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Luminous Productions isn’t building Final Fantasy 16, but something altogether more interesting

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Square Enix, the company behind the Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider and Deus Ex series of games, has announced it’s launched a brand-new Tokyo-based studio.Lead by Square’s Hajime Tabata, Luminous Productions is slated to “utilise innovative technology and creativity to change the future of gaming and entertainment.”According to the Square Enix’s announcement, Luminous Productions was founded “with the sole purpose of bringing brand new types of entertainment content to a global audience”. It’s not clear exactly what we can expect from Luminous Productions, but perhaps we shouldn’t expect traditional games as they aim to break free from the “existing boundaries and conventions of the gaming industry.”Visiting Luminous Production’s website doesn’t give a lot away either. Aside from hinting at a focus on high-concept creations, the site is really a portal for recruiting new members to the team. Current positions range from environment artists and game designers to scenario writers and project managers. READ NEXT: How Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood reinvented the MMO once againJob descriptions tease a little more about what we can expect from Luminous Productions output, stating that the studio was “launched to take on new challenges in the game business.” It seems the focus will be on producing “AAA class games” and, from the job description for the Live Service Planner role, it seems that there’s a focus on games that evolve and develop over time with a plan for developing game events and functions.Interestingly, as part of a year roundup with developers on Japanese site 4gamer (via Siliconera) Tabata states that his team will “earnestly begin development in anticipation of the next generation.” From this teaser, it’s possible that Luminous Productions could well be the start of this process.READ NEXT: 17 tips and tricks to help you through Final Fantasy XVHowever, in the same interview, Tabata also teased that Square Enix’s “ban on side work has also been lifted, so I’d like to try something.” Perhaps it’s bold to think that Square provided Tabata with an entirely new studio for a side-project, but who knows. Tabata’s past projects at Square Enix also don’t provide a whole host of clues as to what to expect. Most of his titles have appeared on portable formats like the PlayStation Portable and mobile devices and revolve around Square’s Final Fantasy series. His latest project was to work on downloadable content for Final Fantasy XV until 2019 but it’s unclear if he’ll still be heading up that project now he’s over at Luminous Productions.Responding to our questions about the fate of Final Fantasy XV’s planned expansions, a Luminous Productions spokesperson explained that “Final Fantasy 15 will continue to be handled in the future as a valued IP. While the development and operations of Final Fantasy 15 will continue to be handled by the current Luminous Productions staff that produced Final Fantasy 15, its publishing will continue to be conducted by Square Enix.”This suggests that Tabata will stay on with the development of Final Fantasy XV but, as he isn’t named in the statement, his role is still unclear. Interestingly, Luminous also confirmed to Alphr that Tabata has “resigned from Square Enix and moved to Luminous Productions as the COO/Head of Studio.” Obviously, we’ve asked for clarification if he was pushed or instead wished to head up the studio.Is Luminous Productions working on Final Fantasy 16? Rumours around Final Fantasy XVI have begun to float around with some believing that it’ll be headed up by Final Fantasy XIV director and saviour Naoki Yoshida. Rumours suggest it could be a Destiny-like online shared-world project for next-generation consoles and, if that’s the case, Yoshida would be a good fit for the project.During an interview we had with him around the thirtieth anniversary of Final Fantasy, he expressed an interest in creating a game akin to Destiny’s structure where “players can play with NPCs early on to experience the game solo before joining up with other players to make it more social,” before shooting our hopes down by stating that this direction really “depends on who’s in charge of the next [Final Fantasy] title”.”We will strive to deliver new IPs with a wide range of entertainment content without limiting ourselves to specific fields or genres”If Final Fantasy XVI is planned to go into full-time development at Luminous Productions Tabata would be the smart choice to oversee production as he was the director on Final Fantasy XV and headed up the development of its multiplayer expansion Comrades. Square Enix has also been using its Luminous Engine for the production of Final Fantasy XV, so perhaps there’s a clue in the studio’s name as to what could be on the cards next.However, in response to our probing, it seems that Luminous Productions will be handling entirely new IP instead of Square’s established franchises.”With games at the core [of Luminous Productions], we will strive to deliver new IPs with a wide range of entertainment content without limiting ourselves to specific fields or genres,” a Luminous Productions spokesperson explained. It’s looking likely that we’ll hear more about what Luminous are up to in the coming weeks, so perhaps an E3 2018 reveal is likely on the cards.

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