Forspoken was a divisive game, one of those that felt a little half-baked: There was lots to love, and an abundance of ideas, but it ultimately left many players unsatisfied and feeling like the whole thing didn't hang together (opens in new tab). The game's reception unfortunately led to its developer, Luminous, being unceremoniously snuffed-out (opens in new tab) and absorbed into the larger body of Square Enix, and in a new financial presentation by the publisher it's clear why.
"Reviews of Forspoken [...] have been challenging," said Square Enix in the presentation (opens in new tab) (via Eurogamer (opens in new tab)). "However, the game has also received positive feedback on its action features, including its parkour and combat capabilities, so it has yielded results that will lead to improvement of our development capabilities of other games in the future."
Yeah, I don't think Forspoken 2 is gonna happen either. And all the above was just setting the scene for the main problem, which is that Forspoken's "sales have been lackluster" and, alongside the under-performance of other titles, means Square Enix "see considerable downside risk to our FY2023/3 earnings." The publisher's chief accountant Atsushi Matsuda now reckons meeting this financial year's relatively modest targets "will not be easy."
Matsuda went on to say that "many of the new small and mid-sized titles we launched this year did not perform as well as we had expected." Alongside Forspoken, especially notable games here would be Babylon's Fall, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Tactics Ogre: Reborn, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion, and Octopath Traveler 2. Obviously success for a title like Octopath Traveler 2 is going to be measured on a different scale to, say, a mainline Final Fantasy, but it does seem like very little of Square Enix's 2022-23 slate has so far landed.
The publisher's hopes for the rest of 2023 rest on the anticipated Final Fantasy 16 (June 22), though given the hot mess that was Final Fantasy 15 I won't be getting my hopes up for anything except exquisitely detailed portions of ramen. What will also be troubling to investors is that Square Enix is having bother at the same time as it's looking to get more heavily involved in dubious Web3 shenanigans (opens in new tab) like the blockchain and NFTs, technologies that so far have met with little but antipathy from the mainstream gaming audience. Sad times, but don't worry: Final Fantasy Tactics will save us (opens in new tab).