During a special announcement stream for Final Fantasy XV, which was presumed to announce new DLC beyond the game’s announced four new episodes, Square Enix and director Hajime Tabata shocked everyone by cancelling 75 percent of the DLC and announcing Tabata’s resignation from the company.
“To everyone watching the program, hello, this is Tabata,” the director said in a pre-written, text-only message aired on stream. “It’s almost going to be two 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 time 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 from 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 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 and support Square Enix and Luminous Productions together with all you fans.
“I would like to thank everyone who continue [sic] to support FFXV and those who have supported myself personally.”
The stream then announced, in fairly rapid succession, that all the announced DLC aside from Episode Ardyn in March has ceased, that the PC version production has ended with no further updates planned like mod tools and map editors, and that the released Comrades multiplayer DLC will be released standalone on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
It’s a fairly shocking announcement from Tabata, who was a year into a new IP that started with the FFXV team and moved to development with the Luminous Productions studio, which was set up earlier this year to help Tabata with the new game and cross-media products for Final Fantasy XV. Tabata was expected to be the new name and face of Final Fantasy for Square Enix, as Hironobu Sakaguchi had been before him, especially considering FFXV’s massive sales success.
Last night, likely as a portent to today’s announcement, Square Enix announced that Luminous Productions suffered “an extraordinary loss,” which is a business term for an unusual loss as a result of a business transaction, of over $33 million dollars. While the company was vague on details, it seemed that a major cancellation was being written off as a total loss. Connected to the Tabata news, it is likely that either Tabata’s game was cancelled or the multimedia projects connected to Final Fantasy XV were dismissed.
Ahead of Final Fantasy XV’s 2016 launch, we spoke with Tabata about how the game is “make or break” for the franchise.