Forspoken, everything we know after the State of Play

Forspoken, everything we know after the State of Play


The lack of information and news on Forspoken, the former Project Athia of Square Enix which should have been released at the end of May, that is, in just over two months, did not bode well. And in fact only a few days ago the developer Luminous Productions had to admit that the new intellectual property, in the works for PlayStation 5 and PC, actually needed more time, which is why a new release date has been set, now scheduled for next 11 October. In the meantime, however, it is not that Luminous has remained idle, so much so that during yesterday's State of Play we revised the game with a new trailer full of unreleased scenes.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, our Game Informer colleagues witnessed an exclusive live gameplay demonstration with their own eyes and interviewed the minds behind this ambitious new project, then recounting everything on their pages. We devoured the new information, put the pieces together after the State of Play and are ready to take stock of everything we know about Forspoken.

A little history

Forspoken, Frey struggling with a dragon If you look closely at the trailer for the State of Play, all in all you understand why Luminous Productions has decided to take another six months: however spectacular and visceral - the effects seem really amazing, especially in the particles - Forspoken still looks a bit immature in terms of fluidity and stability. On the narrative front, however, it seems that the game is practically done and over. Luminous Productions has been working on it for years: the studio was founded in 2018 with the specific goal of exploiting Square Enix's proprietary engine, the same Luminous Engine on which Final Fantasy XV ran, to make only new generation titles.

Director Takeshi Aramaki explained that the PlayStation 5 specifications - in particular, the data loading speed - lent themselves perfectly to the dynamics of an open world, and from there was born Project Athia, which then has changed its title to Forspoken when it was officially unveiled in 2020.

However, the story was already being written for years, also because the Luminous guys are not dealing with it properly. As we said, Forspoken was born in a way of an offshoot of Final Fantasy XV, which is why the first step in development was to look at everything that worked and didn't work in 2016's divisive JRPG action. they are exactly the tops with the open world - also because they have had few opportunities to work on it - and the story they wanted to tell needed a more modern breath, Luminous looked to the West. About 10% of the team was not born in Japan - it may seem a ridiculous percentage, but by the standards of a Japanese company it is almost monumental. And among the gaijin working on Forspoken there are above all the writers.

Gary Whitta, who wrote the screenplays for Code Genesis and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, did the first draft of the plot together with the dialogist Allison Rymer, while Amy Hennig - famous for her work on Uncharted and Jak and Dexter - finished it together with longtime collaborator Todd Stashwick.

Forspoken, the game starts in New York It seems that from Forspoken we can expect a dark tale that speaks above all of beauty in imperfection. The world of Athia, in which the protagonist Frey will be catapulted, seems an idyllic place, but in reality it is slowly being consumed by the Break, a sort of fog that distorts and transforms the landscape and all the living beings it invests. Frey herself - voiced in the original language by actress Ella Balinska, one of the protagonists of the Charlie's Angels reboot released in theaters a few years ago - is not exactly what one could define as a heroine. She is an orphan who grew up jumping from family to family and who, as an adult, is trying to make a living in New York with only the company of her cat Homer when an interdimensional portal transports her to Athia at the start of the game. .

Creative director Raio Mitsuno compared Forspoken to The Wizard of Oz, because the incipit is actually very reminiscent of the immortal tale of L. Frank Baum, except that our protagonist is much less sunny than Dorothy who lived in Kansas. At the beginning of the story, Frey already has her load of problems in the real world of the Big Apple, plus she has to find out why she ended up in Athia and why she appears to be immune to the Break.

Forspoken, there are so many witches that Frey will have to defeat We throw her there: maybe her origins have something to do with her, since she is an orphan? A little obvious, but it fits. Forspoken is a story of "discovery", explained Mitsuno to Game Informer: not only of a new world, but also of oneself in the case of Frey, who at the beginning of the adventure will be alone and bewildered with her doubts, her fears and very low self-esteem. The idea was to build an anti-heroine that players could relate to; she is an imperfect character, that is she, whom she discovers the courage that she did not even believe she had while she relates to an equally imperfect world.

The subplots and secondary missions will serve precisely to develop Athia and Frey at the same time. The Tanta, in particular, should not be simple bosses to be killed to continue in the campaign: these witches, who represent the main virtues of the human soul such as Strength and Justice, have been corrupted by the Break and have begun to exert their influence. negative about the world. Aramaki showed Game Informer the encounter between one of them, the Tanta della Giustizia named Prav, and Frey: our protagonist initially refuses to kill her, but the fact that Prav is completely unbroken due to the Break and the dead desire drowning could force her to change her mind. To find out how their battle will end, however, we will have to wait until October.

