Dragon Quest series chief producer Ryutaro Ichimura has announced that he has resigned, leaving Square Enix after more than two decades.
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Revealing the news on Twitter (machine translation via DeepL), Ryutaro explained, “This is a sudden report, but as of 3/31, I have resigned from Square Enix. It is a long story with many thoughts and feelings, so please see the attached memo. To all the many staff members who worked with me, and to all the users, thank you so much!”
In his lengthier statement, Ryutaro explains how he has “worked for Square Enix for 22 years. Thanks to everyone involved and to the users, I have made it this far. Thank you very much.”
“When I was sorting through my belongings at the company, I found a copy of my resume from when I first joined the company,” Ryutaro explained. “In my motivation for applying for the job, I wrote ‘I love Dragon Quest.'”
“I was born in the year of the dragon, joined the company in the year of the dragon, was assigned to the Dragon Quest section, and became a producer of Dragon Quest…. I felt like I was destined for something,” Ryutaro confesses.RELATED: ‘Final Fantasy XVI’ Producer Naoki Yoshida Rails Against the Use Of The Term ‘JRPG’: “It Wasn’t A Compliment To A Lot Of Developers In Japan”
“At the age of 25 I became producer of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, and was put in charge of Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors, and two more in succession,” he explained.
The titles Ryutaro is alluding to are Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky and Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below.
In his statement, Ryutaro also explains his involvement with Kenshin Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road, Dragon Quest of the Stars, the series’ 30th anniversary project, the Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai anime, and original projects such as Gyrozetter.
“Square Enix gave me great opportunities and challenged me a lot. I have nothing but gratitude,” he admitted. “Above all, working closely with Yuji Horii, Akira Toriyama, and Koichi Sugiyama, whom I respect and admire, was a valuable experience, and I had the chance to work with about 100 Metal Kings.”
“It took a lot of courage to leave such a wonderful place, but I came to this conclusion after much thought. I will be 47 years old this year, and I have begun to wonder how many more games I will be able to make in my lifetime. Now it takes 3 or 4 years to make one game, so in order to die with no regrets, I have to think carefully about each game I make,” Ryutaro elaborated.
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“After thinking about this and confronting myself with a clean slate, I decided that I wanted to leave this blessed environment, put myself in a high-risk environment, and find out what would come out of it. I wanted to explore what would come out of such a risky environment. I would like to be more free in my thinking, and I would like to enjoy myself while working on this project.”
While not explicitly stated, it seems Ryutaro may be working on a new project that radically departs from what he had done at Square Enix.
“For me, Dragon Quest ends here. And I am off on a new journey of adventure. I will continue to create games in the future, so please give me your your support! I hope to see you all again somewhere through my work somewhere in the future. Take care, everyone! Let’s keep up the good work!” Ryutaro concludes with a picture outside Square Enix’ offices, holding Erdrick’s sword and shield.
In recent years, the Dragon Quest series has lost some of its most prominent figures, starting with the passing of composer Koichi Sugiyama in October of 2021. Earlier this year, series producer Ryota Aomi announced his retirement after 13 years at the company.
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