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What we know about Forspoken, Square Enix's next big action-RPG

Forspoken
(Image credit: Square Enix)

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 next year. We also know a little about its central character and the world she'll be exploring. It's also possible we get a longer look at Forspoken very soon—Square Enix has its own show as part of the E3 2021 schedule, on June 13.

Here's the first trailer for Forspoken, along with everything we've learned from it.

What is Forspoken's release date?

2022. That's as specific a release window as we have. And given the delays many big games have suffered throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we wouldn't be shocked if Forspoken ends up slipping to 2023.

Here's the Forspoken debut 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.

In the trailer, we see Frey has a golden, magic-looking bracer on her arm, and intertwining gold cables also play into the game's logo and some of the abilities we see her use in a montage at the end of the video. There's clearly a theme, there.

The first thing we see of Frey in the trailer is her sneakers, and her incredulous reaction a bit later—"Is that a motherfucking dragon?"—might be hinting at an "isekai" story here, a popular genre in Japan where characters are transported to a fantasy world. Y'know, like Space Jam.

I'd bet that Frey is living a normal life before somehow being pulled into this fantasy world and getting some cool magic powers.

This bit of text from the official site pretty much seals it: 

IN A WORLD NOT HER OWN

WHERE RESOLVE WILL BE TESTED

TRUTHS WILL BE QUESTIONED

AND DEVOTIONS WILL BE DOUBTED

SHE WILL RISE.

What will Forspoken play like?

We only get a few seconds of gameplay at the end of the Forspoken trailer, but a few things are clear: 

  • 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
  • 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

Square Enix hasn't said much about Forspoken, but did confirm it's going to be open world, back when it was still known as Project Athia. Just from a few seconds of footage, 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.

Seriously, check out this freaky bear

Forspoken bear

(Image credit: Square Enix)
When he's not 50 hours into a JRPG or an opaque ASCII roguelike, Wes is probably playing the hottest games of three years ago. He oversees features, seeking out personal stories from PC gaming's niche communities. 50% pizza by volume.