Before its release date reveal, we were able to get an early, in-depth look at Forspoken, it’s world, characters, and gameplay systems. It’s a brand new fantasy world deeply rooted in magic. Frey, a 21 year old woman struggling to find herself is dropped into the world of Athia, and has to become their saviour against all odds, as a lethal miasma known as Break ravages the lands. Here’s what stood out to us the most:
Forspoken is a game about self-discovery, family, and tribe.
As an orphan growing up in New York, Frey Holland doesn’t quite understand who she is. She’s constantly causing trouble and finding herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, until she’s suddenly transported to Athia, where she must learn the ways of magic to survive the cruel world it’s become. Typically only relying on herself and her pet cat for company, Frey is forced into an unfamiliar situation with her newfound companion, Cuff, as they band together with the last remnants of humanity to fight back the Break.
The Initial Narrative Concept and World Building was contributed to by Amy Hennig and Gary Whitta.
Known mostly for her work as creative director and writer on the original Uncharted Trilogy, Amy Hennig is a well versed writer within the gaming industry. Alongside Gary Whitta of Star Wars: Rogue One fame, Hennig came up with a lot of the initial world concepts and ideologies that Athia would be shaped by. It’s matriarchal leadership, the prominence of magic, Frey as a character, all of these aspects have been touched on or influenced by Hennig and Whitta along the way. While they’ve since brought on separate talent in their absence, creative director Raio Mitsuno assures that the mark they left on Forspoken’s world and characters is definitely still there, and influences the way they develop the game’s narrative today.
The Open World was Designed Around the Magic Parkour System
What stood out to me the most during my short hands-off preview of Forspoken, was it’s traversal system suitably dubbed; Magic Parkour. As you’ve no doubt seen in previous trailers, Frey can use her magical abilities to zip across Athia at high speeds, propelling herself off of the ground, bouncing between buildings, and even using enemies as springboards to reposition in combat. When asked about the origins of the Magic Parkour system, Takeshi Terada described how it was something they knew they wanted to include after toying around with the idea. Athia was then built with this system in mind to make traversing this huge world fun, fluid, and stylish, accommodating for less skilled players while also having a high skill ceiling for those that might want to show off a bit more.
It Features A Combat System that Accommodates for all Styles of Play
When the spell wheel was pulled up during a brief snippet of combat, I was surprised by how many options for there were to choose from. Upon further discussing this with Terada-san, it was made clear that the spells and combat was designed to accommodate for many different styles of play. Combat has a heavy focus on positioning, but all of this depends on what kind of magic you want to utilise; do you want to play at a range? Jump in with close quarters spells? Or maybe even play slowly and deceptively with trap magic and defensive spells? There’s something for everyone here, and it should not doubt make for some varied and unique combat situations.
The Game Looks to be a Technical Marvel
When Forspoken was revealed as Project Athia at the PS5 reveal event, most people were blown away by the gorgeous visuals and ridiculously detailed particle effects, and rightly so. Since then, the game has only improved in its visual lustre and is looking to be one of the strongest showcases for what the PS5 is capable of. Couple this with a bevy of controller features only made possible by the DualSense, and Forspoken is beginning to sound like a true next gen experience in the way it handles immersion and it’s production values.
To learn more about Forspoken, check out our interview with creative director Raio Mitsuno and co-director Takeshi Terada here. Forspoken launches on May 24th, 2022 for PlayStation 5 and PC.