In 2018, YouTuber SuperBunnyHop released a video claiming that Final Fantasy XV was originally in development at Eidos-Montreal, the team behind Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. At the time, the YouTuber's sources were not willing to go on record to confirm those claims, though there was a decent amount of evidence. In a new interview with TrueAchievements, former art director Jonathan Jacque-Belletete has finally confirmed those claims, stating that he worked on the project after Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, but Square Enix inevitably decided to develop the game in Japan, instead.
"[Eidos-Montreal] 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," Jacque-Belletete told TrueAchievements.
Jacque-Belletete did not offer any other information on the project, but it's interesting to think about what might have been! Given the strong reception Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy received upon its release last year, it's not hard to imagine the team's take on Final Fantasy XV might have been equally well-received. Of course, the version of Final Fantasy XV that did release was a critical and commercial success for Square Enix, so it seems things worked out in the end.
While Eidos-Montreal nearly had the opportunity to work on Final Fantasy, the studio likely won't get another chance; the studio was sold to Embracer Group earlier this month. This confirmation that the team was working on the Final Fantasy series at one point certainly says a lot about how its relationship with Square Enix evolved over the last few years!
Are you a fan of Eidos-Montreal? Do you think the team would have done a better job with Final Fantasy XV? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!
[H/T: Games Radar+]