Accoridng to Weidman, following the launch of the critically acclaimed and loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution in 2011, one of the studio's producers developed a new RPG concept that was heavily-inspired by Final Fantasy. However, after parent-company, Square Enix gave the project its blessing, the project turned simply into a Final Fantasy game.
Weidman says that talks for it to be the next mainline entry in the series came after doubt crept in about the publisher's internal Japanese Studio, which shipped Final Fantasy XIII to middling reviews and Final Fantasy XIV, which suffered a poor initial launch.
Given that it was potentially going to be the first western Final Fantasy game, the project at the time became known as Project W.
Come 2012, the studio flew representatives out to Japan to pitch the project to a board of former Final Fantasy directors. Their pitch for Project W was that of a sci-fi space opera with a visual design similar to fractals. Further, there was high-tech engine capable of rendering seamless interplanetary take-offs and landings.
As for the story, it centered around a hero on a journey around the galaxy to find a love interest named Nova, only to be derailed by a love triangle with a mercenary.
Sounds neat, right? Well, Square Enix didn't think so. It promptly got rejected. Upon rejection, the project continued production as its own IP, now under the codename Project Nova. However, the project suffered a soft cancellation come mid-2013 when it couldn't find any publishers, such as Sony or Microsoft who apparently passed on the project because of the risk involved.
As you may know, Eidos Montreal went on to develop Thief and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, as well as assist in the development of Rise of the Tomb Raider. Currently, it is working on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which is poised to release later this year, as well as co-developing an untitled Avengers game.0comments
Interestingly, the latest Final Fantasy entry, Final Fantasy XV, has since hit (2016). Whether Eidos Montreal's game would have been Final Fantasy XV or XVI, isn't clear.
For more information, insight, and context on Project W, be sure to check out Weidman's video (linked above) in its 10-minute entirety.