Final Fantasy XV’s final piece of content, the Episode Ardyn DLC, released earlier this week. Originally announced as the first episode of a ‘season 2’ DLC pack a while back, Square Enix eventually canceled the other episodes stating Episode Ardyn would be it. Existing as a stand-alone DLC for $9.99, even purchasers of the original season pass as well as the royal edition will have to fork over money to play this release. The original Final Fantasy XV released in November of 2016; a new story DLC releasing 2 ½ years later isn’t typical. Neither was the unfortunately tumultuous life of Final Fantasy XV.
Originally announced under the title Final Fantasy Versus XIII all the way back in 2006, the game was to exist as a companion piece to Final Fantasy XIII made by the team the developed the Kingdom Hearts series. Final Fantasy XIII eventually released in 2010, but there was no solid news about Final Fantasy Versus XIII for some time. When E3 2013 rolled around, Square Enix rebranded the game as Final Fantasy XV, shocking everyone. A year later Hajime Tabata, who directed Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core and the underrated Final Fantasy Type 0, took over as director of the game. Final Fantasy XV released at the end of 2016, years before any mention of Episode Ardyn.
Despite the 10-year development cycle, fans were met with a certain level of disappointment with the game. The core gameplay and world of the game were great, however, it was clear to everyone lots of story elements were rushed. With DLC story episodes already planned from the outset, Hajime Tabata took the opportunity to not just work out the kinks and bugs but occasionally patch in free cutscenes in addition to the paid DLC. Postgame development was going strong with the announcement of the season 2 DLC, which included Episode Ardyn along with planned episodes for characters Aranea, Lunafreya, and Noctis. Sadly, in November of last year brought us a joint announcement of Hajime Tabata resigning from Square as well as the cancellation of the remaining three episodes.
With that being said, all hope isn’t lost. Tabata, along with members of the Final Fantasy XV team has formed ‘Luminous Productions’ and are hard at work on a AAA type game. Those wanting a little more of the game, an upcoming novelization of the scrapped DLC episodes will release this year. For now, you can experience the world of Final Fantasy XV one last time with Episode Ardyn, available now for $9.99.