Final Fantasy XV Director Hajime Tabata Explains His Square Enix Departure

Hajime Tabata, director of Final Fantasy XV and until recently head of Square Enix’s Luminous Productions, recently explained his departure. Tabata left Square Enix in early November following reports that the Japanese publisher had canceled upcoming Final Fantasy XV content.

Speaking with Nico (via Gearnuke), Tabata opened up about his exit from the company. He decided to leave Square Enix because he wasn’t motivated in his work any longer, and didn’t want to become a nuisance for the development team. He said there was a long discussion internally about who would take over the FFXV DLC episodes, but no successor was chosen. Square Enix canceled the upcoming DLC episodes focused on Aranea, Lunafreya, and Noctis. Episode Ardyn, however, will be completed and released early next year, as much of the DLC was already complete before Tabata’s departure.

Tabata has since announced that he’s founded JP Games, a new independent development studio. Hiring is ongoing at the small studio, and Tabata mentioned he has ideas for several games. He wants to make multiplatform games, and is open to working with other game companies.

Luminous Productions is a new internal Square Enix studio that was helmed by Tabata. Alongside Tabata were many FFXV veterans, including the new studio head Takesi Aramaki. Aramaki was the lead programmer on FFXV, and he led development on the PC version of the game. In July, a number of job postings suggested the studio was developing a ‘high-end AAA console game project.”

Tabata’s departure from Square Enix, and the cancellation of the FFXV DLC episodes, burdened the publisher with massive losses. Those losses came out to around $33 million for the first half of this fiscal year. Square Enix decided to shift the focus of Luminous Productions as a result of the DLC cancellations and Tabata’s departure. At the same time, the publisher reaffirmed that Luminous would focus on AAA gaming experiences.