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GRIN founders blame Square Enix for the studio’s demise

Saturday, 28th May 2011 18:51 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

The founders of GRIN are blaming Square Enix for a significant portion of the events leading up to the studio’s bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent closure.

Speaking in an interview with Aftonbladet, Ulf and Bo Andersson said Square not only made ridiculous demands of the firm, but it also reneged on $20 million contract for the firm’s Final Fantasy spin-off game, codenamed Fortress. Square also insisted, according to the Anderssons, that the firm fax it the game’s code and music files.

“It is as silly as it sounds,” said Bo Andersson. “It is an impossible requirement, you can not send ASCII or binary codes on the fax. It is backward. Really retarded. It was almost a criminal activity.”

According to the developers, Square also claimed the firm was not delivering its work to the correct departments. It should have, instead, been sending all its work to Square’s legal division, and furthermore insisted it didn’t like the game’s Nordic style, which it specifically requested from the beginning and was one of the main reasons it chose a Swedish firm in the first place.

So, to test the waters at Square a bit, and to see if it was even paying attention, GRIN sent it some concept art from taken straight from Final Fantasy XII .

The Anderssons were told: “It does not look like Final Fantasy.”

“Then we realized that whatever we do … they have decided,” Bo Andersson said. “We wanted to come in and revolutionize Final Fantasy, which is exactly what they need. The latest version sucks of course.”

We’ve mailed Square to see if it has any response to these rather harsh allegations.

Thanks, Kotaku.

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24 Comments

  1. pukem0n

    well, hes right with Final Fantasy sucking big time now

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Telepathic.Geometry

    I can soooo believe it…

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    “It is as silly as it sounds,” said Bo Andersson. “It is an impossible requirement, you can not send ASCII or binary codes on the fax. It is backward. Really retarded. It was almost a criminal activity.”

    WHat?! What moron thought that was a good idea. It seems like they wanted the studio to fail especially faxing code.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Anders

    This’ll be interesting.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Telepathic.Geometry

    Japanese corporate management types are full of fail.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. absolutezero

    I think one of the largest deciding factors in the death of Grin was the amount of crap they pumped out.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. DSB

    I’m inclined to agree with absolutezero.

    Regardless, this is just going to descend into he-said-she-said.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. WFMMK

    Both Bionic Commandos they made were amazing especially the 3D one.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Gekidami

    Yeah, but face it Bo, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, Terminator: Salvation & Bionic Commando sucked terribly. Maybe you should have gotten off your arses and made some original content rather then relying on contracts. Nearly all of these ‘contract only studios’ have closed now, we’re just waiting for Slant Six…

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Clownbabyalbino666

    The first half of the 3D Bionic Commando was good and then, I don’t know if they had a deadline or something, but the game falls apart in gameplay, story, and general execution. Not only does the story have a ridiculous plot twist with no explanation behind it, but it doesn’t even have a real final boss battle. Rearmed, though, was solid.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. hitnrun

    I can’t disagree with absolutezero and DSB but c’mon, those bits about demanding files be encoded in a fax (those still exist?) and rejecting actual lifted FF art as “not like Final Fantasy” are uproarious if true.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Zana

    How would a mediocre developer like they were would be able to revolutionize Final Fantasy? Especially by making it a bland looking Western RPG. Current FF developers have chosen their own path and whether you like it or not, at least they are doing their best to fulfill their ideas. FFXIII was a brilliant game…in its own genre.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Bloodyghost

    @12, I agree with some of what you said. GRIN was rather bad as a company. They had some ambitious IP’s and some shitty ideas for gameplay and Story.

    Also I feel that XIII was too ambitious, which is why people declare it as shit. I liked FFXIII but it got old…fast.

    Also Me dont like idea for FFXIII 2

    But I do like the direction Versus 13 is taking. So I am still on the board about the series. If Versus is anything like FFXIII in being ambitious then falls flat then I think the serious is going to start to tank big time.

    Square….why the hell are you making FF MMO’s!!!

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Espers

    this what the western devs are good at blaming others for a rip-off. How old is grin and how old is S-E ?! this question answers everything. Just because you didn’t like Final Fantasy XIII it doesn’t mean it isn’t a successful game so don’t generalize.
    What games should be awesome for you ?! the same old shooters, with nothing new but more textures, smoke and visual effects ?! is there anything new about gameplay ?! Hell No !! Crysis 2 is the same as the old Medal of Honor 2, point and shoot ?! anything else ?! Oh yeah promoting their cry engine so official government and sciences labs can make use of it.

