Piecing Together Forspoken's Story
While there have been several trailers for the upcoming action RPG, Forspoken, much of the title's plot has remained a mystery. We know that Frey Holland, an orphan trying to make her way in New York City, is abruptly transported to Athia, a mystical realm battered by a deadly blight. Unaffected by the land's spreading corruption, Frey strikes out to find her way home, learning magical combat abilities along the way. But how she gets to Athia, finds herself attached to a talking bangle, and discovers how to use magic is still a mystery.
Recently we sat down with Forspoken's developers, Luminous Productions, to figure out more of what's going on with Frey and how her journey through Athia will unfold. In our behind-the-scenes, hands-off game demo, we saw footage that shed light on some, but certainly not all, of our questions. This includes a look at a totally new area, an unnerving glimpse of the magical leader Tanta Prav, and a few clues about the game's heroine and her past.
The scene begins with a conversation between Frey and her sentient armband, Cuff. It's not exactly an amicable one. One of the game's writers, Allison Rymer, was quiet about the events that brought the two characters together but shared insights on their early relationship.
"Frey and Cuff have attachment issues, says Rymer. "And not like what you think. Frey can't get him off her wrist! No matter how hard she tries and, believe me, she tries — especially because Cuff can be a bit of a harsh critic and very demanding. And Frey doesn't like being told what to do. So, Cuff and Frey don't hit it off right out of the gate."
The contents of Frey and Cuff's argument are also illuminating. Frey is looking for a way to escape Athia, with all of her energy directed towards that goal. On the other hand (no pun intended), Cuff is desperate to get the reluctant hero to help the people of the realm, who are suffering under the effects of a catastrophic phenomenon called the Break. The talking adornment argues that Frey, with her ability to resist the Break and use magic, bears the responsibility of aiding Athia's people; but Frey isn't having it. It doesn't help that assisting the people, in this case, means attempting to murder a mad sorceress.
Cuff realizes he isn't getting his way and resorts to an underhanded – and narratively revealing – tactic. He taunts Frey with a hurtful comparison to her mother, an eye-opening line considering Frey is supposed to be an orphan. Somehow, Cuff knows something about where Frey comes from and her family, though the information doesn't seem to be good news. The apparent insult strikes a nerve and ultimately pushes Frey to visit Tanta Prav, who she hopes to convince to stop the Break.
Frey gets her wish and speaks to the ruler, but the plan goes awry. However, before things go south and Frey is thrown into a levitating ball of water to fight for her life, Tanta Prav mentions another interesting tidbit about the game's story. It seems Frey has already had an encounter with one of Athia's reigning magic-users, and it didn't go well. It's hard to tell exactly what happened – Tanta Prav speaks mostly in rhymes – but it's clear Frey came to blows with Prav's fellow ruler and may have committed unintended regicide. Judging by this conversation, it seems likely that players can expect to come up against the full force of a Tanta early in the game.
However, Forspoken is set to release in October, so players might have to wait until then to fill in the game's story gaps and figure out how Frey escapes Prav's "trial by water."