Game companies don’t usually hold events to announce cancellations. But that’s exactly Square Enix, the company behind Final Fantasy, did last night. The publisher has canceled three of its four upcoming Final Fantasy XV expansions. Even more surprising is the resignation of FFXV director Hajime Tabata. The developer is leaving the company just months after taking over his own studio, Luminous Productions, within Square Enix.
Many credit Tabata with turning FFXV’s lengthy development cycle around. He took over for Tetsuya Nomura (who is still with the company) in 2012. And while the game was a lovely-looking mess, it was at least functional. Which is more than can be said for the game during its 10-year development cycle.
Not to mention, some of the game’s weak points were addressed in free and paid updates. Various “episodes” focused on FFXV’s supporting cast filled in blank spots of the story. Four more such expansions were planned for 2019: Episode Ardyn, Episode Aranea, Episode Lunafreya, and Episode Noctis.
Now only Episode Ardyn, a prequel focused on the game’s central villain, remains. It’s still coming sometime in March 2019. You can watch a trailer for the DLC below.
Meanwhile, Tabata and Luminous Productions might be parting ways, but neither appears done with games just yet. A Square Enix financial report declares that the company has “decided to focus [Luminous Productions’] development efforts on large‐scale, high‐quality AAA titles to leverage its strengths” while Tabata is leaving to start his own business.
There’s no word yet on what those “AAA titles” may be or if they’re related to Final Fantasy. But the shift cost Square Enix something like $33 million, according to the report.
Yes, FFXV might be getting less new content than we thought. But its existing multiplayer expansion, Comrades, is becoming its own standalone game. The spinoff is called FFXV: Multiplayer Comrades and will be available on Dec. 13. It will also include new bosses, weapons, and costumes not found in the previous version. Anyone who already bought the DLC will get the standalone for free. Although you’ll no longer be able to buy or play the expansion version. The multiplayer standalone is no longer coming to PC.
Square Enix did announce some unequivocally good news during its stream. FFXV will receive a free crossover quest with Final Fantasy XIV, an MMO set in an unrelated universe, on Dec. 12.
The side story is titled “Adventurer from Another World” and will pit you against Garuda, a harpy-like boss with wind powers. It also unlocks new costumes for FFXV’s main gang based on the MMO. So you can finally dress Noctis up like the catboy he always was at heart (without modding the PC version, anyway).
That’s nice. Altogether, though, this is a pretty sad state of affairs. FFXV’s previous DLC was generally pretty good; if small and experimental. Perhaps it’s a fitting conclusion to a game with such a bloated, troubled production. But it still would have been nice to see what Tabata and Luminous had planned.