Final Fantasy XV Director Hajime Tabata Leaves Square Enix, DLC Cancelled

Square Enix held a Final Fantasy XV live stream to make some important announcements about the title, heading it up with the announcement that Game Director Hajime Tabata was resigning from Luminous Productions and Square Enix. In a statement by Tabata prepared for the live stream, he talks about having a project that he wants to take on as his next challenge, but he needed to leave Square Enix and start his own business in order to do so. With Tabata taking leave of the company and the Final Fantasy XV project, three of the four planned DLC expansions have been cancelled.

2019 was supposed to hold the Dawn of the Future expansion series, featuring Episode Ardyn, Episode Aranea, Episode Lunafreya, and Episode Noctis. All except Episode Ardyn have been cancelled, with Ardyn still planned for its March 2019 release. Square Enix used the stream to release a brief teaser for the expansion and reveal Final Fantasy XV Episode Ardyn Prologue, which is effectively two additional teasers to be released on December 15, 2018, and January 10, 2019.  Existing DLC for Final Fantasy XV will see a price drop.

The Final Fantasy XV stream continued with additional announcements to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the game, including Final Fantasy XV: Comrades being released as a standalone game that does not require the main game to play, coming December 12, 2018. There will also be a Final Fantasy XV collaboration with Final Fantasy XIV, set to launch on the same day. The collaboration will see a new quest for Noctis and friends to complete, earning them Final Fantasy XIV-themed rewards.

Back in 2013, Tabata was brought on to direct the game previously known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII and help it become the title we now know as Final Fantasy XV. Tabata’s previous credits included directing Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Type-0. His plan was to create a compilation that expanded well beyond the single game, adding additional games, films, and a lengthy DLC plan that has extended the life of the game for more than two years. Earlier this year, Tabata opened Luminous Productions within Square Enix, with the goal of making AAA games in innovative new ways.

With Tabata making comments as recently as September about the future of Final Fantasy XV, his departure and cancellation of the DLC plans comes as a bit of a surprise. The news of his resignation and the DLC cancellation does come on the heels of Square Enix posting a pretty significant loss, which could offer clues as to why there’s been a sudden shift. What do you think of Tabata resigning from Square Enix to start his own company? Are you disappointed to see Final Fantasy XV’s DLC plans getting shut down? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.