Square Enix conducted a special live stream that many thought would be discussing future DLC for Final Fantasy XV. However, the announcement went the opposite direction. Fans have been informed that not only are three of the game's DLC canceled, but Game Director Hajime Tabata has left Square Enix. Tabata has been working on FFXV since he took over from Tetsuya Nomura in 2013.
In a prepared statement that seems to have been written last week, Tabata said:
To everyone watching the program, hello, this is Tabata. 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.
He further goes on to let fans know that he is leaving Square to start his own company to work on "a project that I truly wish to solidify as my next challenge after FFXV".
After the surprising announcement, the stream revealed that only Episode Ardyn will be released in March 2019 and that production on all other DLC has stopped. Further, there will be no more production for the PC version and no further updates will be released. The console version of the Comrades multiplayer mode will be coming in December as a standalone product.
Game Informer interpreted the news thusly:
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.
The video is in Japanese only and, at least as of the time of this writing, there are no English subtitles.
These projects are the final ones for FFXV:
Global Brand Director Akio Ofuji has published an official statement (via Gematsu):
The Final Fantasy XV development team had been planning to release four new DLCs, together titled “The Dawn of the Future,” in spring 2019. This refers to Episode Ardyn, Episode Aranea, Episode Lunafreya, and Episode Noctis. That said, the company has made an important directional change, and the decision has been made to re-examine these projects, concluding that production will be cancelled for Episode Aranea, Episode Lunafreya, and Episode Noctis, three out of the four DLCs planned. We are still developing Episode Ardyn, which continues to aim for a March 2019 release. I believe many fans have been eager to play these episodes, and the entire development team is regretful that we are unable to meet everyone’s expectations.
Allow me to provide additional insight into what we mean by a directional change for the company. A new company called Luminous Productions was formed, centered around the staff who had previously been developing the main game as part of Business Division 2, and the have continued to work on the project since. The main purpose of establishing Luminous Productions was to create a studio that can deliver a completely new AAA title to the global market. And due to this directional change, the company has decided to focus our resources on the development of this AAA title. This resulted in the decision to cancel the production of three out of the four DLCs originally planned and introduced.
Although this is extremely regretful, we hope everyone will continue to look forward to Episode Ardyn, which is still being developed in earnest. As for the new title currently in the works at Luminous Productions, we wish everyone will hold high hopes for our upcoming title as well.