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Luminous Productions on Forspoken: Magic, Delays, and Learning from Final Fantasy

We caught up with a few members of Luminous Productions to learn more about the upcoming debuting outing.

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We have just published another preview of Luminous Productions debut and incoming outing, Forspoken, following a recent opportunity where we went hands-on with the game for a whole bunch of hours and got to check out four of the opening five chapters. To add to this, we also had a chance to chat with a few members of the development team, including head of studio and director Takeshi Aramaki, co-director Takefumi Terada, and creative producer Raio Mitsuno, to learn a little more about the game.


Gamereactor: How have you used the extra development time to improve Forspoken?

Aramaki: The game was originally planned to release in May, and then this got moved first of all to October, and this was really about the fact that we wanted to do what we could to push up the quality and add a lot of content. We've had about 11 sessions of user research for this game and we've really done what we can in development to take this feedback and iterate and improve upon what we've got.

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So, for example, we were adding game elements, we were saying let's put in some more boss enemies, let's put in some more general enemies here, let's add more dungeons, things like that. We were really working on putting more things into the game so that players would stay engaged and that they would really find it fun. We also worked on making sure it didn't just appeal to a very specific set of players, but that it had a broader appeal.

The second delay from October to January was much more about adjustments in terms of the line-ups and the upcoming slate of titles. We've used this time to tweak, fix bugs, make adjustments and sort of have that polish.

How have you designed the spellcasting suite so that it is intuitive and yet still has depth?

Terada: First of all, I just want to touch on the fact that magic is the real sort of fundamental point that we started from. We have experience of working on a Final Fantasy game, so for our next game, we really wanted to create something that focused on fantasy and magic, we didn't want to have something with a standard weapon like a sword or a spear or a gun, we just wanted to focus on the magic experience.

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So from there we then looked at how we could tie this concept into the narrative as well. So within Athia you have four realms and you have four different types of magic, so we delved a bit more into that as well and obviously as an action game the sense of distance is really important, so we thought which of these spells could we make into close-range spells, which can we have as long-range spells. And then we looked at tying the realms and types of magic even more closely together, so that it is very clear and easy to understand, and easy for the players to explore.


How does Frey's relationship with Cuff broaden and expand the narrative?

Mitsuno: Forspoken is a modern-styled fish-out-of-water story. We're taking a character, Frey, from our world and throwing her into this fantasy world where she doesn't know left from right. So, in order to help her ease into this world and figure this world out, we used Cuff as her companion in a sense, like they are allies, they are buddies but sometimes he's just a pain in the ass and they have a nice interaction, a nice chemistry going on. But, it's really that allyship. Frey is the only one that can go out into the world, but she has Cuff with her and that helps drive the narrative and he's an integral part of the story, which players will be able to enjoy when the game comes out. We just wanted that interaction between Frey and an inanimate object but that drives the narrative and it really helps develop the two characters.

How did you go about streamlining the crafting suite?

Takefumi: We are a team after all that has worked on RPGs before, so we considered these kinds of RPG elements very important to the identity of Forspoken. The concept is really about magic at the end of the day, so we looked at exploration leading to more discoveries of magic, more ways to strengthen and improve your magic, and I think one of the key characteristics of Forspoken is that the more the player explores the open world, the more they'll be able to strengthen and power up their magic.


Do you have plans for the Luminous Engine beyond Forspoken, or was it designed specifically for this game?

Aramaki: Luminous Engine is our in-house engine, and what that means, and one of the defining characteristics of an in-house engine like this, means that we can really quickly incorporate new elements and new features. For example, whether that's technologies from AMD, direct storage, we can incorporate things like this earlier than perhaps some other offerings out there. And obviously we do want to be able to use this to go forward and in the future, for other games perhaps, we want to continue expanding and developing and growing this engine. Having said that, Forspoken hasn't been released yet, so that's still our number one priority that we're focusing on at the moment.

What is one part of Forspoken that you are excited for fans to experience when it arrives in January?

Terada: I think for me it has to be the open world. That's something we've really put a lot of energy and a lot of effort and a lot of love into creating. So I really want players to get to grips with it, to use the magic parkour, to engage with the magic battles, and really explore Athia from corner-to-corner. There will be enemies, maybe unexpected ones in strange places, there will be new discoveries, there may even be some more relaxed comforting places, but anyway, that's what I really want people to have a chance to engage with and really get to grips with.


Thanks to Luminous Productions and Aramaki, Terada, and Mitsuno for speaking with us. You can read our latest preview of Forspoken right here, and can look forward to playing the full game when it debuts on PC and PlayStation 5 on January 24, 2023.


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REVIEW. Written by Magnus Groth-Andersen

Luminous Productions' RPG is a complicated case of well-executed mechanics matched up with pacing, graphical, and narrative problems.

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