Kazuya Niinou, the director of Dragon Quest Builders, is leaving Square Enix after the launch of the second game in the series. In a message thanking fans, Niinou thanks fans and colleagues, but after seven years at Square Enix, it sounds like he's ready for something different.
Niinou says on Twitter that he felt a bit of burn out after Dragon Quest Builders 2, and that he'd like to experience a new development environment, which we confirmed by independent translation. He says he'll still keep an eye on Dragon Quest Builders 2, though that doesn't guarantee any DLC (via Video Games Chronicle).
"Wow, I belonged to Square Enix for seven years (the longest in my career!)," Niinou tweeted. "I felt a bit of burn out from Builders 2 and also felt like returning to a development cycle distinct from that of Square Enix, hence me deciding to journey to a new development environment."
Niinou also thanked several people, including Final Fantasy 14 director Naoki Yoshida, as well as producers Noriyoshi Fujimoto and Takuma Shiraishi.
During his seven years at Square Enix, Niinou worked on Etrian Odyssey and Final Fantasy 14's A Realm Reborn update as well as the Dragon Quest Builders series. The Builders series became a surprising success for the traditional role-playing game series, turning a Minecraft-like foundation into two pretty neat spinoffs.
Niinou hasn't said what's next for him just yet, though I certainly wouldn't be against the block-ification of other classic RPGs. Whatever it is, I hope the development cycle's a bit less daunting than what it sounds like it's been for him in the past. Crunch has been an ongoing point of contention in the industry. The more cognizant developers, and the people who play their games, are of its ramifications, the more the industry as a whole can work towards avoiding burnout.
Be sure to check out our guides to Dragon Quest Builders 2 if you're still playing, so you don't miss any of the neat recipes hidden away in the game.