The world of magic and loot

Forspoken, Praevost is a predominantly desert region All the trailers released so far have always worried us about the open world component: what good is a vast world if everything is the same and sparsely populated? The images we saw during State of Play and the Game Informer report, however, would appear to be encouraging. To begin with, Athia is a world divided into regions, real spheres of influence that belong to a witch and reflect her transformation after the Break: the more the region has been eroded by the mystical fog, the more it has been transformed and twisted. .

We thus pass from the green and sunny plains of Avoalet, where deer and other decidedly terrestrial animals graze, to the red and barren soils of Praenost, where the animals have assumed nightmare forms. The level of corruption from Break gives the creatures variations of colors and shapes that also reflect their danger, helping the player to understand whether to face them or run away.

Forspoken, Avoalet is a bucolic region because the Break hasn't transformed it yet In case you want to fight, Frey can access a plethora of spells, but we won't have to "equip" just a few: at any time you can press the L1 or R1 key to slow down the action, a bit like what happened in Final Fantasy VII Remake, and open an overlay ring menu where all the spells that Frey has learned are listed. The leaders of Luminous Productions therefore explained only a few of the different spells available, which actually seem very different from each other and suitable for every style of play.

Forspoken, the Shot spell allows you to shoot stone bullets at enemies Shot, for example, is the magic we saw in one of the first trailers, and which transforms ordinary pebbles into an infinite number of bullets that Frey can fire as if she were holding a submachine gun. Cluster Bolt, on the other hand, has a cooldown time, but deals electrical damage over a much larger area. Mitsuno's favorite spell would be called Naedre, and it would essentially be a magical homing missile that comes in handy when fighting overly moving targets.

Frey learns most spells automatically with the story, but others they must be unlocked by spending the mana points that are earned by defeating enemies or completing some secondary tasks. Mana points, however, also serve to enhance certain spells that have multiple levels of effectiveness, so at some point you will have to make a choice: learn new spells, or upgrade the ones he uses most often? Mitsuno explained that in this way the players will build their personal Frey - which probably can be reset in some way to experiment with other combinations - also because the fights can be approached in a very different way; there are spells that allow a head-on clash, and others that, in the form of traps, are suitable for the most astute players.

Forspoken, Frey's magic also serves to move around the world Some enemies, moreover, are vulnerable to certain elements rather than others, and exploiting these weaknesses helps to eliminate them much faster. Mitsuno, however, specified that the game does not require you to go down this path, but that the team is working on a very satisfying combat system in which it is important to dodge at the right moment and learn to stun enemies to land the final blows. If this makes you think of a Dark Souls or Elden Ring, perhaps you are not exaggerating: Game Informer talks about seemingly very challenging enemies, such as the Pitiless Arbiter, a gigantic medieval knight armed with a double ax who forces us to interpret his animations. to dodge in time, or Tanta Prav's Unjust Enforcerers, who attack Frey from all directions and protect themselves behind enchanted barriers.

Magic however is not only for fighting, but also for traveling. Deputy director Takefumi Terada explained that programmers have been very careful to build the world of Athia around what they call "magic parkour". Frey will almost immediately learn some spells, such as Zip, which allow her to move at great speed in 3D space using real momentum points. In a way, is it like flying - or darting between the skyscrapers of New York in Insomniac's Marvel's Spiderman? -but always remember that Frey has limited resources and that she can take fall damage, and possibly crash to the ground if she doesn't use certain spells to slow or cushion impacts. Between these mechanics and the care that the artists have placed in the creation of the environment and in the arrangement of obstacles and structures, it would seem that the exploratory component has been studied very well.

Forspoken, the world of Athia is full of secondary missions and subplots And Terada wanted to point out that exploration is an important part of Forspoken, if only because the world is chock full of secrets, collectibles and secondary missions. An interesting feature concerns the map, which however does not perfectly reflect the scenario: Frey will find one prior to the Break, therefore he will find ruins in the place of certain structures or unpleasant enemies where a village should have arisen. In the city of Cipal and in the so-called Refuges we will find instead NPCs ready to tell us the story of Athia or simply their business; maybe by helping them we will receive some rewards in exchange, such as bracelets or cloaks that represent Frey's equipment. There is also a craft system with which the protagonist can craft potions and consumables, as well as various accessories, but the best rewards are obtained by purifying the monuments of the Tanta or by challenging the optional dungeons known as Seat of Reflections, which are long and challenging and culminate in spectacular bosses guarding important treasures.

The preview published on Game Informer has finally defined better the experience we can expect from Forspoken. This third-person open world adventure would seem to promise really great things, but we must admit that the various game dynamics illustrated appear quite derivative. Not that this necessarily plays against the Square Enix title, beware. The exploration and fighting look really interesting, and if the story manages to be as engaging as you'd expect from the signatures involved, then it might be time to mark the new release date on the calendar.


Lots of different spells to fight and move The minds behind the narrative are respectable DOUBTS The open world features don't seem innovative at all Will they be able to meet the technical standards they set for themselves? Have you noticed any errors?

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