A recent interview details the brief existence of a Final Fantasy XII spin-off project called Fortress, and shows off some images of what could have been.
In a recent interview, the developers from the now-defunct Swedish studio Grin reveal that they were to be the first team outside of Japan to produce and develop a Final Fantasy game. The detailed report follows the ups and downs of Grin as they take on the project, called Fortress, which was to be a sequel to Final Fantasy XII and take place in the same setting, revisiting the pseudo-Medieval world of Ivalice.
Although the project began as a very promising departure from Square Enix’s usual policy of keeping Final Fantasy IPs in-house and staying loyal to their Japanese development teams, things quickly fell apart as money became an issue. Fortunately for gamers, a number of the people who worked on Fortress were more than happy to share their stories about developing the game, and some of them even provided pictures and concept art for how the game might have looked had it survived the development process.
Check out our personal favorites below, and check out the full gallery on Gamespot here.
From the looks of things, Fortress was going to be a more viking-esque take on Ivalice, which makes sense considering Grin calls Sweden home. Some of the images feature franchise stalwarts like the Marboro or the ubiquitous Chocobo in grittier, harsher interpretations than we’re used to seeing in Final Fantasy games.
The stark shift in character design and development makes for a convincing case that Square-Enix should consider allowing the series to have a more Western influence every now and then. Even franchises that have had predominately Japanese developers can benefit from a new perspective, like DmC: Devil May Cry, for example.
Although gamers have been burned by development cancellations before, with the disappointing end of the Silent Hills project still fresh in their memories, it’s still interesting to find out about projects, like Fortress, that faltered somewhere through development. The good thing for Fortress is that there wasn’t any gloom surrounding the project because few knew it actually existed. Instead, fans are free to simply admire the work of the clearly talented Grin team and wonder what might have been.
Do you think Fortress looked worthy of being a Final Fantasy game? What studio would you love to have on the next Final Fantasy project if you could choose any of them? Let us know in the comments.