Erik Calautti
Final Fantasy XII Follow-Up Gets Collection of Videos and Concept Art
But don't get too excited.
08.13.13 - 5:26 PM

Final Fantasy XII was somewhat of a hit or miss entry to the series. People who enjoyed the game (like myself) appreciated just how immersive the world of Ivalice was. The level of detail in XII's environments was astounding (and still holds up today). And the plot, rooted in betrayal, war, and politics, is easily one of the most mature Final Fantasy titles to date. Though XII had its fair share of cons, it's easy to see why Square Enix and fans alike would clamor for a sequel. Right...?

Let's travel back to 2008. Two years after the release of Final Fantasy XII, Square Enix decided it was time to make a follow up. Sure, there was already the decent Final Fantasy XII: Revenent Wings on the DS, but for the convenience of this article, let's ignore that. Square Enix approached Swedish developer, Grin, to tackle the project aimed for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC platforms. Check out the game's beautiful concept art to see Grin's take on Ivalice and its inhabitants, including a few familiar faces from Final Fantasy XII.

Codenamed Fortress, the game was said to have large scale battles and was "primarily set in a massive fortress" according to Linda Dahlberg, a Grin associate producer. The game's Wikipedia page describes the gameplay as thus:

Invaders from the sea were to be the main enemies of the game. They were visually based on the Vikings and wielded armor and weapons decorated with sea and sea monster imagery. Planned boss battles included fighting a gargantuan version of the Final Fantasy monster Malboro, where the player would use the seaweed on its back to climb on top of it and drop bombs on the creature's weak spots. According to a design document, the game was divided into at least seven chapters, starting at the gate of the Fortress and leading up to the top of the stronghold.

So what's the bad news? Well, if you guessed that after nearly six months of development the game got cancelled, then you guessed right (or...already knew about this story). According to many sources including the project's Wikipedia page, Square Enix wasn't entirely happy with Grin's more Nordic take on Ivalice. Grin worked to resolve this issue by trying to add more of the whimsical Final Fantasy XII flair, but after six months with no funding from Square Enix, Grin filed for bankruptcy. Grin spent an estimated $12 million a month on development, and lacking the proper funds, Grin was unable to sue Square Enix.

All in all, the story seems to be that Grin evidently ignored Square Enix's requests for changes on the project, and Square Enix felt the Final Fantasy franchise was too important to overlook this behavior, so Square Enix didn't pay them. As cruel as that sounds, it's important to remember that Final Fantasy is Square Enix's flagship series and after Grin's less than stellar Terminator Salvation, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, and Bionic Commando releases, it isn't hard to see why Square Enix started to get cold feet.

At the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Motomu Toriyama of Square Enix flat out stated that Fortress "won't be released." Was Fortress going to be the Final Fantasy meets The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim title that fans have been anticipating, or was it just destined to fail from the get go? All I know is that I would take Fortress over another Final Fantasy: All the Bravest any day.