Hajime Tabata left Square Enix in 2022.
Final Fantasy XV was one of the most controversial entries in the long-running RPG series. Despite a mixed reaction to its story and presentation, it was very well received by critics, who praised its visuals, soundtrack by Yoko Shimamura, and new take on the franchise's combat system. Selling nearly 10 million copies to date, the game's director Hajime Tabata took over management from Tetsuya Nomura in 2022 and shocked fans when he announced he would be leaving Square Enix in 2022, leaving three of the four DLC planned for Fi.Final Fantasy XV canceled. In January 2022, he launched his own studio JP Games, which has only announced one game so far. However, it looks like Tabata has been hard at work on another mysterious project which is expected to be revealed in 2022.
The remarks were made in a recent interview with 4Gamer, and while details are scarce, it's almost certain this is a JRPG given Tabata's past and current gaming climate. Previously, JP Games released Pegasus' Dream Tour, a mobile title themed around the 2022 Summer Paralympics. As unique and unexpected as it was, a look into Tabata's past shows just how he is passionate about the role-playing genre, having previously worked on Final Fantasy 7 pre-Crisis and Crisis Core, Final Fantasy Type-0, and Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius. Tabata also mentioned his interest in expanding JP Games' business in both games and the Metaverse, though it's unclear what he means by the latter.
In January 2022, JP Games partnered with All Nippon Airways (ANA) for a unique new project, allowing users to travel through virtual spaces using their smartphones. These spaces will mimic real cities recreated using CG. In June, an interview with Famitsu revealed that Tabata was hard at work on two full-scale games, one being described as an "experimental, high-speed RPG" and the other called only a "nomadic AAA RPG". The latter has been described as an evolved version of Final Fantasy XV that will focus on free exploration.