Forspoken is an upcoming game published by Square Enix and under development at Luminous Productions. It is said to have a huge open world with an elaborate magic system and rapid transit. Originally revealed as “Project Athia”, fans have been eagerly awaiting more information about how the gameplay systems will work, especially as we’ve seen the protagonist reveal incredible powers.
So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Forspoken, including its release date, gameplay, story, soundtrack, setting and more.
Predicted release date
Forspoken was slated for a May 24 release date, but in an increasingly common move, the development team pushed it back to October 11 to finish “polishing the game.” Announced during PlayStation’s Future of Gaming Showcase last year under the code name ‘Project Athia’, the reveal trailer gave us a vague idea of what to expect from the gameplay and world. In March 2021, the game received its final title as Forspoken, along with a deeper take on the story.
A message from the #Forspoken Development Team. pic.twitter.com/T302V6h4NpMarch 7, 2022
Forspoken is in development with Luminous Productions, a subsidiary of Square Enix. This is the same group that worked on Final Fantasy XV before putting together their own team for original titles. The team was originally founded by Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata, shortly before he left the team to pursue his own game development.
Square Enix has had enough on the shelf this year with Babylon’s Fall, Triangle Strategy, Chocobo GP, and Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins, so perhaps the delay shouldn’t be too surprising and hopefully leads to a smooth launch in October . We may see more Forspoken footage at Summer Games Fest this month.
Forspoken aims to give the player the tools to explore an open world using an extensive magic system and the ability to seamlessly jump through environments. Director Takeshi Aramaki claims the game uses fluid motion, and Square Enix describes it as a “story-driven adventure”.
The most recent Forspoken trailer offered a deeper look at what to expect from the story, but there are a few gameplay moments worth analyzing. We see our main character, Frey Holland, running around an arena while a dragon chases her. She also traps some flying monsters in a water globe, sets magically infused explosive traps, summons a flame sword to swat enemies, turns enemies into ice, leaps fluidly between the tops of buildings, conjures slippery platforms beneath her to temporarily elevate herself, and even pulls itself on a chain to make an opening. She can even launch magical projectiles from her palm like a machine gun.
With Final Fantasy XV, Luminous Production took a plunge into developing an open-world story-driven game. However, the team’s engrossing main missions were held back by a large but empty world with repetitive side missions; this sense of scale was hindered most by the player’s inability to explore the gigantic environment fluently. The Regalia (the game’s iconic vehicle) was certainly unique, but it was more of a fun way to look at the environment rather than leaving your car and running around in it.
On the other hand, Forspoken could thrive with a world similar in size to the one in Final Fantasy XV. After what we’ve seen of Forspoken’s fluid motion with Frey jumping off cliffs and between rocks, these environments can rightfully be huge without being daunting to explore.
It may be important to emphasize a slight void in the setting. When Forspoken is overrun with towns, characters, and quests, their parkour is often interrupted by things to deal with. Climbing and sprinting at breakneck speeds makes exploration more satisfying, giving Luminous Productions the ability to keep its environments open with significant distance between landmarks to encourage the player to be on the move at all times.
Forspoken received a new trailer at The Game Awards in 2021. We learned that the game will be released on May 24th. This trailer also showed a lot of details about the world and the story, as it seems that Frey has been cast out by the forces that rule the fantasy world. One of the highlights of this trailer is a dragon-like creature made from tree roots that shoots a laser of blue fire at Frey. I can’t wait to fight that thing.
Forspoken got a new trailer during a Sony State of Play in March, showcasing a battle against a giant dragon, numerous incredible powers available to the player, and many shots of the game’s vast landscapes.
The basis of Forspoken’s story may seem familiar to some, as it revolves around a character from a modern setting who is transported to a fantasy world. This is often referred to as an “isekai”, a popular genre in Japan in video games, anime, and manga. The plot revolves around someone who suddenly appears in another world.
In the game’s story trailer, we hear a dialogue where Frey Holland is blown away by the sudden powers she develops, referring to how she can move things with her mind and use magic. She is even more amazed at the presence of a dragon, so we can expect the game to feature a lot of dialogues in which the main character interacts with the world along with the player.
Isekai often revolves around themes of redemption and growth, forcing the protagonist to change their perspective on the value of life by giving them a new one to live with. This can be clearly seen in the game’s story trailer, when we see Frey being bullied in an alleyway as she is punched in the stomach and falls to the floor. She makes a wish atop a giant hotel sign after talking to her cat about how they’re going to escape the city. Frey wishes clean air, clear skies and no more fighting. And suddenly she is transported to a mysterious fantasy realm full of magic and monsters.
Giving Frey a sympathetic backstory will make it easier for players to immerse themselves in her escapist power fantasy. She goes from a bullied nobody in a crowded city to a powerful wizard who has the fate of the world on her shoulders. Since this trope is quite common, Forspoken’s story should shine most in its execution. We can anticipate the main themes of the game, so it’s up to the script and executions to carry the weight of the story.
Forspoken is written by Amy Hennig, Gary Whitta, Allison Rymer and Todd Stashwick. Hennig is known for her work as the creative director and writer of the original Uncharted trilogy, making her responsible for one of the most iconic PlayStation exclusive franchises. Although she did some work in the industry after that, Forspoken seems to be her first major project since. And Whitta is known for his co-authored work on the story of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Forspoken is set in a mysterious fantasy realm full of dragons, kingdoms and magic. Most of the environments shown in footage are stretched out to encourage the player to sprint through and park. In addition, we have Frey confronted by monstrous bears, wolves, stone giants and a mysterious boss in a throne room.
One thing I noticed while analyzing the game’s story trailer is that every architecture is overgrown and a few structures are in ruins. We hardly see any characters in an outdoor setting, with the only two talking to Frey in an interior. Perhaps the world of Forspoken is after death, populated with empty cities ravaged by monsters and besmirched by war.
Fans have theorized that Forspoken is the evolution of Agni’s Philosophy, a Final Fantasy tech demo that was unveiled in 2012 to show what the future of the series might look like. Since this demonstration was from Luminous, it would make sense that there would be a slight evolution of those ideas in Forspoken, especially since the aesthetics are similar.
Forspoken was composed by Bear McCreary and Garry Schyman. McCreary is best known for his phenomenal work on 2018’s God of War, and thankfully he has returned to compose God of War: Ragnarok† McCreary has also worked on The Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, Agents of SHIELD, Outlander, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, 10 Cloverfield Lane and many more.
Schyman has composed for the Bioshock series, Guild Wars 2, both Middle Earth: Shadow games and more. Given how intense, atmospheric and emotional the Bioshock soundtrack can get, I’m excited to see how his music can improve Forspoken.
Forspoken ray tracing
Forspoken will feature ray-tracing technology, as confirmed by Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda. As translated by GematsuMatusda claims that “PS5 dramatically improves video technology, such as with the implementation of light-reflecting ‘ray-tracing’ technology. Compared to what you see on PC, it is almost identical. By using these special features, we are able to to create incredibly accurate images.”
Given how other PS5 games handle ray tracing, we can probably expect a Performance and Fidelity mode, with the latter setting the game at 30fps to achieve 4K resolution and implementing ray-tracing technology. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart had Fidelity, Performance, and Performance Ray tracing modes to give players more customizability in how they wanted to experience the game. If possible, Forspoken should implement a similar system.