A studio that worked on an official Final Fantasy spin-off claims Square Enix made it impossible to succeed.
In a feature written in Swedish publication Aftonbladet, bankrupt videogame developer GRIN blames its demise on the irrational business practices of Square Enix. GRIN was once developing a Final Fantasy spin-off called Fortress, which wasn’t given the chance to succeed according to former GRIN employees.
Ulf and Bo Andersson of GRIN say (through Google Translate) that Square Enix didn’t pay any of the $20 million contract it had with the studio to develop Fortress, even though the duo claim they met every required milestone until going bankrupt in August 2009. As if this wasn’t bad enough, GRIN became extremely suspicious of Square Enix when odd demands started to pour in.
For example, Square Enix started complaining about Fortress‘s Nordic style, though it was what Square Enix had asked for. Square Enix also told GRIN it should have been filing its milestone work with its legal department instead of the arm it was filed to, said to be an unusual request.
Further, Square Enix demanded that GRIN fax over Fortress‘s code, including music files. Bo Andersson said: “It is an impossible requirement, you can not send ASCII or binary codes on the fax. It is backward. Really retarded. It was almost a criminal activity.”
GRIN’s suspicions were confirmed when Square Enix failed one of the studio’s tests. It sent Square Enix an image taken from Final Fantasy XII, saying it was from Fortress, to see what the company would do. Square Enix replied: “It does not look like Final Fantasy.”
GRIN then knew it had no chance of succeeding no matter what it did. “We wanted to come in and revolutionize Final Fantasy, which is exactly what they need,” Andersson added. “The latest version sucks of course.”
If true, the story is an odd one. Square Enix recently admitted that it became “weaker than expected,” and perhaps dealing with development partners in this manner is the reason why (again, assuming that this story is 100% true). Square Enix hasn’t yet responded to GRIN’s accusations.