squaresoft

Final Fantasy IV (4) [SNES – Beta & Unused Stuff]

As we can read in Wikipedia, Final Fantasy 4 was developed and published by Squaresoft in 1991 as a part of the Final Fantasy series. The game was originally released for the Super Famicom in Japan, but has been ported with minor changes to the Super Nintendo in USA, re-titled as “Final Fantasy II” due to it being the second of the series released there.

After completing Final Fantasy III for the Famicom (NES) in 1990, Square planned to develop two Final Fantasy games—one for the Nintendo Famicom and the other for the forthcoming Super Famicom (SNES), to be known as Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V respectively.

Due to financial and scheduling constraints, Square dropped plans for the Famicom game and continued development of the Super Famicom version, retitled Final Fantasy IV. A mock-up screenshot of the cancelled Final Fantasy 4 for the Famicom / NES was produced for a Japanese magazine.

In the released Final Fantasy 4, fans of the saga found some unused stuff still hidden in the game. One of the characters you get at the beginning of the game, Kain, has an unused spell casting animation. In the Slick Productions Forums you can read a theory about where his magic spell list is and see Kain in game using the spell.

Yang, another character that you get and lose and get again, during the battle against him, has an attack text-script, and that includes a script for a character in your party, but it seems that the developers “Dummied” it out. The same script has Yang attack Kain, but at this point, you don’t HAVE Kain in your party, hinting at a possible different story event. Another unseen event was hinted at in the code with a character named “Anna”, she has battle animations and everything but they were never used. More info can be found in here.

Also, there’s a picture of the back of FFIV’s japanese case, shows something that doesn’t happen in the game itself anymore. And another beta picture was found in Nintendo power. As Deathlike2 explained in the GameFAQS forum:

It looks like DK Cecil, Kain, and Yang with Young Rydia and Rosa. None of that is normally possible.

1) Fire2/Fira cannot be learned by Young Rydia until she comes back as Older Rydia.

2) Kain leaves right after the Mist event.

3) That enemy formation does exist, but not in a castle environment (the battle @ Fabul never has such a formation).

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Kingdom Hearts 2 [PS2 – Beta]

Kingdom Hearts 2 is an action RPG developed by Square Enix and published by Buena Vista Games and Square Enix in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. Superfun64 has noticed a beta screenshot from an old magazine article, in which we can see Donald and Goofy in the scene with the huge Heartless war battle, but they are not in there in the final game.

Also, in a beta video from Tokyo Game Show 2003 we can see a different Twilight Town, the removed Hollow Bastion Tower and various removed scenes, like one in which Donald freeze himself.

Yaz0r found out that there is a Woddy & Buzz (from Toy Story) model in the KH2 data. They are unfinished/untextured but it looks like they were planned as summons. They are in the middle of the other summons models, that’s why we can assume that they were planned as summons. During KH2 production, there were an issues between Disney & Pixar (especialy around Toy Story 3 and the deal they had signed together). It’s possible that Square scraped the Pixar stuff to prevent from beeing involved.

There are even more early screens at KH2 website, if you can find other beta images, let us know!

Thanks to Superfun64 and Yaz0r for the contributions!

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Kingdom Hearts [PS2 – Beta]

Kingdom Hearts is an action RPG developed and published by Square in 2002 for the PlayStation 2. The idea for Kingdom Hearts came about when producer Shinji Hashimoto met with a Disney executive in an elevator;  Square and Disney had previously worked in the same building in Japan. The game began development in February 2000 and originally the beta focused more on the gameplay with a simple story to appeal to Disney’s target age range.

After executive producer Hironobu Sakaguchi told director Tetsuya Nomura the game would be a failure if it did not aim for the same level as the Final Fantasy series, Nomura began to develop the story further. Some content that did not make it into Kingdom Hearts was later added into Kingdom Hearts II.

