Square Enix is best-known for legendary franchises like Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts. But there’s a brand new IP in development from the creators of Final Fantasy XV. Formerly titled Project Athia, that third-person action RPG is Forspoken. It definitely has some modern Final Fantasy vibes and some alt-reality magical shenanigans, but it seems less linear than something like FF15.
When will this innovative new experience be released? And what’s the story? Here’s everything we know about Forspoken from Square Enix’s Luminous Productions.
When is the Forspoken release date?
A sweeping “2022” release window was unceremoniously revealed via footnote during a PlayStation sizzle reel presented by Sony at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2021, and it was then reconfirmed during the March 2021 Square Enix Presents livestream. Then, the PlayStation Showcase 2021 livestream held in September clarified a “Spring 2022” window.
Barring any delays, that means the latest it could be released is June 17, 2022. However, it seems possible that we might see it in March or April.
Is there a Forspoken trailer?
There are now three trailers available for the game. The latest was shown during the PlayStation Presents 2021 livestream held in September 2021.
It offers a fairly comprehensive introduction to the game’s story: A young woman named Frey lives in New York City, but on a wintery night, she’s whisked away to a strange and magical land called Athia. While there, a magical cuff called “Cuff” allows her to wield all sorts of powers. She becomes the last hope for the people of Athia to take down a wicked matriarch.
Before that, a March 2021 Square Enix Presents livestream included a different trailer that confirmed the title of Forspoken.
The two-minute video, hosted by actor Ella Balinska, reveals that she plays the lead character named Frey Holland (in vocal work and motion capture). Balinska says the story is about “a young woman in a beautiful but threatening world.” It includes a sneak peek at a cutscene and title reveal.
The cutscene, less than 30 seconds long, shows Ella in some kind of run-down white building that’s dilapidated and overgrown — almost like the normal world suffered an apocalypse decades or centuries ago. She sees “a motherfucking dragon!” and Cuff tells her to hide. “Is it gone?” she asks as the creature flies away. “Yes, and we should leave this place as well,” Cuff responds.
The trailer ends with the Forspoken title reveal, followed by a montage of Ella using her powers to fight enemies with roots growing out of the ground and traverse a barren wasteland at great speeds. It certainly looks like an extension of Final Fantasy 15 Warp mechanics mixed with flow-based traversal like The Pathless.
Square Enix first announced the game during Sony's PlayStation 5 reveal back in June 2020. At that point, it was under the name “Project Athia.”
The minute-long video shows snippets of story cutscenes and glimpses at early versions of gameplay, which could be subject to change as Luminous Productions continues its development. It showcases Ella’s superhuman agility and druid-like powers as she effortlessly jumps from cliffs and battles hordes of fantastical beasts.
What is the Forspoken story?
Game Director Takeshi Aramaki wrote in a PlayStation blog post that Frey Holland is “an ordinary young woman who must harness her magical abilities to survive in a fantastical and dangerous land called Athia.” (This sort of explains the working title of “Project Athia.”)
“As Frey, you will embark on a thrilling, other-worldly adventure and face treacherous trials to unravel the mystery behind the unknown land of Athia and awaken something much more from within,” Aramaki says.
The March 2021 trailer shows her wearing normal-looking clothes and even tennis shoes, so we always knew she was from what we might as well call the real world. "In a world not her own," the debut trailer says via subtitles, "where resolve will be tested, truths will be questions, and devotions will be doubted, she will rise."
Who is in the Forspoken cast?
Here’s a quick rundown of the game’s cast we know about so far:
- Frey Holland — Ella Balinska
- Cuff — Jonathan Cake
- Tanta Sila — Janina Gavankar
- Johady — Keala Settle
- Auden — Monica Barbaro
Is Forspoken a PS5 exclusive game?
At launch, Forspoken will exclusively be available on the PS5 and PC. According to a footnote from a PS5 sizzle reel, it will remain that way “at least 24 months” after release (or two years), at which point Square Enix can release the game on other consoles.
Will Forspoken come to PS4?
Don't get your hopes up for a PS4 release. Back in June 2020, studio head Takeshi Aramaki revealed that the game is being developed with the PlayStation 5 in mind while staying true to Square Enix's legacy of hard-hitting fantasy titles.
"Project Athia is the culmination of our philosophy here at Luminous Productions to create completely new and fresh gaming experiences that fuse together the latest technologies with art," he stated in a PlayStation blog post. "With PS5, our vision truly comes to life, and with Project Athia players can look forward to being transported to a vast and detailed world filled with beauty and dismay." That’s a hard no. It seems likely that some more advanced mechanics might make it impossible for the game to run on PS4.
What is Forspoken gameplay like?
Game Director Takeshi Aramaki describes Forspoken as an “action RPG” in a March 2021 blog post, but it also seems like it will offer an open-world experience as well.
Square Enix president Yosuka Matsuda revealed that Forspoken will be an open-world game in an interview with Weekly Toyo Keizai (h/t ScreenRant) in August 2020. This isn't a complete shocker, as the game's teaser trailer appeared to tease its sprawling, fantasy-inspired environments.
"The game ... which we will release for PS5, is an open-world style game in which users can freely move around the game world," he said. Most of the movement will be thanks to Frey’s magical powers, it would seem. And combat is a mix of powers as well in a way that almost resembles Control but without the gun. One thing’s for sure: We can’t wait to see more.
Forspoken will launch in 2022.
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