Final Fantasy XV Ex-Director Tabata Opens Up About His New Studio and Square Enix Departure

In a livestream with Nico Nico, Final Fantasy XV's Tabata-san opens up more about his resignation, development philosophy, and his new studio.

December 16, 2018

The Final Fantasy XV fanbase and us here at DualShockers are still reeling over the cancellation of the hit JRPG’s DLC cancellation that was revealed in early November. However, ever since Final Fantasy XV‘s Director Hajime Tabata’s resignation from Square Enix, we haven’t heard too much on the “project” and “next challenge” he mentioned within his resignation letter. That was, until yesterday when Tabata offered up some developments on a Nico Nico livestream.

Translated by publication Twinfinite, Tabata-san revealed that his new studio — JP Games — is already rolling in terms of getting to business. He has picked up a few employees, however the development team is still in search of an office. At the moment, the number of developers that Tabata-san has for JP Games is quite small, however we can a few more to be added as the studio develops.


As a positive note, Tabata-san was open that there are no external investment, as he wants the studio to be self-funded. Despite the small staff, he is hoping to create a AAA indie game that will reach over multiple platforms — explicitly consoles, mobile devices and PC. The notion of indie AAA game isn’t novel in 2018, with Ninja Theory’s excellent Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (before they ultimately got picked up as a Microsoft first-party studio).

In creating his next unannounced game, Tabata-san is looking to evolve the way that development studios create games. Speaking about his time working on Final Fantasy XV content, Tabata-san mentioned wanting to make the switch to cloud-based development. This would be able to problem issues with personal availability in small offices, and the security and distribution problems of traditional outsourcing.

Last but not least, Tabata-san opened up about his resignation to Square Enix, noting explicitly that he wasn’t laid off by the company. However, he did note that his relationship with them did sour through his term of working on Final Fantasy XV. As an interesting note, he claims that the cancellation of Final Fantasy XV‘s DLC and his resignation were separate events that did not influence each other. According to the developer, his resignation was solely to create a studio that he could create what he wants and decide his own direct independently.

Though Tabata-san was candid about his disappointment on the Final Fantasy XV DLC, believing that some fans will be let down. For that, he is truly sorry.

Meanwhile, at Square Enix they’ve replaced Tabata-san with Takeshi Aramaki, previously VP of development at Luminous Productions. And despite the DLC cancellations, fans of the Final Fantasy XV world can still look forward to Multiplayer: Comrades as well as Epsideo Ardyn which is launching in March 2019.

Lou Contaldi

Lou Contaldi specializes in both reviews and the business behind gaming. He began writing about tech and video games while getting his Juris Doctor at Hofstra University School of Law. He is maybe the only gaming journo based in Nashville, TN.

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