Square Enix had a “good laugh” at the reactions to last month’s Forspoken trailer

Square Enix’s Forspoken has been making the rounds for a while – the second game built on the Luminous Engine that debuted with Final Fantasy 15, it was at the forefront of the PlayStation 5 reveal when it was known as Project Athia and had various public previews ahead of its release early next year, but perhaps its biggest splash came after a trailer was posted on social media last month and met with a backlash online, with the dialogue becoming the focus of internet jokes.

“It was unexpected to see the reactions to the social media release,” Forspoken creative producer Raio Mitsuo told us after a recent chance to go hands-on with the game. “Basically, we used existing footage from previous trailers and put something up as a social media post. And yes, it went viral in a way – it wasn’t the direction we thought it would go! But I have to admit, some of the memes are in actually quite funny so i had a good laugh.

“But, you know, for us, it’s not something that concerns us. We obviously leave a lot of information on the table because we take dialogue and scenes out of context. Forspoken is a very narrative game. It’s a very story-driven game. We don’t we want to break down the experience in our marketing campaign. We’re very selective about what we use to create interest, and sometimes without that information about what led up to that moment or what the character’s state of mind was, we let audience has complete freedom to interpret the lines any way they want. It’s just one of those challenges that comes naturally when you’re trying to find ways to show the game without telling the full story, because we certainly don’t want to give that away.”

Forspoken certainly has more promise than some of the early looks might suggest, with the most recent preview opportunity putting a solid focus on gameplay and shying away from story details. The story itself is the result of a global development push, with writing done primarily in the West, while Luminous Productions handles the nuts and bolts of development from their headquarters in Tokyo.

“A global mindset is really at the core of what we wanted to do with Forspoken,” Mitsuno said. “We thought we had an opportunity to create a brand new IP, and obviously we want players all over the world to play it and enjoy it, and the best way to do that was to combine these two different areas of expertise, in a sense – we have the lineage of our development here at Square Enix with long-running franchises like Final Fantasy, and we have these amazing storytellers in the West that we’ve worked with, and we’re blessed to work with, like Gary Whitta and Amy Hennig.

“We worked with Gary and Amy during our pre-production phase. So very, very early on before we started development, we worked with Gary to create this big world of what would eventually become Forspoken. We had different phases both for Gary as for Amy – with Gary, it was more about big ideas. From there, as we went into pre-production, we worked with Amy who then took all those big ideas and helped us figure out which ones we wanted to to focus this game and make it a more manageable experience, and as we went into production and the baton was passed to Todd Stashwick and Alison Reimer who wrote the full story.”

While story sections were absent from our brief time with Forspoken, it’s still an extremely chatty game with frequent dialogue between main character Frey and Cuff, the sentient magical armband that acts as your guide to the game’s fantasy world, though this is something that proves to be customizable to suit the player’s taste.

“As for the conversations between Frey and Cuff, how often they talk to each other can be adjusted from the accessibility menu,” Forspoken co-director Takefumi Terada told us. “Obviously we’ve put a lot of effort into that dialogue and creating characters through the conversations that they have there, so we really want people to pay attention to that and hopefully people enjoy it. But at the same time, we understand that there’s a need depending on how you play the game. Some players may want to have slightly less voices to focus on the action at different points, so we let you do that too if you want.”

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