Revealed along news of company losses totalling 3,733 million yen (£25.05 million or $32.83 million), director of the 2016 Action RPG, Hajime Tabata, announced in a livestream that he’s left company and almost all upcoming DLC for the game is cancelled.
Tabata’s recently formed studio, Luminous Productions, was given the option to turn into one of Square Enix’s business divisions. Whilst Luminous Productions will continue to work on what is now the final DLC episode of Final Fantasy XV, they’ll be working on new projects, including an unannounced AAA game.
Despite selling over 8 million units since it’s November 2016 release on consoles (March 2018 on PC), Square Enix’s large financial loss appears to be connected to the slew of episodic DLC that was to be released in 2019.
DLC titles including an episodic side story based on the character; Aranea, Episode II that would have covered Lunafreya’s fate and a third Episode based on protagonist, Noctis, are now cancelled. Amongst the four DLC episodes that were planned, only Episode I: Ardyn – “The Conflict of the Sage” has survived the cuts. Based on the FFXV antagonist, Episode I is still coming, probably due to it being so far in production, being planned for a Spring 2019 release.
Tabata was quick to mention his thanks to the supporters of the title, before elaborating further as to what he’ll do next:
"I honestly believe the reason we were able to get this far is because of all you loyal fans. I thank you from the bottom of my heart".
"I have a project that I truly wish to solidify as my next challenge after FFXV. For that reason, I have decided to leave my current position and start my own business in order to achieve my goal".
"From this day on, I will cheer on and support Square Enix and Luminous Productions together with all you fans. I would like to thank everyone who continues to support FFXV and those who have also supported myself personally."
In an update, Square Enix has responded to the news with it's own statement, further confirming Tabata's departure and that Luminous Productions is staying as it's own division:
"Hajime Tabata resigned from his role as the director of Final Fantasy 15, at the same time he left Luminous Productions and has no further relations with Square Enix or Luminous Productions. We are told that he left for personal reasons. It is with regret to see the departure of such a talented member of staff who applied themselves on Final Fantasy 15 and many other memorable titles. We wish him every success for the future and will continue to cheer him on."
"As to the future of Luminous Productions, the studio was established with the goal to create a new IP, so we are continuing to develop our new title."
What adds further to the heartbreak of this announcement is regarding Noctis’ DLC episode. Titled Episode III: Noctis – “The Final Strike”, it’s synopsis was that of Noctis taking on his final battle to ensure the ideal future for the people of Lucis. Sounding like the true conclusion to FFXV’s story, it makes the news all the more disappointing we’ll never see this ending come to life.