GRIN's Final Fantasy project still in development?

Source: UK gaming-news site GamesIndustry.biz. What we heard: GRIN went on a tear in the lead-up to its closure in August, releasing Bionic Commando Rearmed, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, Terminator Salvation, and a Bionic Commando revamp over a period of 12 months. However, the one project that the...

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Source: UK gaming-news site GamesIndustry.biz.

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What we heard: GRIN went on a tear in the lead-up to its closure in August, releasing Bionic Commando Rearmed, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, Terminator Salvation, and a Bionic Commando revamp over a period of 12 months. However, the one project that the Swedish studio seemed particularly keen on releasing ultimately never came to fruition. Though details on the project weren't revealed, GRIN characterized it as "our unreleased masterpiece that we weren't allowed to finish."

After the studio's implosion, a handful of unconfirmed reports indicated that the aforementioned "masterpiece" involved Square Enix's acclaimed Final Fantasy franchise. And according to a report today by UK news site GamesIndustry.biz, Square Enix has found a new studio to continue work on the spin-off title.

According to the UK site's sources, GRIN picked up the Final Fantasy game, operating under the code name Fortress, during the back half of 2008. However, Square Enix reportedly took the studio off of the title after six months of development time due to concerns over the game's quality.

GRIN's removal from the project was reportedly the primary reason why the studio collapsed in August. As noted by GI.biz, Swedish companies incur substantial fines if operating under a debt load, and since GRIN reportedly had no other projects in its development pipeline, the studio had no choice but to shut down. Indeed, at the time of its closure, GRIN said that the studio suffered from "an unbearable cash flow situation...as too many publishers have been delaying their payments."

Square Enix has made a significant push to attract Western gaming audiences, namely by purchasing British publisher Eidos, so it seems entirely plausible that the company would hire on GRIN. Square Enix also has precedence in handing over some of its internal franchises to outside developers. As part of the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the publisher announced that California-based Double Helix had been tapped to create a new installment in the Front Mission series.

The official story: Square Enix had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.

Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. Square Enix is unlikely to simply shelve a new installment in its best-selling Final Fantasy franchise, even if GRIN's attempt didn't bear fruit. However, it will likely never be known how closely the game will resemble GRIN's reported effort, assuming it does eventually make it to market.

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