Earlier this year, Square Enix announced a second wave of Final Fantasy XV DLC content. It was quite a surprising move from the company, given that few games are given that kind of second life beyond their initial Season Pass content. Now today came an even bigger surprise: they changed their minds.
Four new add-on chapters were announced for Final Fantasy XV last April, each focusing on a specific character: Episode Ardyn, Episode Aranea, Episode Lunafreya and Episode Noctis. Episode Noctis would have really, truly been the final chapter — we think. Now only Episode Ardyn, which is too far along to pump the brakes, will be released.
Why the sudden about-face? Because the man in charge is leaving the company. Game director Hajime Tabata has been credited with saving the Final Fantasy XV project, back when it was just an FF spinoff and in danger of cancellation. He’s been in charge of the whole thing since then, until now. It would seem Square doesn’t want to continue without him.
This kind of reverence for a creator’s vision seems to be unique to Japanese companies. Whenever a major player in the team quits, the entire project is stalled if not shut down entirely. Capcom put the Mega Man series on hold for several years after creator Eiji Inafune left. When Gunpei Yokoi left Nintendo, the series he was involved with (including Metroid) were put on hiatus. In America, these people would have been replaced immediately, but in Japan, replacements only happen if the parent company is made up of total jerks (read: Konami).
Tabata released a public statement upon the announcement of his departure from Square, which can be read below.
It’s almost going to be 2 whole years since the release of FFXV. 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.
Today, I have a personal announcement to make to all of you. I, Hajime Tabata, will be resigning from Luminous Productions and the Square Enix Group as of October 31, 2018.
I was able to gain so much experience with my time at Square Enix. Every title I was able to be a part of means a lot to me. However, FFXV stood out from that group as it was a special project for me which I went all-in.
Therefore, I decided to take this opportunity to officially announce my departure from FFXV to all the fans who have supported the title across the globe.
In regards to my next endeavors and near future, 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.
As production of Episode Ardyn continues and Luminous Productions works on new projects, I felt that it was time for me to hand over the torch to the next generation group of talented and trustworthy colleagues and believe that they will create something amazing.
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 continue to support FFXV and those who have also supported myself personally.