The Western Final Fantasy That Wasn’t


Square Enix’s openness to allowing a non-Japanese studio to develop a Final Fantasy title seems to have been an allusion to a mysterious “Final Fantasy” title provisionally dubbed “Fortress,” cancelled but visible in incomplete form in the technical demo visible below.

Square Enix apparently selected a third-rate developer from Sweden, the now defunct Grin, and canceled their involvement after being unimpressed with what was delivered; however, it is said to still be in development elsewhere:

FORTRESS is the codename of an official, but currently unannounced sequel to FINAL FANTASY XII.

It is an action game set some time after the events of FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS, and is intended for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows platforms.

The project was originally developed by GRIN and supervised by Square Enix, but issues between the two companies led to GRIN going bankrupt and Square Enix reclaiming the project from them.

The project has not been officially announced yet, but its existence is known due to information leaked by former members of the development team and sources in the video game industry.

The Fortress project is still supported by Square Enix and in development at a currently undisclosed studio — possibly Eidos Montreal, Square Enix’s main Western branch.

The tech demo video is reminiscent of a certain popular western RPG:

Supposedly the title was/is based directly on Final Fantasy XII, as this concept art featuring Princess Ashe demonstrates:


Free roaming and non-linear gameplay? No wonder Square Enix was unhappy with the title…

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  • How about instead of Japanese versus western ‘visual style’, why not HYBRID? How about a little bit of both?

    I mean, God forbid that a game studio try something DIFFERENT. You all complain that Final Fantasy games are too predictable and static and linear, and then you have the nerve to complain that this game is too different from your pre-conceived expectations and that the change in visuals is unacceptable. You are all close-minded and xenophobic hypocrites.

  • i remember long time ago when square gives the development of rpg to Square of america (Secret of evermore) to replace the failure of bring to America Seiken Densetsu 3 (secret of mana 2)…and the result was a shit game ..

  • It is hard to make a fun and exciting ARPG. This is an example of what is not fun and exciting.

    I’ll also gladly accept linear gameplay and lack of free roam. When you take what matters in games like Oblivion, Borderlands, or any free roam you get significantly less actual “map” as opposed to a linear RPG. I do not know about you guys but I’d much rather have extensive, lush environments with minimal exploration as opposed to miles and miles of gren plains or trees with nothing to explore other than more green/trees.

  • i’m really starting to hate the editorial of this site. this game wasn’t cancelled cuz square was unimpressed, it was cancelled cuz grin shut down. grin wasn’t a 3rd rate developers. they’ve made good stuff before. their downfall came from having too many projects.. more importantly too many licensed projects going on at once. therefor the end result of quality of those titles (terminator, wanted, and bionic commando) were affected. they put alot on the line for BC and that would do them in. its sad cuz there are alot of talented people there at grin that i’ve met personally a couple of times before. frankly they deserved better but i’m glad that alot of them have found good gigs at other studios.

    but this site is really killing it for me. theres nothing worth reading here. just look at anime or japanese tities and move on.

    • They produced bad games so they were a bad developer.

      The sources contradict you – it was allegedly canceled due to SE not liking it, and that caused issues with the company due to Swedish business law insanity, or so it is said.

      Knowing Grin people is hardly a good reason to delude yourself or start insulting the messenger.

  • other than the chocobo, i would have never known that this was square enix backed, let alone related to final fantasy. looks like a generic mmo rpg so it’s not surprising that the studio making it went bust.

  • This tech demo looks better than the XIV gameplay videos from Gamescom!

    I like that GRIN kept the camera system from FFXI. That camera was awesome. A little floaty, and off-sets your character from the middle when you lock onto a target. I can’t count how many times I’ve been annoyed at other MMOs that place your character dead center of the screen the whole goddamn time.

    Too bad it looks like this is all we’ll get.

  • It really is sad that linear gameplay is decried so much anymore. When did linear become bad?

    For many years, linear and non-linear games have co-existed in a peaceful world. All of the sudden FFXIII comes and people start shitting bricks over how linear it is. Since when was linearity a crime worthy of the most vile punishment and criticism? With a linear game, the game tells us its story in a controlled fashion and has a strong grasp over its characters and their development. A non-linear game invites you to create your “own” story in the game and explore your surroundings.

    I don’t understand why this peaceful co-existence has to end. Why the hate for what is linear? When did it become so bad?

  • And SE felt that Revenant Wings wasn’t a good enough sequel story-wise? What happened to SE’s tradition of not having sequels? That was one of the major highlights for the FF series that I kept coming back for. Knowing that things would be different in alot of ways made me want to play it just to see what new story they cooked up and what they changed in gameplay. But more sequels? Its not just the fans who beat old popularities like FF4, 6 or 7 to death. It seems SE has been doing it alot itself. If they’re so intent on making sequels they could actually make sequels to games that need it. For example Legend of Dragoon could use one and I agree to an extent that Chrono Cross needs one. There’s plenty of others that need em. Better yet SE go back to “square one” and make something NEW that is not a sequel and is its own story. The traditional roots that SE based FF on for each game has slowly withered away. I don’t mind change but when you use tradition, its common practice to keep these traditions going, not dropping them like a bad habit (unless they were bad traditions).

