A new chapter in the history of Luminous Productions (Final Fantasy XV) and Square Enix, under the careful supervision of Gary Whitta (Rogue One).
At a press event, Square Enix showed the opening of the upcoming RPG from Luminous Productions (the studio behind Final Fantasy XV), Forspoken, and permission to exchange a few words with the development team. In the game, the protagonist Frey Holland is a New Yorker of about 20 who wants nothing more than to leave the city for a change of air and life. He is the kind of person who is not thought to have inner demons, always ready to get a laugh from anyone. And also for this reason it is surprising to see how much his story in Forspoken starts from the bottom.
The duality of Forspoken –
Then, suddenly, Frey finds himself making quadruple flips on top of a purple-lit mountain, in the harsh fantasy world of Athia, with no explanation of how it got there. IS a change of tone which leaves one baffled – as if the game were secretly a sequel to Drakengard. Raio Mitsuno, creative director of Forspoken, explains that this contrast is a fundamental part of the story.
“One of our main ideas when we started this project was the idea of duality,” reveals Mitsuno. “We created a fantasy world full of magic, but we want players to experience it through the lens of a modern perspective. And this is where Frey comes in. She is a reflection of ourselves, of how we would react in this situation ”.
In the world of Athia –
The goal is certainly achieved, also thanks to the fact that Frey spends a good part of her time screaming bad words every time she sees something paranormal pass in front of her, which is exactly how an ordinary person would react. In Athia’s world, there is a dark power that lurks in the air, turning humans and animals into monsters as soon as they breathe enough. However, Frey is not only immune to these effects, but is also able to use them to her advantage to explore the vasto open world by Athia. Takefumi Terada, co-director of Forspoken, has a curious name for Frey’s unique talents.
“Parkour magico”, explains Terada. “It allows you to have a fun and highly fast crossing on any seabed. The fantasy aspect is what makes it unique. It leverages players’ imaginations when climbing a vertical cliff or whizzing around. There are also a lot of additional skills that will expand Frey’s abilities that we haven’t shown yet ”.
After Final Fantasy XV –
It is clear from the start that the world of Forspoken is extremely ambitious, no doubt more so than Final Fantasy XV, the previous title of Luminous Productions. The team was very transparent about the not-so-enthusiastic welcome given to thelast numbered chapter of Final Fantasy and how he made sure the same doesn’t happen with his new title.
“After the release of Final Fantasy XV, we looked at our weaknesses and a common criticism was reserved for the narrative aspect of the game,” explains Mitsuno. “For our next project, we wanted to have global appeal and we thought the best way to do that was to take some creative mind from the West who had worked on so many fantastic projects, so that we could write this kind of story together ”.
Da Star Wars a Forspoken —
Luminous Productions spared no expense in this regard, securing talent like the co-sceneggiatore di Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Gary Whitta, and creative director of the original Uncharted trilogy, Amy Hennig, during pre-production. Whitta crafted Forspoken’s original narrative concept, while Hennig made sure the story matched the gameplay. Neither Whitta nor Hennig are actively working on Forspoken right now, though, as the lead writer position is now in the hands of Allison Rymer (Chasing Life, Shadowhunters) and Todd Stashwick. Working with external collaborators was something new for Luminous Productions, but Mitsuno is happy with the results.
“We have always worked with Japanese staffwhether it was internal or external, so working with a Western team was new to us, ”says Mitsuno. “But it’s been great to collaborate with great people like Todd, Allison and, also looking back at the project’s beginnings, Amy Hennig and Gary Whitta. We have incredible talents who are introducing their thoughts and ideas into history ”.
Frey or Noctis? The fights –
Despite the change in the writing of the story, the combat system leaves no doubts: Forspoken is a 100% Luminous Productions title. For example, Frey has so many abilities with which she can get close to the enemy during confrontations, just like Noctis in Final Fantasy XV. But, according to Terada, this similarity is not necessarily intended.
“We didn’t set out to create a combat system that was a direct evolution of that of Final Fantasy XV,” comments Terada. “I’ve seen comments from some people who noticed the similarities between the two games, but there was nothing intentional on our part. We have put a lot of care in the creation of the interface and, in general, in the feeling of magic of the combat system, which will be something unique to Forspoken ”.
Final Fantasy x Life is Strange —
Of course, this isn’t the only online speculation Luminous Productions has spotted. The contrast in tone between reality and fantasy scenery pervades the Forspoken trailers, which has led fans to speak of the game as a cross between Final Fantasy and Life is Strange. Perhaps this is simply due to Frey being a girl with superpowers, but Mitsuno doesn’t seem to have a position on this analogy.
“I wouldn’t say it’s right or wrong,” explains Mitsuno. “Of course, having worked on Final Fantasy, it’s likely that people will always associate us with that series. But we’re going our own way with Forspoken, in terms of tone and story. I think, when people play the final game, they will feel like something fresh and not expected from our team “.
For now, it is not known whether the game’s strange tone is intentional or a consequence of the fact that there are still pieces of the story missing to fully understand it. However, Frey’s story will be one worth listening to and playing when Forspoken is available for PS5 and PC. from 24 May 2022.
Written by Kyle Campbell for GLHF
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