Eidos Montreal's "really cool" Final Fantasy game that never was

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

Square Enix originally gave Eidos-Montréal — the developer of two Deus Ex games and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — the task of making Final Fantasy XV, former executive art director Jonathan Jacque-Belletête confirmed to TA.

This week, TrueAchievements spoke with Rogue Factor’s creative director Jonathan Jacque-Belletête at Nacon's Bigben Week about his work on the upcoming philosophical, supernatural, non-violent third-person action game Hell is Us. Speaking about his time as an art director with Eidos-Montréal, he confirmed that Square Enix — before it sold its western branch to Embracer group for $300 million — removed the Canadian team from a “really cool” Final Fantasy XV project.

Deus Ex and Marvel's Guardian of the Galaxy developer worked on a Final Fantasy 15 project

Final Fantasy XV Achievements

Final Fantasy XV was released in 2016 and developed by Business Division 2 under director Hajime Tabata. However, there was much turbulence in its ten years of development, including a near-full reset and an engine swap. Jacque-Belletête has now confirmed that as part of that process, Square Enix almost gave Eidos-Montréal the Final Fantasy project:

“[Eidos-Montréal] brought back Deus Ex. I was the art director on that — Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Then [I was] the executive art director on Mankind Divided. Then we tried to do Final Fantasy XV. Then 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.”
Sadly, Jacque-Belletête didn’t expand further. Development restarted on Final Fantasy XV in 2012, so that would roughly match the period between when Human Revolution was released in 2011 and the sequel Mankind Divided in 2016. It's possible that this is the juncture Square Enix decided to try a western development team for the game and Eidos-Montréal got the license to pitch a concept. If the game was ever released, it would have made Eidos-Montréal the first western developer on a mainline Final Fantasy game.

Deus Ex

RPGSite confirmed Square Enix wouldn’t immediately reject a western developer back in 2013. However, with this statement, Jacque-Belletête partially confirms a 2018 report from YouTuber SuperBunnyHop. He stated that according to multiple anonymous sources, Eidos-Montréal had “some basic art, some basic game design, in a super-secret office.”

Apparently, and it looks more likely given Jacque-Belletête’s confirmation, this was a “space opera RPG” with an art style that used fractals and a love triangle. For more information on it, check out the video — but this statement would confirm that Square Enix didn’t want to take the risk with Final Fantasy and took it back to Japan.

You can read more from our interview with Jonathan Jacque-Belletête about the enticing Hell is Us next week. What do you think of this news? Are you sad Square Enix didn’t want to take the risk? Start a project of your own by typing out a comment down below!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Working across TrueTrophies and TrueAchievements, Kes writes news, reviews, and a variety of bespoke features. Kes left university after four years with a first-class MA in English Literature — a subject that required research, creativity, and lots of writing. He also has dabbled in teaching, farming, and building websites. Some days, he plays Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag to pretend he is a pirate.
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