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Forspoken: release date, trailers, gameplay, and more

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.

Further reading

Release date

The protagonist of Forspoken looks through a purple portal.

After already suffering numerous delays, we were hit with one (hopefully) final delay. In a Tweet, we learned that the team behind the game is making the “strategic decision to move the launch date of Forspoken to January 24, 2023.”

They do state that all major elements of the game are done and that this extra time is just to polish the experience.

Platforms

Frey stands on a cliff overlooking clouds.

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.

Trailer

Forspoken - PlayStation Showcase 2021: Story Introduction Trailer | PS5

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 OnePrey, 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. The main hub city is called Cipal and is the last remaining safe haven from the Tantas. 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.

Forspoken | The Game Awards 2021 Trailer

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, high-speed surfing on some sort of ice board, and fights against 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.

A beautiful and cruel new land? Twisted monsters? An array of magical abilities? Sentient jewellery!?

Welcome to the world of #Forspoken. pic.twitter.com/46diiLnQ7M

— Forspoken (@Forspoken) August 8, 2022

Gameplay

The villain of Forspoken, according to the trailer.

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 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 don’t know how getting new magic will work or if there’s a system for improving your existing magic, though. 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.

Forspoken | 10-Minute Gameplay Trailer

This full gameplay trailer finally gave us a pure, unbroken look at a ton of how Forspoken will play in moment-to-moment gameplay. We won’t repeat all the stuff we already knew, but there’s still a lot new to see.

In Cipal, Frey can explore, speak to townsfolk, access shops, and pick up side quests. She can also find cats that can lead her somewhere the trailer doesn’t show us.

Once Frey enters Praenost, where monsters roam, we finally see the game being played as we will see it. The most vital thing to note from the UI is the grade on the upper right. Much like character action games, such as Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, doing combos and changing up how you attack enemies, as well as not getting hit, will build up your grade. The higher your grade at the end of combat, the more EXP and higher drop rate you get.

A few text prompts that add to the grade include performing slide strikes, stringing spells together, and getting first strikes.

A new traversal tool, of which we’ve already seen many, is essentially a grappling hook spell where time slows and you can target seemingly any surface in range to yank yourself toward.

Mana also seems to serve a different function than traditional JRPGs and feels more like a different type of EXP. It is earned by leveling up or collecting it from glowing spots around the world. Once enough is collected, you can use it to learn new spells. Speaking of new spells, apparently the game will have over 100 in total. We see a new spell wheel where you have access to eight spells, plus the option to open your full spell list. Presumably this is how you will swap out which ones are on this quick-select wheel.

In a very Ubisoft move, towers (belfries in this game) around the world can be accessed to scan the area for points of interest.

Other safe areas in otherwise dangerous regions are called Pilgrim’s Hideaways. This is a safe place to do crafting, upgrading, and recover from battle.

Finally, monuments can be found and cleansed with magic to give permanent buffs, like increased health, if you can locate and reach them.

Avoalet is the next area the trailer visits. As Frey swings, slides, and glides around the forest region, she picks up some new gear from a chest. We then get a glimpse of the menu, where it looks like you can equip both a cloak and necklace, with four blank slots below them that show any buffs that gear gives, such as immunity to dazing. Upgrading gear appears to be the way to add more of these buffs to gear. The new gear also visually reflects of Frey, lending some cool fashion possibilities to the game.

You also see your stats, including HP, Stamina, and four types of magic: purple, red, blue, and green.

Other menu tabs we don’t see are the journal, map, magic, nails, resources, and archive.

Multiplayer

Frey shooting magic at a flying enemy.

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.

Pre-order

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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