During their special Final Fantasy XV live stream broadcast today, Square Enix has announced some major changes that will shake up the future of the game. Planned changes announced include updates to the Comrades Multiplayer expansion, the DLC plans for the game for 2019 and the future of Hajime Tabata, as well as a crossover event with Final Fantasy XIV.
Previously announced at PAX East this past April, there were plans to add four more DLC packs to the latest juggernaut in the Final Fantasy line. DLC would focus on Ardyn, Noctis, Lunafreya, and Aranea after the first three DLC released centered around Ignis, Prompto, and Gladiolus. However, as per the announcement in Final Fantasy XV Special Program, all expansions except for Episode Ardyn have now been canceled.
Episode Ardyn is slated to be a prequel and will debut in March 2019. Taking place in Shinjuku 30 years before the main game, it will focus on humanizing the villain and exploring his anger. Episode Ignis’ “wire action” feature will be making a return and there will be a short animated feature released with the DLC. While no concrete stories had been announced for the canceled DLC episodes, Luminous states that they are working on a way to showcase the stories they had hoped to tell with these expansions. Yoko Shinomura was previously announced to release a new song for the game to go with the expansion packs, whether or not that will still be released with Episode Ardyn has not been confirmed.
These expansion packs were all being developed by Luminous Productions, a Square Enix studio opened earlier this year. However, according to financial reports released a few days ago, Luminous will now be focusing on "large-scale, high-quality AAA game titles, which best leverage [Luminous'] strengths." When the studio was announced in March, it was reported to focus on the "development [of] new AAA titles and bringing innovative game and other entertainment content to a global audience." This refocusing on games likely means that Luminous will be dropped production of “other entertainment content.”
The team at Luminous is comprised partly of veterans from Final Fantasy XV, however, the announcement to shift the studio’s focus has reportedly incurred a $33 million loss for the company, on top of a 50% drop in profits from year-on-year down to $76.4 million.
The Comrades multiplayer expansion pack that is currently released as part of Final Fantasy XV’s season pass DLC pack is now going to be released as a standalone on 12/12 in America and 12/13 in Japan. The original version will be removed from XV. The standalone version will feature 10 new bosses including Gilgamesh and Cerberus, as well as new costumes and weapons. For those who already own the expansion pack, it will be free, and it will still be included in the season pass with the rest of Final Fantasy XV’s content. However, the season pass is also going to drop in price to $15. Final Fantasy XV Multiplayer: Comrades will only be available on consoles, not for PC.
Final Fantasy XV will also be having an upcoming crossover event with Final Fantasy XIV. A brand new character, Y'jhimei, is a Miqo'te who enters the world of Lucis. She will join the party and be fully playable in her side quest “Adventurer From Another World,” which includes a new boss fight against primal Garuda. The update will add Final Fantasy XIV based costumes for free as part of the collaboration and will be released on 12/12. Details for the event in Final Fantasy XIV have not yet been released.
Also announced as part of the live stream, Hajime Tabata, the director of Final Fantasy XV, has resigned from Square Enix to found his own video game development company. His last day was October 31.
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