It’s no secret that the development of Final Fantasy 15 went through a long and tumultuous development cycle before finally releasing in November 2016. The fifteenth entry in the series originally started out as another project titled Final Fantasy Versus 13 before being rebooted as a main title in the series in 2013. For a brief period before this however, Square Enix considered giving the next mainline entry to a western studio, namely Eidos Montreal, and a recent interview with a concept artist from the studio that at one point the team was posed to develop Final Fantasy 15.
Final Fantasy Versus 13 was first announced at E3 2006 as an entry in the Fabula Nova Crytallis series, a collection of games loosely connected which also included Final Fantasy 13 and Final Fantasy Type-0. Briefly following the release of Final Fantasy 13 in 2009 and the original version of Final Fantasy 14 in 2010, public opinion began to change surrounding the Final Fantasy series, with both games receiving mixed to negative responses from fans and critics.
During this period, one of Square Enix’s most successful games was Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a soft reboot of the beloved immersive sim title developed by Eidos Montreal, a studio Square Enix had acquired alongside Hitman developer IO Interactive and Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics. Square Enix’s vice president Yoichi Wada suggested that the studio brand its next game, planned to be a space opera RPG, as the next mainline entry in the Final Fantasy series following the string of perceived failures from Square Enix’s Japanese branch.
The story of Project W, the original pitch for Eidos Montreal’s Final Fantasy 15, was first reported in 2018 by YouTuber Super Bunnyhop who claims to have spoken to many staff members who worked on the project. In a recent interview conducted with True Achievements, ex-Deus Ex art director Jonathan Jaques-Belletête confirmed the existence of Project W and claimed that after the publisher rejected the pitch “they decided to bring it back to Japan, which I think was a big mistake. But it’s still the truth. Ours was really, really cool.”
It’s believed that the reason Square Enix brought the project back to Japan and eventually rebranded Final Fantasy Versus 13 to Final Fantasy 15 was due to Yoichi Wada’s departure from the company and his replacement Yosuke Matsuda’s mission statement to return the Japanese side of the company to its former glory. It can be argued that this came at the expense of Square Enix’s western side however, especially with the recent announcement that it is selling many of its western studios and IP to Embracer Group for a surprisingly low figure of €300 million.
Final Fantasy 15 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Source: True Achievements