Everything you need to know about Square Enix’s Forspoken
Frey is about to enter a dangerous new world.
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, the third-person action RPG Forspoken sees a young woman from the “real world” named Frey transported to the dangerous magical land of Athia. There she gains a magical bracelet that gives her a vast array of powers. Why does Frey get wrapped up in this epic adventure? When will this game finally be released? What happens to Frey’s cat when she goes to Athia? Here’s everything we know about Forspoken from Square Enix’s Luminous Productions.
When is the Forspoken release date?
A trailer released during The Game Awards 2021 revealed a May 24, 2022 release date for Forspoken, but that has since changed multiple times. Square Enix first announced a delay to October 2022 before delaying it once again in July. The current Forspoken release date is January 24, 2023.
According to a tweet announcing the latest delay, “development is in its final polishing phase.” In the same tweet, Square Enix says it will have more information about the upcoming game in summer 2022.
Is there a Forspoken trailer?
There are now several trailers available for the game. The most recent “Worlds Collide” trailer debuted during Sony’s March 2022 State of Play.
It offers the most dazzling look yet of Athia’s landscapes and Frey’s powers as she battles a dragon, leaping and twirling through the air, and utilizes her magic to parkour and battle her way through the world. It appears to be a healthy mix of cutscenes, traversal, and combat.
Previously, an extensive story trailer set the premise of the game: 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” grants her various magical 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.
There’s also a two-minute video hosted by actor Ella Balinska from March 2021 that reveals more about the lead character she plays, Frey Holland (in vocal work and motion capture). Balinska says the story is about “a young woman in a beautiful but threatening world.”
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.” That minute-long video shows snippets of story cutscenes and glimpses at early versions of gameplay, which has begun to look better and better over time.
What is the Forspoken story?
The game’s official website notes that Forspoken is all about Frey Holland, a brave young woman from New York City who is suddenly thrust into the frightening world of Athia. Here’s the description:
Forspoken follows the journey of Frey, a young New Yorker transported to the beautiful and cruel land of Athia. In search of a way home, Frey must use her newfound magical abilities to traverse sprawling landscapes and battle monstrous creatures.
In some ways, Athia is your typical high fantasy setting with magic, but a devastating miasma called the “Break” corrupts everything it touches, including humans and animals. So much of the world has been rendered a dangerous wasteland full of mutated monsters and zombie-like husks that were once people. For some reason, Frey’s magic renders her immune to its corruption, which also makes her a source of wonder and fear for the average Athian.
Magical matriarchs called the Tantas formerly ruled Athia, with each embodying a different virtue and wielding a special power. However, some time ago, they all turned evil and spiteful. “The Tantas were a central theme of the game,” Creative Producer Raio Mitsuno wrote in a December 2021 PS Blog post, “so it’s not a stretch to say that all the art in Forspoken was designed around them — their virtues and their corruption, their beautiful, yet terrifying, appearances.”
We’ve seen Tanta Sila and Tanta Prav in previous trailers and other teasers. It seems likely that Frey will have to fight them directly, but it’s also unclear if the evil turn of the Tantas is somehow connected to the Break. Time will tell.
Who is in the Forspoken voice actor 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
- Johedy — Keala Settle
- Auden — Monica Barbaro
- Lisa — Michelle C. Bonilla
- Tanta Prav — Pollyanna McIntosh
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?
"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," studio head Takeshi Aramaki stated in a June 2020 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.
“Designed for PS5, Forspoken will harness the full power of the console and demonstrate Luminous Productions’ philosophy to provide a gaming experience like never before, fusing together the latest technology with creativity,” Square Enix also wrote in a March 2022 press release. That makes it pretty clear that it will never come to last-gen platforms.
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 in which Frey travels around using “magical parkour.” All of her magic spells are channeled through Cuff.
Game Informer has an exclusive reveal of 20 combat spells that offer a lot of variety in terms of elements and range.
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.
Are there Forspoken pre-order bonuses available?
Yes. Pre-ordering Forspoken on either PS5 or PC will get you some exclusive in-game cosmetic items. PS5 players get the No Limits Cloak, Symbol Combo Necklace, and Trigger Happy Nails, all themed around the PS5 console. PC pre-orders come with the Elite Cloak, Spectra Combo Necklace, and Overclock Nails, all of which seem to mimic the RGB glow typical of gaming PC components.
There’s also a Digital Deluxe Edition, which includes a digital artbook and soundtrack, in-game resources, and the prequel DLC In Tanta We Trust.
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