I've been a big fan of FFXV from the beginning, and that's coming from someone who was also on the huge hype train for Versus XIII.
I thought Versus XIII was going to be the be-all-end-all best Final Fantasy game we'd ever see, period. A part of me still believes it may have had that potential, Nomura's vision and desired scope of the game were more than grand, but also I think what he wanted to achieve with the game just became too much. In an ideal world it could have happened, but we're talking he wanted Versus to happen on the PS3, and that game seemed like it would have been a behemoth (no pun intended).
When development shifted and it became FFXV and entered the hands of Hajime Tabata, I had mixed feelings. This game had been in development for so long and was Nomura's baby, it seemed so wrong to take it away from him. That's like taking Metal Gear away from Kojima (which, well, ended up having a similar if not more unfortunate ending than this story). But on the plus side, I enjoyed Tabata's previous works, enjoyed his development transparency, and appreciated the fact that Versus had been in development for so long and was going to continue to be so, and Square made the tough and divisive decision to make the game change hands in hope of giving it focus, direction, and a timeline for completion.
To this day I still wish to know what Nomura had in store for us with Versus. But I stayed hopeful for XV, followed development, and ate everything up about it that they'd give to me. I played the demo, watched the movie, watched Brotherhood, analyzed it's amazing and cryptic CG Story trailer, and even played A King's Tale on release day before the game itself while I let the game get it's day 1 update.
I think this was a big thing. Committing to every form of FFXV media as it came out really enhanced the experience in a way I never expected. It was reminiscent of watching the .hack anime on tv and then grabbing the games, reading the manga and books inbetween releases, it made it feel like an experience. Not everyone is about all of that, which is fine, but FFXV may not be the game for you if you don't want to have to commit your time to all of the multiple mediums it's tackled in order to truly appreciate it's world, lore, and characters.
Each subsequent update and DLC enhanced the game even more and tackled problems the fanbase was local about. Until his departure, I believe Tabata was doing everything in his power to make the project he was given the best it could be. While the multiplayer aspect ended up being a bit of a slog and a grindfest, the bit of story it added even ended up being a small appreciated and initially unseen part of the story and lore.
I do love FFXV. My buddy and I party chatted for 13 days while we both played through and went on different parts of our journey, which felt like it further pushed the theme of friendships and brotherhood that the game already presented. We finished at nearly the same time, we continued to follow the updates and play the new DLCs, and while we really enjoyed the experience initially, I can honestly say its only gotten better as the years went on.