After some delays, Square Enix’s upcoming game Forspoken is approaching its release date. In just a couple of months, the company’s latest open world action-RPG will hit shelves, bringing with it a new world full of adventure and intrigue. Players will strike out into the mystical land of Athia alongside Frey Holland and her talking bracelet Cuff, leaping from cliff to cliff and firing off powerful magic spells at enemies. With the corrupt Tantas and the mysterious Break threatening to destroy the world, Forspoken‘s heroes have their work cut out for them.
The same could be said for the developers. Although Forspoken is not a Final Fantasy title, it has close ties to the brand due to its development studio being Luminous Productions, the team formerly behind Final Fantasy 15. After FF15‘s mixed showing, this is Luminous Productions’ chance to redeem both itself and its signature Luminous Engine, a tool which has been in development for too long not to see some use. Thanks to their shared developer, there’s still a lot of Final Fantasy 15 DNA evident in Forspokenalthough some key differences keep them distinct.
Final Fantasy 15 and Forspoken Have Plenty In Common
The comparisons between Luminous Productions’ games will be inevitable, seeing as how they occupy the same genre space. Both are open world fantasy action-RPGs with modern-day elements. Their main characters are both chosen ones hailing from modern cities, although Noctis is a prince in the modernized fantasy world of Eos while Frey hails from real-life New York City. Along the way, both will be dealing with corrupt government institutions in the form of the Niflheim Empire and the Tantas. Even a world-ending force is growing in the background, with Final Fantasy 15‘s party confronting the truth of the Starscourge while Frey must contend with the effects of the Break.
However, therein lies the main difference between Final Fantasy 15 and Forspoken. Unlike Noctis, Frey is not accompanied by an adventuring party. Her only companion will be Cuff, who won’t be able to do much besides talk and possibly serve some other mystical function. In spite of their banter, the lack of human companions means Forspoken may take on a lonely atmosphere during times of travel. Frey is so magically empowered that she can cross Athia herself, while the Final Fantasy 15 The gang ends up treating their quest like a road trip complete with camping equipment and a car. For as similar as these two games sound, examination reveals an enormous gulf between their tones.
Forspoken May Be A Lonelier Take on Final Fantasy 15
Final Fantasy 15 received a lot of mixed reception throughout its lifespan, and came to a tragic end when its DLC was cut short. However, it does have its fans, and the biggest reason why is its core cast. The casual atmosphere of the adventure and the strong friendship built up through constant interaction has made Final Fantasy 15‘s party a fan favorite among series veterans. Even their initial boy band-esque clothing choices gradually give way to silly yet charismatic casual clothes. It feels like the inverse of Forspokenwhere Frey goes from her typical dress code to a hooded wizard cape, and strikes out on her own in a harsh and unforgiving wilderness.
Time will only tell what the full extent of the differences between these games are, but right now Forspoken gives off the impression of being Final Fantasy 15 without the latter’s playable group of friends. Frey and whatever other recurring characters crop up on her journey will need to work hard to impress players as much as FF15‘s crew of lovable bros did. When Forspoken releases in a couple of months, it should become evident what its identity is and where its strengths lie.
Forspoken releases on PC and PS5 on January 24, 2023.
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