Eidos Montréal was working on a Final Fantasy game that didn’t materialise, but it could have been Final Fantasy XV.
Final Fantasy X’s development was bumpy. First known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the game was billed as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, with Tetsuya Nomura in charge (Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy VII Remake…), but in 2012, the reboot came along. The project was now Final Fantasy XV under Hajime Tabata, but the story isn’t as simple as that! Jonathan Jacque-Belletête, former art director at Eidos Montréal, revealed that the studio was working on a Final Fantasy codenamed Project W, which would have been the first mainstream instalment in the series NOT created by a Japanese studio!
Jacque-Belletête spoke to TrueAchievements about it: „[Eidos Montréal] brought back Deus Ex. I was the art director of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Then [I was] the executive art director on [Deus Ex:] 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 fantastic.”
His timeline is a bit off, but according to a YouTube video, Jacque-Belletête was telling the. In 2011, Deux Ex: Human Revolution was a success, so Eidos Montreal wanted to make a Final Fantasy-inspired RPG, and the concept eventually evolved into Final Fantasy XV. Then came talks with Yoichi Wada, former Square Enix president, who greenlit Project W. The team in Quebec then created the basic game design, planning, and art for the game. It was going to be a space opera RPG with Final Fantasy elements that would appeal to Western fans, and space would be made up of fractals.
A new engine would have been able to handle the takeoffs and landings between planets. The protagonist would have been searching for his love interest Nova but would have run into a female warrior, leading to a love triangle and causing tension between the characters. In 2012, however, the Japanese board scrapped the project, so Final Fantasy XV went home. Eidos Montreal continued development under Project Nova for a year before cancelling it, as neither Microsoft nor Sony were willing to fund such an ambitious and expensive project.
The alternative Final Fantasy XV would have been interesting, but it will never happen.