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Project Athia becomes Forspoken, and here's everything we know about Square Enix's new fantasy adventure

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Forspoken, previously known by its working title Project Athia is an upcoming fantasy adventure from Square Enix and developer Luminous Productions, a studio formed from the Final Fantasy 15 development team. It's a story-led action game in a gorgeous fantasy world. 

Sony presented the game’s first trailer at the PS5 reveal event on 11 June, but it wasn't until Square Enix's Spring Showcase that we got the real title and more details. The main character is Frey, played by British actress Ella Balinska. She describes the character as "a girl who lost her way - both figuratively and literally." 

Forspoken will be released in 2022 for PS5 and PC.

What is Forspoken?

(Image credit: Square Enix)

It’s an open-world action-adventure game set in a fantasy world filled with snowy peaks, dense forests and monsters that breathe fire. You control an agile young woman called Frey who’s exploring a “world not her own”. Expect both combat and platforming, and Luminous Productions promises it will be story-led. The tale will be “filled with beauty and dismay”. There’s a heavy emphasis on the natural world, with plenty of hints that you’ll be both playing with and fighting the elements throughout your journey.

The studio began life in March 2018, when Square Enix siphoned staff from the Final Fantasy 15 team into a separate group after the PC version shipped. Luminous, which is led by Final Fantasy 15’s lead programmer Takeshi Aramaki, handled the Stadia edition of Final Fantasy 15, but Forspoken is its first standalone game.

Forspoken trailer 

This is the latest trailer for Forspoken, featuring its freshly revealed name and star Ella Balinska.   

Forspoken's release date and platforms

Forspoken will launch on PS5 and PC. Sony has got the exclusive on the console front, so it won’t be coming to either Xbox One or the Nintendo Switch. However, Sony has now revealed that Forspoken is only a PS5 console exclusive for two years.

new video from Sony that highlighted Forspoken among other upcoming PS5 games includes this in the fine print: "In development for PS5. Also available on PC. Not available on other consoles until at least 24 months after release date."

The game is currently due for release on both platforms in 2022. 

Forspoken gameplay details

What we've seen so far of Forspoken suggests Frey will be a particularly athletic hero. The main character can run fast and leap great distances, crossing canyons by hopping between spires of rock. When she jumps, you can see grass stream from her feet mid-air, which suggests her abilities are somehow augmented by the ground beneath her.

The same theme applies in combat. The trailer shows her coming face to face with three wolf-like enemies, patches of orange light – possibly fire – showing through their wiry frames. The woman summons roots from the ground, which swallow one of the wolves. Again, the suggestion is that you’ll be harnessing the natural world to solve problems. 

The trailer above shows much larger enemies too, including a giant, towering eye held up by what looks like a thick tree trunk, and a massive dragon-like creature. This doesn’t guarantee set piece boss battles, but it certainly suggests they’re likely.

Forspoken story details

(Image credit: Square Enix)

"As the first video game I’ve worked on, it’s remarkable to see the incredible world and story of Forspoken come together, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy," said Balinska what she's seen of Forspoken so far. 

"Frey as a character is real, she’s raw, she’s a girl who lost her way - both figuratively and literally - and is a character I immediately connected with, as I feel many people around the world will too when they set off on this adventure."

As a narrative-driven game, it sounds like the story will be key to Frey's journey in Forspoken. Luminous has revealed very little – but enough for us to make some educated guesses. Firstly, our hero is wearing sneakers that look suspiciously like a pair you’d find in the shops today. We also know she’s in a “world not her own”, so we might guess she’s been transported from our own world into a fantasy realm. But she doesn’t appear frightened. "She will rise” is one of the game’s taglines: our hero is going to be learning as she goes, and we’d expect a tale of personal growth. 

Other than that, we know very little. Luminous says that "truths will be questioned and devotions will be doubted”, and that Forspoken is “twisted, tempestuous, and forbidding”. We can’t make much of that, but we’re certainly eager to find out more. 

What we know is that the team writing the story is being led by Gary Whitta, who has written for, among other games, Prey and The Forspoken writing team comes from across “the worlds of film, tv, games, and fantasy literature”, he said on Twitter.

But what about Final Fantasy 16?

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Fans were hoping Square Enix would use the PS5 reveal event to show a first glimpse of the long-awaited Final Fantasy 16, after rumors swirled that the studio was preparing for an announcement. Instead, we got Forspoken. So what does that mean for the future of the Final Fantasy franchise? 

It’s hard to say, but likely: very little. Remember, this team was pulled off the Final Fantasy games, and is therefore unlikely to be leading any development of Final Fantasy 16. 

Forspoken news 

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Whenever new information comes to light, we’ll update this page, so make sure you check back regularly for all the latest news.

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