Codex Gamicus

Fortress was the codename of a cancelled video game being developed as a spin-off of Square Enix's Final Fantasy series. It was envisioned as an action game set in the fictional world of Ivalice,[1] and is intended for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows platforms.[2] Although not yet officially announced, the project's existence was revealed after the closure of the original developer, GRIN, by former members of the development team and sources in the video game industry.[3]


Preproduction work for Fortress began in the second half of 2008 when Square Enix outsourced it to the Swedish developer GRIN.[4] The development team, based in Stockholm, began creating concept art, 3D models and a game engine, thinking of Fortress as a "game with an epic scale both in story and production values".[2] The project made use of the Audiokinetic Wwise solution for dynamic sound and music transitions.[5] In addition to original characters and locations, concept art for the game depicts Ashe and a Judge character from Final Fantasy XII,[6][7] and chocobos and other recurring creatures of the series.[2][6]

However, after six months of development, Square Enix reclaimed the project without paying GRIN, due to concerns over the quality of the work.[3][4] Square Enix's withdrawal left the Swedish developer in financial difficulty and with no other ongoing game project.[4] This led to GRIN declaring bankruptcy, as laws in Sweden inflict severe fines on businesses which operate under a debt load.[4] The developer closed its offices on August 12, 2009, noting that delayed payments from "too many publishers" caused "an unbearable cashflow situation" and mentioning in a farewell note their "unreleased masterpiece that [they] weren't allowed to finish".[8] The Fortress project, still supported by Square Enix, is now being developed by a different, undisclosed studio.[4]

File:Fortress tech demo.jpg

Two placeholder creatures in a duel, from the leaked tech demo

In January 2010, footage from an alleged tech demo of Fortress was leaked on the Internet. The video description stated the game's events are "set some time after Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings", and mentioned Square Enix's subsidiary Eidos Montreal as a possible new home for the project.[9][10] Replying to a fan question in May 2010, David Hoffman, director of business development at the American branch of Square Enix, mentioned Fortress without confirming its existence, stating "I have and had no involvement in the rumored project Fortress".[11]


  1. King, Ryan (August 20, 2009). GRIN was working on Final Fantasy game. Official Xbox 360 Magazine. Retrieved on September 22, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Albihn, Björn (September 7, 2009). Björn Albihn - Character Artist. Retrieved on September 22, 2009
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dustin, Quillen (August 20, 2009). GRIN Was Working on an Unannounced Final Fantasy Project. Retrieved on September 22, 2009
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 GRIN's Final Fantasy spin-off still in development. (September 21, 2009). Retrieved on September 22, 2009
  5. Crafoord, Jonatan (September 2009). Jonatan Crafoord - Audio Designer. Retrieved on January 18, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hellstedt, Joakim (September 9, 2009). Online Portfolio of Joakim Hellstedt. Retrieved on September 22, 2009
  7. Holmsten, Tony; Bergquist, Martin (August 20, 2009). Concept Art. Visual Development. Retrieved on September 22, 2009
  8. Alexander, Leigh (August 12, 2009). Swedish Developer GRIN To Close Its Doors. Gamasutra. Retrieved on September 22, 2009
  9. Robinson, Andy (January 18, 2010). Final Fantasy XII spin-off leaked. Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on January 19, 2010
  10. King, Ryan (January 18, 2010). Tech demo of cancelled Final Fantasy. Official Xbox 360 Magazine. Retrieved on January 19, 2010
  11. Sal Romano (May 27, 2010). Square Enix’s "Project X" is not Fortress. Scrawl. Retrieved on May 28, 2010

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