  • Looks interesting. I just wonder how much creative freedom they’ll give a team that does produce excellent graphics.

    Like I said earlier, in case anyone working there is listening:


    1. Experienced Indie game creator, like BitBlot team.
    2. A professional “Storyteller”
    3. A philosopher.

    Adventure video games are in a rut, because from the game play they get repetitive and from the storytelling they weakly imitate “the Hero’s Journey”, or rather imitate imitations of imitations.

    Frankly, even something that looked like this vid would do good if it was made into a cheap/easy easy to install game where characters were made quickly and just walked around hacking things with a few ‘missions’ when they got bored with that. But “FF” has an “Excellence” they do shoot for and try with all their might. You want both a masterpiece and something many, many people will want to play. So therefore, work on the game’s mechanics but then also find a way to make a good story but one that doesn’t drag people through a, to use the words others use, “Tunnel”.

  • I actually like this design for Ashe, perhaps even prefer it given her skirt in the actual design looks more like a fucking washcloth haphazardly taped over her crotch. Hurr durr sex sells etc.

  • all I’m hearing here is “make more chrono series”, “make another valkyrie profile (this was tri-ace btw), “make another (insert franchise)”.

    I say make a new game, like what they did with Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 1, which they could’ve done with this tech demo here but I suppose that’s beyond square enix’s and the general market’s comprehension.

    • Good job playing the race card without taking into consideration different places have different tastes in games. It’s like a European calling Americans racist for not buying a European football/soccer game without taking into account that America doesn’t really care about the sport. People like you that try to inject race for ego inflating agendas sicken me.

  • Looks okay to me.

    I’m not a purist with high demands. I don’t need the perfect Final Fantasy.
    It doesn’t have to be made in Japan. I just like things done well, not fetish.
    I’d rather have more RPGS than be stuck with a franchise stuck in a rut.
    They may not all be winners, but I can judge that myself.

    But I can’t do shit if nobody makes them.
    Develop the thing already and don’t make it linear as a fuckin’ piece of string.
    Put the *role playing* back into RPG.

    • Why do we have to assume that every Final Fantasy is an RPG? Everyone always takes that to be the case, but, in reality, with the series becoming something new each generation, you are going to come to the point where it is not recognizable as an RPG anymore.

      Just because preceding games in the series are “considered” RPGs does not mean that the entire franchise must be also. It can be a linear level-grinding game for all I care, as long as it is enjoyable. Remember how linear the plots were in the games before? This is the next logical step in the evolution: make the entire game a directed, yet enjoyable, experience.

      Is it really a problem if it is linear, as long as the game/story is good? Get your head out of your Dungeons and Dragons guidebook. This (FFXIII) ain’t a typical RPG, or perhaps it ain’t even an RPG at all, and that’s just fine and dandy with me.

  • What’s up with the faceless character??? It remind me of the generic hero in a lot of the western RPGs, which have no style & personality.

    Western character designer definitely can do better than that… And I hope FF series won’t end up become another brainless button smashing ARPG.

  • Gee, stop making all those sequels already!! FFX-2, Revenant Wings, Crisis Core, Dirge of Cerberus, Advent Children (yeah and that too)

    Just with some of all those money spent, you could already remade FFVII, and that would be WAAAAY MORE AWESOME than all those titles above combined!!

  • Square may be unimpressed, but I am impressed. It looks fine even in this beta stage. After few months of making models and maps it would looks awesome… Square probably wanted to see tons of CG movies and they delivered game instead…

      • a tech demo is a basic demo of a games early mechanics, it’s not the full demo of what the game can do, therefor it is viewed as a less reliable peak at what the final product may look like

        so yeah, I know what a tech demo is

        what I was pointing out was pertaining to the look of the “character” (since we don’t know if that’s a real one) and the stance seems similar to the ones found in Demon’s Souls

        also, I wasn’t bashing the game, I meant that the game looked like a very basic (stripped down) unrefined (clunky) version of Demon’s Souls

        whether it’s bad or not. . . maybe? I dunno yet

        I just stated the obvious from what I saw >.>

  • People are so hard to pleased. In FF12 the introduction of free roaming battle-system was met with strong criticism – so much so that FF13 is now back to your good old “transport to a different but same world to fight” thing.

    And where FF12 lack the linearity and coherent and indept story line and was yelled at for… when FF13 try to fix it – it got labled linear and too story-oriented with heavy CG movies.


    People are so hard to please.

  • Game-play looked good, reminds me more of an mmorpg
    Still keeps the same art style. should have let this go thru with a kick ass storyline. maybe also letting you link up with like 2-4 players online and play thru the story line like “guild wars like”

  • I just wish they’d put this Final Fantasy franchise to rest (if at least for a while) and try something new – or at least make a worthy Mana game, the likes of which we haven’t seen for at least 15 years.

