Forspoken (formerly known as ‘Project Athia’) is an in-development action RPG from Square Enix and Luminous Productions, coming exclusively to PS5 and PC next year.
First announced in 2020, Forspoken sees players taking on the role of Frey Holland, played by Charlie's Angel's Ella Balinska. Frey's a young New Yorker who must harness her newfound magical powers to survive what Square Enix calls a "thrilling, otherworldly adventure". Here, she'll attempt to make her way home from the beautiful - but cruel - land of Athia, where she's been transported.
From what we've seen so far, Forspoken is stunning, and it's no surprise given the game is being developed to take advantage of the PS5's technical capabilities. That means you can expect ray tracing and a seamless open world to explore, as well as some cool uses of the DualSense controller.
Interested to find out more? Read on for everything we know so far about Forspoken.
Forspoken: cut to the chase
- What is Forspoken? A new action RPG from Square Enix
- When is Forspoken coming out? January 24, 2023
- What platforms will Forspoken release on? PS5 and PC
Forspoken: release date and platforms
Forspoken will release on January 24, 2023, for PlayStation 5 and PC, making it a PS5 console exclusive.
The game was originally scheduled to launch in May 2022, but was delayed by five months so its devs could have sufficient time to polish the RPG. Having confirmed it'd arrive on October 11, this was then delayed again in July as announced via a Twitter post, pushing it back into next year.
Although the game is launching as a PS5 console exclusive, that doesn't mean we won't see Forspoken land on Xbox at a later date. A 'new and upcoming games' trailer (opens in new tab) posted by the PlayStation YouTube account in December 2020, showing footage from a collection of PS5 games, shows a tagline under footage of Forspoken (or as it was known at the time, 'Project Athia') stating that it is "not available on other consoles until at least 24 months after release date".
So it looks like Forspoken is a timed PS5 console exclusive, though don't expect it to land on Xbox Series X/S until at least January 2024. While Forspoken's release on Xbox isn't off the cards, don't expect Forspoken to release on PS4 or Xbox One, as it's being developed to take advantage of current-gen hardware.
Forspoken: editions and pre-order bonuses
Forspoken is available to pre-order now. The standard edition for both PS5 and PC costs $69.99 / £64.99 / AU$114.95 and comes with a bunch of pre-order bonuses that you can check out below.
Pre-order your digital copy of #Forspoken now to receive the following bonuses:🎮 PS5✨ No Limits Cloak✨ Symbol Combo Necklace✨ Trigger Happy Nails✨ Crafting Starter Kit💻 PC✨ Elite Cloak✨ Spectra Combo Necklace✨ Overclock Nails pic.twitter.com/JbBciXsLNmDecember 26, 2021
A Deluxe Edition is also available for $94.99 / £89.99 / $152.95 and includes both the pre-order bonus content and additional content, including a digital mini artbook and mini soundtrack. Check out everything that's included in the Forspoken Deluxe Edition below:
The #Forspoken Digital Deluxe edition includes:✨ Rare Resource Kit (PS5 only)✨ Mini Artbook (Digital Download)✨ Mini Soundtrack (Digital Download) ✨ Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust prequel story DLC (with early access) pic.twitter.com/qIoZtc0jRLDecember 11, 2021
Game Informer Gameplay
Game Informer has posted footage of just under 10 minutes of 4K Forspoken gameplay. The footage offers a look at something called a “sideways city” in the game, giving a good look at the traversal and combat.
State of Play March 2022 ‘Worlds Collide’ trailer
In a March 2022 State of Play, a fresh Forspoken trailer was released, showing some of the enemies protagonist Frey will face in the game and the fast-paced magical combat she’ll use to defeat them. The trailer even gives us a little look at how Frey will be able to use her magic to traverse water.
The Game Awards 2021 trailer
A new trailer for Forspoken was revealed during The Game Awards 2021. The latest trailer shows off more of the game's story and action-packed gameplay, but also included the game's release date of May 24, 2022. This has since, however, been delayed to October 11 2022.
PlayStation Showcase 2021 trailer
During the PlayStation Showcase on September 9, 2021, a new trailer gave fans a bit more insight into the game and its story, as well as protagonist Frey Holland. Check out the new trailer below.
AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution Partner Showcase
Although not what you'd expect from a typical Forspoken trailer, an AMD FSR trailer all about Forspoken was released in June 2021.