    I love S-E work and if there’s something I hate about them is the re-releasing of old titles again and again with minor changes. I look forward to FF-XIII 2 now that I finished FF-XIII yesterday, of course if you play such game in a linear path, then you don’t know what FINAL FANTASY is about. Oh well since most of the US like silly point and shoot they will find FF-XIII not good

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Espers

    @ hitnrun

    See, don’t play a game if you don’t know its History. When you are in ROME, you do as the ROMANS do !!
    The Japanese are traditionalist and they all have a code of conduct and the same goes for Final Fantasy, it has some guidelines that are unmodifiable. So either you abide or you don’t.

    The Japanese are serious about work and thus when you need to work with them, you will have to visit Tokyo, Japan so you get used to the nature of work. The same as Kojima did with MGS Rizing staff.

    How the Hell would a Final Fantasy XII spin-off have a nordic style ?! stupid grin.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. xxJPRACERxx

    @15 Can’t you read: “which it specifically requested from the beginning and was one of the main reasons it chose a Swedish firm in the first place.”

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Telepathic.Geometry

    @Espers: The Japanese are more serious about appearing to be serious about work than they are about work.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. GwynbleiddiuM

    Well, more reason for developer studios to remain independent and sell themselves out. from afar this might look like a really good idea we join a new firm and they will pay our expenses but they really wont just make things complicated. Publishers always had ridiculous high demands from studios under their wings and will always had. I for one always thought GRIN is doing well and it really upset me when I heard that sad news.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. galaxy366

    Really? Because from what I know, GRIN made horrible movie games / and games.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. TheWulf

    That’s BS, 19. GRIN were responsible for Bionic Commando: Rearmed (which I bought on the PC, just to say that as a preface), which was only disliked by some butthurt 360 fans because the game looked markedly worse than the PC and PS3 versions due to smaller textures, which they had to do to meet a size requirement imposed upon them by Microsoft regarding the XBLA.

    The game itself though was a magnificent reboot and was a joy to play from beginning to end. It showed that GRIN could shine when they were allowed to do their own thing. If there’s one thing that this proved to me, it was that GRIN absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt needed to sign up with Paradox as a publisher.

    Who’s Paradox? They’re a very small scale publisher and developer also based in Sweden who tend to work with independent developers. They were responsible for publishing/helping with the development of the likes of Sword of the Stars and Magicka, to name two. Considering that both are located in Sweden, it’s an idiot’s move not for them to hook up.

    See, this is the only place where GRIN failed – they kept wanting to make mainstream games for the consoles, where they could’ve been making indie titles for the PC. And Rearmed proved conclusively that when they were doing smaller titles, they shined. It was only when they got too ambitious with a mainstream title did they ever fail.

    They just kept shooting themselves in the foot instead of taking a new approach. I really hope that some of the creative people from GRIN leave to form a new studio, one that will work with Paradox to realise their potential. I want to see and buy the games they’d want to make.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Phoenixblight

    “They just kept shooting themselves in the foot instead of taking a new approach. I really hope that some of the creative people from GRIN leave to form a new studio, one that will work with Paradox to realise their potential. I want to see and buy the games they’d want to make.”

    The studio is dead and with that the members formed several studios.

    Former members of GRIN have formed a new development studio, Might and Delight, which will focus on small, downloadable games. The former lead engineers of GRIN started the studio BitSquid together with the owners of Fatshark. Former quality assurance members formed a separate studio called Trinity QA Studio in June 2010.

    Designers and artists went to Might and Delight, Programmers went to Bitsquid to make game engines, and QA made their own studio. And none of them are with Paradox.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. DSB

    One of the main things to remember about Paradox and their line-up is that often the people who sign to them don’t have a lot of other options.

    I love the democratic side to Paradox, and I certainly appreciate the fact that Paradox are almost singlehandedly keeping old PC virtues alive, and putting out great niche games, but they’re still catering to a very specific audience.

    GRIN obviously had entirely different ideas in terms of what they wanted to do.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. Espers

    @16, they are liars, it’s not necessary to choose a nordic developer to make a final fantasy in the norse … what does it have in relation to FINAL FANTASY, have you seen a character in Final Fantasy that has a name that ends with “ssen” like “anderssen”. When S-E says it doesn’t look like Final Fantasy it means it doesn’t and that they should try again !! I already mentioned that Japanese are traditionalist so when GRIN says we wanted to revolutionize Final Fantasy, that was their mistake !!

    @17 you watch too much manga and anime. If they aren’t serious enough, they wouldn’t become the 2nd and many times the world number one economy. Who could sustain such an earthquake other than them if they weren’t a serious country ?

    #23 4 years ago
  24. Jarlaxle

    @20 The Wolf: The game looked the same on the PS 3 and Xbox.
    Lensoftruth gave the PS 3 a slight non because the lighting was inconsisten in the Xbox version http://www.lensoftruth.com/head2head-bionic-commando/

    FYI the 360 wins most of the mutiplatform comparisons.

    #24 4 years ago

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