  • Grin messed up the PC version of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2. They made it really buggy and horribly unplayable (a tango pwning you with a submachinegun from miles away realistic?), unlike the more intuitive console version. It’s a good thing they went out of business.

  • I would’ve been on board for that. I loved FFXII, and thought the gameplay style would have been a great change for the series if they only stuck with the fundamentals and fixed some underlying problems.

    Let’s just hope that SE don’t mess this up.

    • the only problem with FFXII gameplay was the license grid, which made your characters all the same…

      the international version has this fixed with the zodiac license grid… unfortunately it’s in japanese…

      • The FFXII license board gives you the freedom to customize your chars as you see fit.

        If you want a black mage, pick the black magic licenses. If you want a white mage, pick the white magic licenses. Want a tank? Go heavy in the armor licenses.

        Nowhere does it say that you have to pick every single license. It’s not Square Enix fault that you can’t handle the freedom that they’ve given you.

        • @chronomaster

          Considering that the FFXII system was both unintuitive and amusing in its absurdities, perhaps it’s better to say that it’s almost impressive that it’s worse than inflexibility.

          There’s a ludological concept that rings true for all games: Keep it simple, stupid. Classes and levels are just complex enough to give definition, but simple enough to be intuitive. The latter is very important for character and role identification in a game (as opposed to, say, a less interactive medium).

          FFT had a Job Class system, vanilla FFXII didn’t. Both are Ivalice. Which one would you rather play?

        • What they should have done is instead of creating a new board system just make it so you can only get so many points throughout the game and you wouldn’t have enough to put them in everything. That is how most games that are not restricted by class work. That way you can customize your character and have to think about where you are going to use your points.

        • Clue it’s in the fucking title, character.
          Character have characteristics.

          different characters -> different characteristics -> variety.

          That is one down.
          The other, theoretically you do have flexibility but that comes with a catch, unbalanced weapons.
          By making some types of weapons superior on almost any regard to others you indirectly affect my choice of gameplay archetype. i.e. i found that swords and spears where superior to every aspect as opposed to fists,bows, rods,guns,hand-bombs and maces. (which are all active types of weapons) So why should i equip my characters with inferior weapons?
          That is why balanced gameplay is a decisive rating factor.

        • Despite the logic of “if it’s breakable, don’t break it,” it’s simple human nature to find purpose in structure. The original License board, simply put, was unfulfilling for this reason alone.

          This is why the Zodiac Job system in FFXII International was created in the first place, and why it was such a disappointment to everyone else when it was revealed that Square Enix had no plans to release it overseas. The ability to choose a Job Class and receive a License Board customized for that Class changed the way one approached the game and made each choice much more meaningful.

          I’ll have to call you on your bluff, a lolicon, and say that the FFXII was a bad system. It did not convincingly represent the process of character growth due to the vague arrangement of Licenses and it removed the value of meaningful choice from within the game structure itself. The License Board system was designed with the naive assumption that complete freedom was better for game design than purposeful limitations. This was an assumption that pen-and-paper RPG systems realized was false years ago. A limitation like a “class” system lets a player intuitively associate a character with a role or purpose. A limitation like a “level” system allows a player to gauge his and other characters’ strength at a glance.

          While you decry the other Anons for being “too immature” or lacking the self-discipline to play the game with self-imposed limitations, the fact of the matter is that they were working within a system that was illogical, unintuitive, and unsatisfying.

          Square Enix realized the truth and that’s why they made the Zodiac Job system. They didn’t bring it over because, frankly, Square tends not to release any of its “special editions” outside Japan.

        • [quote]so if u have 9999 lp free and a lot of licence left, u will not spend ur points because u only want a white mage?
          -for me sound boring[/quote]

          If you want a white mage, don’t make a red mage. And if you DO make a red mage, don’t go QQing about it, because it was your own bloody choise.

          It may sound boring to you, but why the fuck would you complain about being able to choose? If you think it’s fun to have a full license board, then don’t complain when all characters are exact copies of each other.

          I can’t for the life of me see why this is so hard for people to realize. Your incapability of handling the license board doesn’t make the system itself bad. It just means that you’re too immature to handle it.

        • The fact that everyone could learn anything was fine… The fact that there was no way to actively choose to be a class something wasn’t.

          Like say if they made a black mage, or a white mage gambit setup that offered higher level magic/stats than your supposed to have in the game at the time. Would’ve made things more interesting.

        • [quote]Dude, by the time you are lv 60 or maybe lv 50, you have fuly completed the license board on all characters, making them exactly the same.[/quote]

          I see. Your game must be suffering from some sort of bug that automatically learns licenses whenever it has enough license points. Instead of whining, get a new copy that doesn’t have that bug.

          Must I repeat myself?

          [quote]Nowhere does it say that you have to pick every single license. It’s not Square Enix fault that you can’t handle the freedom that they’ve given you.[/quote]

        • Dude, by the time you are lv 60 or maybe lv 50, you have fuly completed the license board on all characters, making them exactly the same.

          That’s why Itou made the Zodiac version with jobs included, to give some much needed variety to the characters besides the weapon equipped. Too bad it was never released outside Japan.