Forspoken may have landed well for some, but many others found the narrative lacking, and Frey and her Cuff grating in their constant chatter.
A curious reaction, considering the game is meant to have had some of the industries best storytellers work on it. What happened with the story however has now had some more light shed on it, thanks to a recent interview.
According to Gary Whitta, who worked on the original concept for Forspoken, the story that he and his “hand-picked” writers room pitched to Square Enix and Luminous Productions is practically nothing like what we got in the final game.
Whitta broke down what his experience was working on the game, and revealed that he, and likely Amy Hennig, may not have had the impact players thought they did.
Whitta originally began working on Forspoken after being approached by Square Enix to narratively and conceptually flesh out a “germ of an idea,” to use Whitta’s phrasing.
After sending Square Enix what he’d come up with, and getting a positive reaction, Square asked him to continue working on the game and to run a writers room, to even further develop the story.
Whitta then got to pick writers he “admired” across games, film and television, to come together and work on the story.
After they had all presented their work to Square Enix, it’s here where things become more like what we know Forspoken to be.
“Some months after that, they came back to me and one of the other writers and said, ‘We’re going to start over and completely reboot the story, we want it to be this now.’
And what they pitched us was something that’s very closer to what they actually have now which is about a girl from the real world that gets sucked into this fantasy world.
That wasn’t anything; the version we did was nothing like that. They [Square Enix] said ‘We want this girl from the real world to get sucked into this fantasy universe.”
Whitta also says that Square Enix wanted him and the other writer to then actually write the game, to which they both declined due to scheduling reasons.
So it seems that even though a PlayStation Blog article coming from Luminous Production’s creative director calls both Whitta and Hennig “some of the talented writers behind this game,” it appears their work as writers ended up so far behind the project that it wasn’t used.
With the exception of Forspoken’s world being called “Athia,” which Whitta points out is the only thing he knows he came up with that has made it into the final game.
What makes that September 2021 article even more curious is that Whitta frames the timing of when Square Enix approached him as “five or six” years ago, and only recounts “some months” passing between the conclusion of the writers room, and Square’s pitch to reboot the story.
Perhaps at the time, there was still more of Whitta and the rest of the writer’s room’s original concept within Forspoken’s DNA, but even that seems like a stretch when considering how Whitta already describes Frey coming from the real world as “nothing” like the concept he and others first pitched.
In the end, Whitta was credited only as having worked on the original concept, and not listed as a writer in the game’s final credits.
All in all, it’s an interesting look behind the curtain as to how Forspoken came to be the game we know today.
Source – [Alannah Pearce]