Hajime Tabata, the man who took the daunting task of wrapping up a decade of development on Final Fantasy XV, is no longer with Square Enix. His departure has forced the company to cancel the DLC plans it announced earlier this year at PAX.
Tabata’s decision to resign comes alongside news of Square Enix posting a “extraordinary loss” of $33 million, putting the blame on the company’s focus into AAA development. Tabata’s recently formed studio, Luminous Productions, was also mentioned in the report.
Square Enix issued a statement on the matter, saying that Tabata resigned for personal reasons.
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.
Only the DLC Episode Ardyn remains in active development and will be released in March 2019. FFXV: Multiplayer Comrades will still be released on Dec. 13.
Upon release, Final Fantasy XV was widely regarded as a weird success story. After a decade of development, the game felt broken beyond repair at times and was hardly in the same class of “perfection” that the standard AAA game demands. And yet, for all its shortcomings, most fans loved it to pieces. For what it lacked in finesse, it made up in heart through the characters that told the story, the odd, boneheaded, nonsensical DLC, and other design choices it made.
Final Fantasy XV, for all of its shortcomings, is a genuinely fun game that stood out as fresh in a world overcrowded by formulaic open world games.
Tabata himself was seen as a fresh new face in Square Enix, one that would eventually replace the modern hierarchy as the company navigated the rough waters into a more modern day shell. His development style, which also extended to popular games like Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, The 3rd Birthday, and Final Fantasy Type-0, employed a mix of both Japanese and Western approaches.
And unlike the Square Enix of old, design choices were left largely up to fans, whose input was taken into account among the Final Fantasy XV team.
It’s a shame that Tabata and Square Enix couldn’t find further success together.