While Square Enix is most famous for its Final Fantasy series (and is currently working on the latest entry), a new JRPG project was shown off in June 2020 as a new title for the PlayStation 5 under the code name Project Athia. This new game caught many gamers’ eyes for the stunning visuals on display and the promise of a brand-new world from the esteemed JRPG developers. After the initial reveal, we didn’t get many details on this intriguing new project. All we knew was that the developer, Luminous Productions, was made up of many members of the Final Fantasy 15 team.
Now that more time has passed, new details and looks at this game have been revealed. One of the most important, of course, is the actual title of the game: Forspoken. Between the trailers, extended gameplay demos, and details given by the developers, we’ve got a nice bit of information to work with on what the story of this game is, how it will play, and when we will be able to get our hands on it. If you’re excited about this brand new JRPG experience, here’s everything we know about Forspoken.
It took a while for us to get a rough estimate on when we will actually be able to play Forspoken ourselves, but at the PlayStation showcase in September 2021, it was officially announced that Forspoken was targeting a spring 2022 release date. Square Enix was able to narrow that release date down to May 24, 2022, during the 2021 Game Awards. However, early in 2022, that date was pushed back to October 11, 2022. That’s a long delay but should make for a better game in the end, as the developer’s message states:
“We have made the decision to move the release date of Forspoken to October 11, 2022. Our vision for this exciting new IP is to deliver a game world and hero that gamers across the globe will want to experience for years to come, so getting it right is extremely important to us. To that end, during the next few months, we will focus all our efforts on polishing the game and can’t wait for you to experience Frey’s journey this fall.”
This game has been tied to Sony ever since it was first revealed, and Square Enix also has a long history with this platform holder, so Forspoken being a console exclusive was a safe assumption. By reading the fine print at the end of one trailer, we got all the important details. Yes, Forspoken will be a console exclusive for the PS5, but with some asterisks. First, it will also be coming to PC at the same time as confirmed during The Game Awards. Second, exclusivity is not permanent. The text states that it won’t be made available on the other platforms for at least 24 months from its release date. That’s a very long time to wait for a game if you’re looking forward to this game on an Xbox platform, but at least it isn’t a permanent exclusive.
The first real trailer from the PlayStation showcase is where we get the best look at what Forspoken really is, and boy is it something. This JRPG starts in the modern-day, introducing us to the main character, Frey Holland, looking to escape her life in the city. Thanks to some sort of portal, she has her wish granted, but perhaps not exactly as she wanted. Now stuck in this more traditional fantasy world called Athia, she is introduced to her talking cuffs that also grant her special powers.
Frey is on the verge of turning 21 when she is ripped from her world and tossed into the perils of Athia. She will need to contend with the evil forces of the new world if she wants to make it back home to her adorable cat.
It turns out that Frey is seen as the one who will rid the world of Athia of the monsters that plague it, as well as creatures known as the Tantas that assert control over the people living there. Leading the Tantas is someone named Tanta Sila, who will likely be the final boss Frey needs to overcome based on how she’s portrayed in the trailer.
The narrative of Forespoken has some big names behind it. Outside of the team within Luminous Productions, the writing team includes Gary Whitta, who was a writer on Star Wars: Rogue One, Prey, and many comic book runs, as well as Amy Hennig, who wrote the original Uncharted trilogy for NaughtyDog and Soul Reaver games.
Aside from Frey and Cuff, there are a few other characters involved in this story that we know of. Jogedy is an archivist who will help guide Frey as she explores this new world, and Auden is described as “a kind and open-minded young woman who prioritizes the needs of others before her own. She is quick to accept Frey in Athia and sees more in her than Frey does in herself.”
The areas of Athia we’ve seen seem to be typical fantasy castles and kingdom-type civilizations, plus mountainous regions, forested areas, and desert-like environments. Odds are we’ve only seen a glimpse of the different types of biomes and regions we’ll get to explore in the full game.
The trailer shown off during The Game Awards 2021 is short, but packed with interesting story hooks. We begin seeing Frey in chains, and he appears to be on trial. The people seem to believe she is somehow responsible for the corruption invading their land and is tasked by one of the council members with bringing the people hope. We get to see more of what this corruption does, killing and seemingly resurrecting people into monstrous creatures Frey will need to fight.
More combat is seen, with plenty of more spellcasting, some high-speed surfing on some sort of ice board, and fights against some wildlife. Frey will also have the ability to camouflage herself, summon a fire sword, and slam down with what looks like an electrical blast. The trailer ends with a large, thin, and very creepy-looking monster made of black vines.
The latest trailer had tons of gameplay to dig our teeth into. We already knew Frey would be dishing out different magical abilities, but now we’ve seen a range of them in action. There appears to be a more standard, fast-firing magic blast she can fling at enemies, but also some kind of shield, homing water orbs, vines, and explosive traps. What was exciting was the way Frey moves through the environment.
Frey moves fast. Really fast. Not only does she appear to have some insane parkour skills, but she can also use her magic to make her movement even smoother, quicker, and more versatile. She appears to be able to spin and twist in the air to prolong her airtime, climb up sheer surfaces with ease, and she can even shoot out a magical rope that she can pull herself around with. She likewise appears to not take any damage from falling from more-than-lethal heights.
Combat is very much active, rather than turn-based or tactical, and it looks like it can occur anywhere. We see Frey fighting in open fields, interiors, and what look to be town squares. The range of enemies run the gamut from zombie-looking evil humanoids to winged creatures in the sky and even “freaking dragons.”
As far as the finer details, we have strong feelings, but we can’t be certain. The game looks like it will be an open world based on how big the environments are and how much emphasis was put on Frey being able to move across the land quickly. We also hope to have plenty of side quests, optional areas to explore, maybe collectibles, and things of that nature in addition to the main quest. We also don’t know how getting new magic will work or if there’s a system for improving your existing magic. Will there be other options aside from just magic? We see Frey wearing different outfits, too, so that may be tied to an armor or gear system of some kind.
Even though there’s been no confirmation one way or the other, we feel pretty confident that there won’t be any multiplayer in this game of any kind. Everything we’ve seen shows Frey acting alone, at least outside of cutscenes and things of that nature. Even her “companion” character is her cuffs, which wouldn’t lend itself to multiplayer at all. Most JRPGs are better off as single-player experiences, so we’re good with Forspoken offering a polished solo adventure.
Initially, we were ready to say just as confidently that Forspoken wouldn’t have DLC as we did it not having multiplayer, until we reflected for a moment. This team, which again is largely the same one that made Final Fantasy 15, does have a track record for adding content post-launch. FF15 alone got way more DLC than many expected, including a multiplayer mode, so anything is possible. Granted, Final Fantasy 15 had a … let’s call it troubled … development and launch that made DLC feel more necessary.
Since we don’t even know what the gameplay flow will look like for Forspoken, any idea of what DLC there will be is up in the air.
With the release date set, you can now jump on your pre-orders for Forespoken via the game’s official site for both PS5 and PC.
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