It's been a rough past 24 hours for Square Enix, as the company reported major financial losses of around $33 million. As it turns out, this all came about due to Final Fantasy XV. During a special announcement live stream held for the game, Square Enix announced many key pieces of information. The biggest of these pieces is that most of Final Fantasy XV's planned DLC’s have now been canceled. This is due to XV's director, Hajime Tabata, recently leaving both Square Enix and their internal Tabata-founded studio 'Luminous Productions'. Once Luminous finishes up work on the remaining bit of DLC, they'll shift gears to an entirely new project. Over the course of 2019, Square Enix planned to release four key DLC episodes for FFXV: Episodes Ardyn, Aranea, Luna, and Noctis. In a similar fashion to the previous 'Episode' DLCs, these would expand on the story and characters even further. Now, only Episode Ardyn is getting an actual release.
This is all a pretty sudden shakeup, but one that came about due to Tabata's personal goals changing. The director issued a parting message to fans explaining his decision, and while it's a pretty lengthy read, here are some of the important parts. "In regards to my next endeavors and near future, I have a project that I truly wish to solidify as my next challenge after Final Fantasy XV," the statement reads. "For that reason, I have decided to leave my current position and start my own business to achieve my goal." Tabata's previous works included both Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy Type-0. It's not yet known what this new project is that he wants to work on, but it sounds like he'll be incorporating his experience from these past three games. Meanwhile, Episode Ardyn is planned for release sometime in March 2019. It sees players taking the reigns of FFXV's primary antagonist years before the events of the main game. Thankfully, it's far enough along that it even got a trailer presented during the very same live stream.
The Final Fantasy XV news didn't stop there, however. The multiplayer add-on, Comrades, is getting a standalone release for both console versions of the game. PC players already had this included, so it remained more of a necessity for console players. Players who already own the expansion version of Comrades will instead receive the standalone version for free, while those who don't will have to pay for it. This standalone version will feature new weapons, costumes, and bosses, and the whole thing will cost $9.99. Episode Ardyn will also be receiving its very own animated prologue, similar to the anime shorts that accompanied FFXV's release. This animated prologue will be split into two parts, with one coming on December 15th this year, and the other capping things off on January 10th, 2019.
Unfortunately, with this news, it appears Final Fantasy XV's time is coming to a close. They'll get to have one last hurrah with Final Fantasy XIV players in a crossover event this December, but after Episode Ardyn's release next year, it's uncertain where Square Enix will go with the title (if anywhere at all). It's a real shame that the story won't see completion, which weirdly echoes the main game's own chopped up story, a point of criticism by many. XV's development was long and messy, and directors switched midway with Tetsuya Nomura shifting his focus to Kingdom Hearts 3. More details behind Episode Ardyn are likely to surface as we approach that March timeframe, so stay tuned for that in the coming months. It's quite a loss for Square Enix, but hopefully, they can hit the ground running, especially with KH3 looming so close on the horizon. You can check out the Episode Ardyn teaser down below, even if it will be kind of a sad watch, all things considered. Final Fantasy XV is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, and it's coming up on its two year anniversary here soon.