The Final Fantasy That Could Have Been

In 2009, a Swedish company by the name of GRIN tried developing ‘Fortress’ – a follow up to Final Fantasy XII and an addition to the Ivalice games. The game was cancelled of course.

A number of ex-GRIN employees, however, have updated their websites and portfolios, giving us access to a number of assets that could have been used in the game had it gone through with production.

A NeoGAF user by the name of DiipuSurotu has researched deep into Fortress and uncovered a number of the game’s assets, some of which had not received attention and were not easily available.

First off, here are photos taken by an anonymous person in GRIN’s office when the company was going out of business. They were posted over at Kotaku.

Next up, lead technical artist, Anders Bodbacka, posted two videos, showing the Final Fantasy XII characters, Basch and Larsa.

Character animator, Francesco Carovillano, uploaded a video that showed off some animations in the game.

And finally, here is the game’s tech demo that was shown to the public before.

A music track from the game has also been uploaded here. You may notice that the track contains the popular “Prelude” melody from Final Fantasy games.. The 7-minute track is composed by Erik Thunberg.

Bjorn Albin, the lead character artist, uploaded some 3D art of the enemies, weapons, bosses and game tests.

“Fortress” was the last project I was involved in at GRIN, and it was a game with an epic scale both in story and production values. It was cancelled after a few months into preproduction and our time spent on it was very brief although I feel it showed much promise.

I worked closely with the concept artists and Art Director during this project creating 3D concepts of weapons, enemy characters and monsters and also one of the game’s bosses.

The main enemy faction invades from the sea and their culture is most closely reflected by the vikings. They also seem to be very influenced by the sea and it’s creatures. Their decorations upon their armor and weapons are of waves, fishes, octopuses and other sea monsters.

Giant

The giants carried several weapons such as huge stone axes and gigantic chain weapons. One of the more unique weapons designed was this club that had living and burning creatures attached to it. The creatures shrieks out and burns everything around it when the club is swung.


Living Weapon

The giants carried several weapons such as huge stone axes and gigantic chain weapons. One of the more unique weapons designed was this club that had living and burning creatures attached to it. The creatures shrieks out and burns everything around it when the club is swung.

Boss Creature Mockup

This huge creature was a very early mockup of one of the game’s bosses. At first one of the arms would attack the player from beneath the ground and the player would think that the enemy is some kind of snake monster. As more arms would emerge the situation would become worse and finally the boss would rip up the wall to reveal it’s gigantic gaping mouth and start to eat the unfortunate ones caught in the arms.

One of the suggestions to take down this monster was that the player would be required to mount up and ride close to the seaweed hanging from the back of the creature to jump and climb atop it. Up there the paler would drop bombs into the many holes the creature had upon it’s back while fighting of the creatures that are in fact living inside this huge beast.

Here is some concept art, layout sketches, a character design and the storyboard for Fortress, form Martin Bergquist, lead concept artist.

Moving on to Peter Johansson (senior concept artist and assistant art director) and his art.

I am completely sure every Final Fantasy XII fan will recognize this popular character. The design is by Kenneth Johansson, senior character artist.

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Here we have some stuff from Nasier Abdoel, senior artist.

Daniel Conway, concept artist:

Joakim Hellstedt, concept artist:

Tony Holmstein, concept artist:

Jakob Tuchten, concept artist:

Tomislav Spajic, environment artist:

Thank you, DiipuSurotu. These are indeed very fascinating. Who knows, maybe Fortress could have turned out to be a great game. The concept art does look beautiful and worthy of a Final Fantasy game.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

  • arpit

    It behooves me the entire project was taken out of GRINS hands. They seemed to sort of on a good new track for a final fantasy game. It also vexes me if Square Enix really was the reason why GRIN shut down. (From what I read quite a while back, Square Enix execs didn’t like how the game was going and took the project away from GRIN without paying them). The company has made some egregious errors (ffXIV initially) and has tried to be compensate fans for it before. I really hope the former employees of GRIN the best of luck for whatever happened with that whole situation.

    • Well this was supposed to be the first western developed Final Fantasy, maybe Square didn’t like the departure from the classic FF XII environments? Anyway the game did look interesting.