The primary aim of the trailer was to show how the new game will put AMD's graphics tech to use, but it also features some gameplay snippets from scenes we've already seen in previous trailers. One shows Frey making her way through a forest with her magical abilities, as well as fighting with a bear-like monster.
Official title announcement trailer
This trailer for Forspoken revealed the game's official title and its targeted release window of 2022. This trailer gave us a sneak peek of Forspoken's fast-paced, frenetic traversal and the gorgeous world it takes place in, along with some of Frey's magical abilities. Check it out below:
Forspoken (or as it was called then 'Project Athia') was announced during Sony's Future of Gaming 2020 showcase with a teaser trailer lasting just over one minute long.
The trailer gave us a very brief glimpse at Frey using some of her magical abilities, the world of Athia itself and some of the creatures we expect to encounter. Check it out below:
Forspoken: story and setting
In Forspoken, players will step into the shoes of Frey, a young New Yorker who is transported to the beautiful and cruel land of Athia. In order to find her way home, Frey must use and hone her newfound magical abilities to traverse sprawling landscapes and battle monstrous creatures.
Giving some insight into Frey, creative producer Raio Mitsuno described her as a “smart but still slightly immature” 20-year-old woman living in New York who, having had a difficult upbringing, “doesn’t trust the world much” and uses sarcasm and humor to deflect from her vulnerability.
He called her “a good person at heart” who is desperate to escape to New York. It’s at this point that Frey is transported to the mysterious world of Athia. Here, her arrival sets off a chain of events and the game’s main story begins, following Frey’s journey as she tries to find a way back home and learns to wield magic.
Getting from Frey to Z in style. 👍🏾 pic.twitter.com/iLUKCBYWunSeptember 22, 2021
We also got a look at a talking bracelet in the trailer and it turns out it’s called Cuff. Cuff is another character in the game and while Mitsuno said it’ll be a while before we learn more about them, Cuff will be important to the game and the story, guiding Frey through her journey. Frey and Cuff are described as “two peas in a pod”, both saying “whatever they think.”
As a result, they’re “constantly bickering” and will make small talk during Frey’s journey. As far as Athia itself is concerned, it was a continent once at peace but now teeters on the brink of destruction, ruled by figures known as the Tantas who were beloved but have become oppressors.
Two Tantas have been confirmed so far. One is Tanta Sila. Described as one who “lives for the battlefield” and has “immense physical strength”, she is in charge of Athia’s defense. The other is Tanta Prav, the "Tanta of Justice" who is "a callous executioner with a warped sense of justice, trusting only in her own judgment.” Each of the Tantas has been designed “with a specific virtue in mind” and Frey will have to face off against them in the course of her journey.
Details on Forspoken's gameplay are still thin, but there have been some details we've been able to glean from the trailers we've seen so far and from what Square Enix has confirmed.
Trailers for Forspoken (and its showcase (opens in new tab) at Tokyo Game Show) have shown us that the game’s protagonist Frey will be able to use magic, and the game’s co-director Takefumi Terada said Frey’s learning to use “a wide variety of spells” will be a big part of the story.
Magic is also a key part of gameplay in terms of combat and traversal. Players will be able to use magic to directly attack enemies or set traps for them as well as perform “magic parkour”, covering huge distances over Athia, with Terada saying it “captures what makes our style of development at Luminous Productions so special.“
Controls aren’t going to be especially complicated by the sounds of it, as Terada also said that they want as many people as possible to enjoy the game. As such, it’ll only take one button to use magic to attack or to use parkour skills, while different button combinations will allow for different kinds of magic.
Forspoken: news and rumors
Forspoken delayed into 2023
Square Enix has announced via Twitter that Forspoken will be delayed into January 2023. While it confirmed that "all game elements are now complete, and development is in its final polishing phase", this was referred to as a "strategic decision". You can see the full statement below:
An update on #Forspoken. pic.twitter.com/sRLvXX2kjSJuly 6, 2022
Improvements being made based on fan feedback
Following the delay of Forspoken, the game’s development team has said it’s listening to fan feedback and adjusting the game based on it. In a preview with Game Informer (opens in new tab), creative producer Raio Mitsuno touched on feedback that’s been received around dialogue between protagonist Frey and her companion Cuff.
“There’s been some commentary about the frequency of banter between Frey and Cuff when you’re out in the world,” creative producer Raio Mitsuno tells Game Informer. “Those kinds of things we’re looking at in terms of fine-tuning the frequency, making sure that it’s not to the point where it feels overwhelming, but we want to make sure it’s timed nicely. Where it doesn’t feel like there’s too much silence when you’re playing out in the vast world.
