Tanaka was the EP - the executive producer. This is not some ******* who signs time sheets and organizes Christmas party, this is the guy who has the last say in anything that happens with the game. He fires and hires everybody on the team. He has the full control over the whole development process. E.g. all he had to do to get AH in the game is just a word. Ditto for the repairs, ditto for the auto-sort and all the other idiotic "features" we see in the game now. These are not the things that were not implemented due to time constraints. These are deliberate decisions somebody had to make. Even if you believe Tanaka has not made them you have to realize he had to approve every single one of them. And thus he bears the full responsibility.
I'd like to add that the P/EP is usually the SOURCE of all clearly bad ideas. Not only does the EP take fault for approving bad ideas, but most of the time creating them. Nobody can oppose him even when the whole team thinks it's bad design. Because as the guy above says, the producers hire and fire at will. True story.
Game/gameplay designers, the people that build a career around knowing what works and what sucks, do you really think they would have made these decisions that are obviously wrong even to the 'lowly' user?
That leaves nobody else who could have made these decisions, besides know-nothing, control-hungry producers. More often than not, a bad game is the result of a project where specialists are not allowed to control their own department of the dev process. The BEST games, are the result of projects where everyone is given strongest say over their department of expertise. Producers do what they're supposed to, manage pay, hiring, and solving internal disputes. Tanaka, who in an interview admitted that he didn't know how ACHIEVEMENTS WORK when they ported FFXI to Xbox... Need any more proof that producers have no place dictating design decisions?
I always thought it was strange how a game company would go out of their way to hire the best-of-the-best of the different specialties, and then give them no power to make decisions they are experts in... It's like hiring a rocket scientist to build you a rocket, but insist he exactly put it together according to your plans on a cocktail napkin. What you'll get is a very big bomb.
the correct way to proceed is hand him the cocktail napkin, tell him "I imagine it something like this" and let him go to work without interference. If you properly hired a quality scientist, not only will the rocket match your rough outline, but it will function perfectly. Edited, Dec 10th 2010 1:24pm by RattyBatty