During this morning’s PlayStation Showcase, Square Enix unveiled a new trailer for Luminous Productions’ upcoming fantasy action-adventure game Forspoken. While that trailer is great—and more on that in a moment—perhaps the more exciting thing is the reveal of a star-studded cast and crew that includes, among other big names, Amy Hennig as part of the writing crew.
Hennig is an award-winning game writer and director best known for her role at the helm of the first three Uncharted games, but her history goes back a lot further. She wrote and directed the Soul Reaver games and Legacy of Kain: Defiance, also served as game director on Jak 3, and in her earlier days, worked as a designer and artist on Michael Jordan: Chaos in Windy City. In 2018, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards, with GDC general manager Katie Stern rightly saying that “her work exemplifies what good game narrative can be, with pathos, humor, suspense and energy.”
When it comes to Forspoken, Amy Hennig worked with Gary Whitta (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) in developing the story concept, with Allison Rymer (Shadowhunters) and Todd Stashwick (Devil Inside) taking the scriptwriting reins. On the casting side of things, Forspoken includes the likes of Jonathan Cake (Stargirl), Janina Gavankar (True Blood), Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman), and Monica Barbaro (Top Gun: Maverick), in addition the previously-announced Ella Balinska in the starring role, while Bear McCreary (God of War (2018) and TV series The Walking Dead) and Garry Schyman (Bioshock series) take charge of the score.
Basically, Luminous and Square Enix are pulling out the big guns for Forspoken. If this new trailer is anything to go by, it’s a bet that could pay off big time, with a mix of breathtaking fantasy and contemporary drama as the game moves between the magical world of Athia and present-day New York to tell the story of a “directionless, gritty yet street smart young woman who has persevered despite her rough upbringing”.
The trailer also gives a good look at the magic-infused combat and traversal that will be central to Forspoken. Since its first reveal, I’ve been describing it as a sort of fantasy spin on Tomb Raider (perhaps “fantasy Uncharted” is the better comparison, now?), and every new trailer makes it look more and more like it fits that bill. Parkour will play a big role in how you move around Athia’s vast landscapes, and magic that helps you flit about will surely come in handy.
I was already pretty excited for Forspoken, but knowing that Amy Hennig is involved has taken that to another level. Her way of crafting complex, compelling characters and putting humanity at the centre of even the most over-the-top blockbusters is a rare talent in this industry, and I have no doubt that the story that’s being told here will benefit greatly from her guiding hand.
Forspoken is in development for PlayStation 5 and PC, with a release planned for northern spring / southern autumn 2022.