The “Pride Land” from The Lion King, for instance, was infeasible because an additional program was required to process movement on four legs—a necessity since Sora would become a lion in that world. Due to time constraints, the developers left out an optional boss battle, similar to the Sephiroth battle, against Tifa Lockhart. She was later included in Kingdom Hearts II as a more developed character. [Info from Wikipedia]

In a beta trailer from 2001 you can see many differences between the beta build and the final build. Such as Sora roaming around Disney Castle. In the final build, you do not go to Disney Castle, but there is an image of it on the world map, but it is never selectable.

More differences, as spotted by YT users:

  • The logo’s different
  • Goofy’s cloth is different
  • Sora’s beta hair color
  • removed scene with Riku on the Clock Tower

In an interview with Nomura, we can read that:

“Actually,” he continues, “the first weapon I showed Disney was a chainsaw. It was this chainsaw-like weapon that I had a rough sketch of when I first showed my concepts to Disney. Everyone got this scrunched-up look on their face and nobody said a word in the entire room. Dead silence. And I thought ‘No, I guess this wouldn’t work, huh?'”

Shadowdorothy also noticed:

  • In the beta Riku didn’t have his black gloves he does in the final release
  • Kairi’s skirt is longer in the official release.
  • The opening monologue by Sora went through a major change, as in the commercial it appears that Sora is having a conversation with someone.
  • The magic system was changed dramatically, as the magic system sub-menu originally opened on top of the action menu.
  • The door was also removed, and by “the door” I mean that strange door on Destiny Island that you can’t see until Sora has a flash back that involves Riku and him being kids.
  • It also appears that Sora, not Kairi, was the one that needed saving, as per some dailouge seen at the end of the com.

Some more info on the beta can be found on X-Cult!

Thanks a lot to Brad and Shadowdorothy for the contributions!

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Final Fantasy Fortress [Cancelled – Xbox 360 / PS3]

Final Fantasy Fortress [Cancelled – Xbox 360 / PS3]

GRIN was a video game developer based in Stockholm, Sweden. Founded by Bo and Ulf Andersson in 1997, that developed many popular games, as Ballistics, Bionic Commando 2009 and a couple of Tom Clancy´s Ghost Recon titles. Sadly on the 12 August 2009 GRIN filed for bankruptcy and the studio had to close down. Before the closure of the company, the developer was working on a mysterious Final Fantasy spinoff title for Square-Enix, that was known with the code-name “Fortress.

As we can read in GRIN’s official website:

It is with a heavy heart we announce today that GRIN has been forced to close its doors. This as too many publishers have been delaying their payments, causing an unbearable cashflow situation. […] Looking back at twelve years of games, titles such as Ballistics, Bandits, GRAW 1 & 2, Bionic Commando Rearmed, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, Terminator: Salvation, Bionic Commando and our unreleased masterpiece that we weren’t allowed to finish; it has been a great ride.

The game was not originally going to be a Final Fantasy game at all, and was conceived as an original idea designed by Ulf Andersson, one of the founders of Grin. While the Grin team were developing Bionic Commando for Capcom, Yoichi Wada from Square Enix visited Grin and loved what he saw and proposed them to pitch a new game, using the Lord of Vermillion IP. Grin used their original idea to develop a full pitch, and Square Enix seems to have been so impressed that they decided to use the Final Fantasy IP for this new game.

The original version of Fortress was to have a very Nordic art style and many of the enemies were said to be based on Viking tales. After it was decided the game would become a Final Fantasy spin-off, Grin decided to tweak the art style but still keep with an overall Nordic theme in a Final Fantasy world. It was then decided that the game would be set in the world of Ivalice, the world from Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII, and Vagrant Story, after the events of XII.

Lead character artist Bjorn Albihn described Fortress as “a game with epic scale in both story and production values.” There have been many screenshots and even an early tech demo video released of the game, and there is no denying it looked beautiful, with a rich, yet incomplete open world to explore. There was also a character model created for an early boss which would be a giant Malboro, a popular Final Fantasy enemy. The player would have to scale the seaweed on the creature’s back to be able to drop bombs on its weak points. Some concept art can also be seen of this boss.

