Square Enix's big internal studios are best known for making the Final Fantasy games, but after Final Fantasy 15, Square decided to do something a bit different. Many of the developers who worked on that game founded a new Square Enix studio, Luminous Productions, to focus on making big new triple-A games. That team took the Luminous Engine built for Final Fantasy 15 and set to work on a new game: Forspoken.
Forspoken was first conceived as Project Athia, but now we know its real name and roughly when it's coming: sometime in Spring next. We also know a little about its central character and the world she'll be exploring.
Here's everything we've learned about Forespoken so far.
What is Forspoken's release date?
Spring 2022. Square Enix narrowed the release window for Forspoken at Sony's State of Play showcase in September. Providing there are no delays—Covid-19 related or otherwise—that means it'll release sometime between March and the end of May 2022.
Here's the Forspoken debut trailer
…and here's the Forspoken story introduction trailer
Who's the main character in Forspoken?
The hero of Forspoken is Frey Holland, played by actor Ella Balinska. In the reveal trailer, Balinska says she's “a young woman in a beautiful yet threatening world.” Balinska also said that Frey is a character she “immediately connected with,” and she's performing both the motion capture and voice work in Forspoken.
That threatening world is doubly so, since Frey is actually a “gritty yet street smart young woman” who is unexpectedly transported from New York City to the nightmarish fantasy world of Athia. Thankfully her passage into this world is accompanied by the discovery of magical abilities, which she'll need as she fights her way to the “twisted all-powerful matriarchs” known as the Tantas, who control Athia. Sounds like she needs to get rid of them.
The first thing we saw in the debut Forspoken trailer was Frey's sneakers, which seemed ill-fitting in a fantasy game. Well: now you know why she's wearing sneakers! This has the whiff of an “isekai” story, a popular genre in Japan where characters are transported to a fantasy world. Y'know, like Space Jam.
This bit of text from the official site summarizes that setting:
IN A WORLD NOT HER OWN
WHERE RESOLVE WILL BE TESTED
TRUTHS WILL BE QUESTIONED
AND DEVOTIONS WILL BE DOUBTED
SHE WILL RISE.
How about the other characters?
Cuff is your main companion in Forespoken, and as his name implies, he's a cuff. Literally. He's a “magical, sentient bracelet of uncertain origin” who speaks in an arch English accent, as witty videogame companions are wont to do. He's played by Jonathan Cake.
We've also learned of Tanta Sila, who is played by Janina Gavankar. She's the big baddy among the Tantas, the group of “twisted” matriarchs you'll be targeting in Forespoken.
Two other key characters have also been revealed: Johedy is played by Keala Settle, and is a “hard-nosed archivist who provides Frey with guidance,” while Auden (Monica Barbaro) is a young woman Frey meets in Athia. They become besties.
What will Forspoken play like?
The most recent Forspoken trailer released in September provides a good overview of how the fantasy RPG will play.
- Square Enix is going for high fidelity cutscenes and environments here, much like its Final Fantasy games
- Frey moves fast
- Frey can run up/climb cliff faces and do some twirly moves to gain bursts of speed. Think magically aided parkour. Platforming is a key part of the game’s traversal, as is Spider-Man style swinging
- Enemies shown in the trailer: an imposing golem, an imposing zombie bear, and some wild-lookin’ sabretooth cats
- Frey’s magical powers include forming a shield of light and making vines explode out of the ground. She can also fire high speed magic projectiles at enemies
- The open world appears to be a mix of medieval fantasy architecture, cliffy and craggy wildlands, and open green pastures
- Frey is accompanied by a fairly unconventional companion in ‘Cuff’. He’s literally a golden sentient bracelet attached to Frey’s arm
Based on what's been shown so far, Forspoken reminds me of open world games like Insomniac's Spider-man and Sucker Punch's Infamous, where using your movement abilities to get around the open world is as big a part of the game as combat.
Who's working on Forspoken?
It's a Luminous Productions game, but the studio has recruited some high-profile talent to write the script. These writers include Star Wars writer (and ye olde PC Gamer editor) Gary Whitta, Naughty Dog veteran Amy Hennig, as well as Allison Rymer and Todd Stashwick. Square Enix has brought out the big guns, so expect a narrative-driven adventure.
It's also confirmed that God of War (2018) composer Bear McCreary will be handling Forspoken's score.