In a shocking development, the future of Final Fantasy XV has been altered dramatically with the resignation of its director. Hajime Tabata, who has been in charge of Final Fantasy XV’s development since 2013, stepped down from Square Enix on October 31. Hajime Tabata began with Square Enix directing the Final Fantasy PSP spin-off titles Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Type-0, before taking over from Tetsuya Nomura on Final Fantasy XV. It is suggested that a reason for this resignation is due to Luminous Productions, the subsidiary that Tabata formed months ago, being largely responsible for a $33 million loss that it has reported in its latest financials.
With Final Fantasy XV’s director resigning, almost all of the planned DLCs have been cancelled. These DLCs would have expanded upon the main story, and given more depth to characters who didn’t get much focus. Final Fantasy XV’s rather rocky development process led to many characters and plot points getting underdeveloped in the finished product, so the fact that these expansion packs won’t arrive to flesh them out is quite disappointing.
The planned Episode Ardyn, which would focus on the game’s main villain, has apparently been mostly finished, and will arrive on schedule in March 2019. The other episodes, which would focus on the side characters Aranea, Lunafreya as well as the protagonist Noctis, have been cancelled. It is uncertain what these events mean for the multiplayer spin-off, Final Fantasy XV: Comrades.
Final Fantasy XV went through many different phases throughout its development, with character, gameplay and story ideas being promoted and dropped constantly. What ended up being Final Fantasy XV was originally planned as a spin-off for Final Fantasy XIII, called Versus XIII. The subsequent DLC episodes, which have focused on Noctis’ friends, Gladiolus, Prompto and Ignis, have steadily added in planned features such as multiple controllable party members and ridable vehicles other than the Regalia.
Whilst the end product was still very enjoyable, with interesting characters and a vibrant world to explore, the scars of its troubled development were present. These issues could be seen in its story progression, and the lack of development of certain characters and plot elements. It would have been exciting to see Final Fantasy XV brought to its full potential with those four planned DLC chapters. However, it appears we will have to make do with the five chapters that the game will ultimately receive. The final DLC chapter, Episode Ardyn, is planned for release March of next year.