, saying he was "very grateful" to everybody and was looking forward to continuing his support for the company as a fan. The official Square Enix Twitter also honoured Hashimoto, saying "thank you for everything" alongside a video message from the man himself.
Hashimoto joined Squaresoft in 1995, serving as producer on almost every mainline and spin-off Final Fantasy game from Final Fantasy 7 onwards. He also helped to produce games such as The Last Remnant and The World Ends With You.
Shinji Hashimoto retires from Square Enix today and we're very lucky to have received a video message from him.Thank you for everything, @shinjihashimot3! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/LHowKYfgqXMay 31, 2022
According to Den of Geek, the idea for Kingdom Hearts came about in a conversation with Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, wanting to develop an open world game akin to Super Mario 64. However, the two felt as though they needed a mascot as strong as Mario to carry the game, and felt as though Disney was the only company that had the same kind of power. Luckily for Hashimoto, he found himself in an elevator with a Disney executive, with the two companies sharing an office. The chance meeting helped lead to the conception of Kingdom Hearts, with Hashimoto overseeing every entry in the series.
Hashimoto said he was "leaving the company in high spirits," encouraging fans and former colleagues to say hello if they ever see him.