A programmer who worked for GRIN describes his contribution to Fortress as follows:

After Bionic Commando I got to work one month on this final project at Grin

The core game was about you and a small group of loyal soldiers defending the fortress against a army invading from the sea. They had ships and monsters in endless supply and you had to keep your troops morale high and move around the fortress and defend key areas of it as the enemy attacked. Between attacks you could travel inland and explore some form of ancient temples or something.

My task was to create a system that would support a huge amount of characters fighting in and around the fortress. Besides the need for the player to be able to jump in and affect all battles a system to script events in the combat was also needed. All without making them look like bad background actors in a movie. The goal for the game was to keep around 2200 characters in the combat, 2000 attackers and 200 defenders.

It was reported that there was a deal in place with Square for them to pay $16.5 million for the production of the game, to be paid with increments when the project would hit a set of milestones within its development. This is where the trouble started for Grin, though. In an interview on Swedish site Nojes Bladet, Bo and Ulf Andersson, the founders of Grin, said, “they starved us to death.” No money came in from Square for months. They kept up development on the game anyway, which cost the company a fortune and months later, still without any payment from Square, Grin were forced to close all other offices except the base office in Stockholm. What happened between Square and Grin?

In 2009 Grin released two games that they had been developing: Terminator Salvation and Bionic Commando. Both of these games came out to very negative reviews and low sales, a fact that made Square nervous about the upcoming Fortress game. Ulf Andersson even stated in the same interview that Square were then demanding constant updates and all of the games assets such as code, artwork and music files. These requests took away time and resources from development, making it very stressful for Grin to keep working. According to Square, though, Grin were not meeting any of the milestones that were promised and this is why they had made no payments. The Andersson brothers also stated that Square were now not happy with the Nordic art style of Fortress and wanted them to change it to make it more like a classic Final Fantasy game. Grin then tried to change the game but Square was reportedly still not happy with the way it looked. Ulf says that he wanted to test Square, and so he sent them an image from Final Fantasy XII, but they still said that even this image was not in the Final Fantasy style.

The relationship between the two companies was on the verge of breaking down. In late August 2009, Square officially announced to Grin that no payments would be made to the company. A few days later, Grin was forced to declare bankruptcy as Sweden has very strict laws on a company operating under a heavy debt load.

Some early assets, details and concept arts for this unreleased project were found thanks to Hey Hey, Kotaku, NeoGAF and Gamespot, so at least some documents of its existence can still be preserved. It’s currently unknown if Square-Enix could try to fund the project with a different developer, but as they have written on Destructoid, it seems that S-E still have few millions of debts with GRIN for their work.

Although the Andersson brothers’ first company Grin had to be shut down, this did not keep them from game development, and they went on to create a new development studio called Overkill Software. This studio has released the very popular Payday: The Heist and Payday 2 both of which have sold extremely well.

Thanks to Sam Batten, Dominarul Cel Elf, Brad and Robert Seddon for the contributions!

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Silent Chaos [PSX – Cancelled]

Silent Chaos is a cancelled action adventure that was in development by Kalisto Entertainment from 1997 to 1999. The game was going to be published on the  Playstation by Squaresoft, but originally the project started as a sequel of Dark Earth, an action adventure created by the same team and released only on PC. After few months of work on Dark Earth 2, Kalisto stopped the development for the PC, but it seems that Squaresoft was interested in the game and they changed DE2 into a new IP for the PSX.

The character designs that were initially created at Kalisto were redone again by Tetsuya Nomura, one of the main character designers at Square, famous for his works on Final Fantasy 7, Parasite Eve, The Bouncer and many more. Sadly, after a couple of years of development, Silent Chaos was canned, probably because of the shift of development on the soon to be released Playstation 2. A new Dark Earth 2 project was later proposed for the PS2, but nothing came from it. Kalisto Entertainment declared bankruptcy in 2002: Dark Earth 2 / Silent Chaos vanished forever with the studio and only few CG models and backgrounds remain.

Thanks and credits to Gwen Heliou and Pierre-Mony for the contributions!

Video from CanOfTheRelics YT Channel!

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