The upcoming Final Fantasy XV has been in development for over eight years under the direction of Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura. However, the long-in-development project now has a new lead, as Nomura is no longer involved with the game.
Nomura was the initial creator of the XV project – formerly known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII – and as such, created many of the game’s characters in addition to its story and universe. However, Final Fantasy publisher and developer Square Enix has announced that Hajime Tabata, the director of Final Fantasy Type-0 and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, will be replacing Nomura’s role with the game so that he may focus on other projects, including Kingdom Hearts III. In a statement issued by Square Enix, the company’s CEO Yosuke Matsuda stated the following:
In reviewing our development structure, we have decided to assign Hajime Tabata as the new director for Final Fantasy XV. Currently, Tabata and the entire development team are working, whole-heartedly, towards completing the production of Final Fantasy XV and ensuring the delivery of the highest quality Final Fantasy title to date. We invite every one of our fans to view the fruits of our labor through Final Fantasy XV‘s demo, and promise to present a game that further surpasses expectations when the finished product is released.
As the director of Final Fantasy XV, Tetsuya Nomura has mainly worked on the original concept for the story and universe in addition to creating the characters. Hereafter, he will be focusing his efforts on the production of titles that can only be made possible by Nomura, himself, and delivering products that exceed the quality of past titles, starting with another one of his representative projects, Kingdom Hearts III. Square Enix will continue to work on these titles with the best staff formation in an effort to deliver them to everyone as soon as possible and appreciates your continued support.
While this may be disappointing to some long-time fans of the project, it could be a sign that Square Enix is aware of the game’s extraordinarily long and seemingly troublesome development cycle; under Nomura’s direction, priority on the game was often lowered in order to complete other projects, such as Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. With the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III now in development under Nomura’s lead, Square Enix may be looking to have both games finished in a more timely manner.
Final Fantasy XV will be released for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, though no release date for the game has been given. A playable demo of the game, titled Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae, will be available with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD when it launches next March.