Square-Enix recently announced they will be announcing a new studio called Luminous Productions. The head is Hajime Tabata, the director of Final Fantasy XV. Most of the team are from the Final Fantasy XV developers. Their vision: “Luminous Productions was established with the purpose of developing new AAA titles and bringing innovative game and other entertainment content to a global audience.” Besides Final Fantasy XV, Tabata has also worked on many of the Final Fantasy VII spin-offs including Crisis Core and Final Fantasy Type-0.
While FF XV has received a mixed reception from hardcore JRPG and Final Fantasy fans, the game’s sales were critical to saving the series and Tabata’s goal to continuously improve the game is admirable.
Square-Enix is no longer a gaming juggernaut since early 2000’s. They have had less success in game releases as the gaming industry grew. In the mid 2000’s, there were less unique IP titles from SE and more focus on Final Fantasy spin-offs. None of them sold well except for Bravely Default. When Yosuke Matsuda took over SE, he noticed the decline in overall quality and had Square refocus their efforts on diversifying their portfolio. They developed three new studios, Square-Enix Collective, Tokyo RPG Factory, Studio Isoltila. Each have different focuses such as helping develop new indie games or old franchises of SE, create new classic style JRPG’s and Studio Isolita has the director of the Tales RPG series leading the development of a new game. Matsuda has also allowed studios to work on new projects such as the upcoming Avengers game by the Tomb Raider team and sold the Hitman studio after he believed SE wasn’t the right publisher.
While SE has been slow on development and game released, under Matsuda, they have achieved a profit of 257 billion yen last year. Luminous Productions plans to work on a new IP outside of the Final Fantasy series. With Tabata running his own studio, perhaps we will see a big new series.