“But we don’t want it to be too much,” continues Mitsuno. “You know, you don’t want it to be noise, obviously. So, we are taking a lot of feedback and making sure we’re adjusting things to make sure that it’s kind of the optimal experience.”
In-game purchases revealed by ESRB rating
Forspoken has received its ESRB rating which gives us a few more details about the game ahead of its release. The game’s ‘M’ rating was posted to the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s official website (opens in new tab), citing the game’s violence and use of strong language as reasons for that rating.
Interestingly, the listing also flags the existence of in-game purchases in Forspoken, in both the PS5 and PC versions. It doesn’t actually go into any detail over what these in-game purchases will be so we’ll have to wait for further confirmation from Square Enix before we can be sure.
Bestselling fantasy author may have been approached to write it
Brandon Sanderson, the fantasy author behind the Mistborn series, may have been approached to write the lore of Forspoken.
According to PCGamesN (opens in new tab), in a Q&A session, Sanderson stated that Square Enix had previously approached him to work on a new "fantasy IP". Sanderson said that while the offer was "tempting", he had to turn it down because he had "just picked up a video game project that I still can’t even announce”.
The project Sanderson was offered to write on by Square Enix apparently had similarities with Sanderson's Mistborn series (which has been noted by fans (opens in new tab)) and had been recently revealed at the time, suggesting it was likely Forspoken.
Visual modes and DualSense features
As with many PS5 games, Forspoken will have a few visual modes to choose from. Creative producer, Raio Mitsuno, told Ungeek (opens in new tab) there’ll be three in total. In Graphics Mode, the game will run in 4K at 30fps, while in Performance Mode, the resolution will drop to 1440p but the frames per second will target 60. There will be a third mode with the option to turn on ray-tracing but the resolution and frame rates in that mode weren’t revealed.
As far as making use of the DualSense, director Takeshi Aramaki said: "We really have included a lot of unique PlayStation 5 hardware features when we were developing this game. For example, using the adaptive triggers, we added tactile feedback when you’re using the different types of magic. We’ve got lots of different magic spells you can use in the game, and the planners and designers sat down and worked out how to differentiate the feedback you get from the controller for each of the magic spells."
Closer look at the Tantas
After revealing Tanta Sila during Tokyo Game Show, a recent PlayStation blog post (opens in new tab) has gone into greater detail on the former rulers of Athia and Frey’s primary foes. According to the post, these once beloved rulers turned into aggressive and hateful oppressors. When Frey faces them she’ll find that each embodies “a different virtue and possesses a unique strength.”
Having already introduced Tanta Sila, the post introduces Tanta Prav, who can be seen in the recent trailer at December 2021's The Game Awards. Tanta Prav is the “Tanta of Justice”. Before the break, the post says, “she judged right from wrong with her uncanny ability to perceive untruths and brought order and peace to Athian society. Now she is a callous executioner with a warped sense of justice, trusting only in her own judgment.”
Tokyo Game Show 2021
Forspoken may have skipped E3 2021, but it appeared during Square Enix’s October Tokyo Game Show presentations. The game received its own showcase during the Tokyo Game Show, during which members of its development team were able to shed a little more light on what we saw in the most recent trailer.
Co-director Takefumi Terada and creative producer Raio Mitsuno offered more details on the game's story, the world of Athia and how central a role magic will play in the game. They also touched on the Tantas, one of whom, Tanta Sila, is seen battling Frey in the trailer. The official Forspoken Twitter account posted a clearer image of the Tanta of strength, which can be seen below:
"Tanta Sila is the strongest and most formidable of all the Tantas".@Janina breathes life into the dictatorial Tanta Sila, who is known for indiscriminately crushing any person or thing that stands in her way. What does she have in store for Frey? pic.twitter.com/nOPzBN3YKISeptember 14, 2021
Big names behind it
Forspoken's writing team certainly gives us confidence in the game's story. Gary Whitta (who co-developed Rogue One) acts as story team lead, while other members of the team include Amy Hennig (who wrote the original Uncharted trilogy), Allison Rymer (who previously worked on Shadowhunters) and Todd Stashwick (who stars in 12 Monkeys).
In addition to a great writing team, Forspoken's got two great composers behind it too. Bear McCreary (who has composed God of War and The Walking Dead) and Garry Schyman (composed for BioShock) will be transporting our ears to Athia - and we can't wait.