Parting Shots: Forspoken

Takefumi Terada
Game: Forspoken
Occupation: Director, Luminous Productions
Career Highlights: Final Fantasy XV, Final Fantasy Type 0, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

At its release, Final Fantasy XV was unquestionably a shake-up to the core ideas and gameplay traditions of the franchise of which it was a part. However, the gameplay deviations in the saga of Noctis Lucis Caelum and his posse now feel almost pedestrian compared to Luminous Productions’ second project. The subdivision of Square Enix is taking its parent company’s trademark themes and giving them a modern twist with Forspoken, a new action RPG that centers around a young girl from the modern era who becomes a magic-wielding warrior in an alternate fantasy world. To learn more about the game, we pulled Forspoken’s co-director Takefumi Terada into our own alternate dimension and bombarded him with magic… er, questions.

How would you introduce Forspoken to someone who might not know much about it?

Takefumi Terada: The story of Forspoken starts off with a modern main character from New York named Frey Holland, who is transported to a fantasy world called Athia. Once she arrives there, magic is definitely a key factor in the game. It’s part magic parkour, which is a high-speed, high-energy traversal method, and there’s also 100 unique magic spells that players can utilize in battle. Then, there are also enemies such as the Tantas and cruel beasts that exist in the world, so all of these different elements revolving around magic.

While it looks to go in new directions, how does Forspoken also connect to the long history of Square Enix and its games?

TT: Magic has been a key component throughout the Final Fantasy series, and that’s something that’s definitely been carried on in Forspoken. It has impacted the way the battle system works, and the entire game system. Through this kind of magic component that’s been present throughout Final Fantasy titles historically, the team really wanted to create a brand-new game experience. We feel like everything that Final Fantasy fans have enjoyed has been carried on and is present in a way in Forspoken as well, so rest assured that that’s something you’re going to enjoy if you’ve been a longtime Final Fantasy or Square Enix fan.

One of the biggest things that stands out to us is the game’s style of combat. How would you describe it, and what does it offer that other action RPGs don’t?

TT: We really crafted Forspoken’s combat so that it goes hand-in-hand with the progression of the story. In the beginning, Frey doesn’t know any magic at all, and what she learns in the earlier stages of the game is more mid-range attacks. But then, as she progresses in the game, she learns fire-based magic that’s closer in range, and even further along water-based magic that’s more of a long-range magic spell. And so, the progression of the types of magic spells that you can use in battle really goes hand in hand with Frey’s growth in the story and as a character. And that’s something that really sets the battles of Forspoken apart from other games.

Another trademark of Forspoken is the magic parkour you mentioned earlier. What was the inspiration behind that traversal system?

TT: When we started with this concept, we wanted to take actions that are present in the real world like parkour, and enhance them with magic in a sense. We really researched the actions and sort of speed that parkour in reality entails, and then we added magic to that so that the speed was much higher, and you can jump much higher, and things like that. The best thing about it is that we built the world of Athia around this whole traversal system. Our aim was to create an environment that can become a playground, where simply using magic parkour would really feel fun.

If, like Frey, you found yourself transported to Athia, how would you deal with what awaits there?

TT: If someone from the modern day were transported to a fantasy world, how would they react? What would await us there? Those are the kinds of things we all thought about as we were designing and developing the game. So, I think that Frey is a pretty exact reflection of how I would react if I were transported into a fantasy world. Or at least, I like to think so. I’m not really sure what would happen to me. [laughs]

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