Forspoken developer Luminous Productions is getting absorbed back into Square Enix.
Games aren't just becoming more and more expensive for consumers to buy. They're also becoming more and more costly for developers to make. Solely prioritizing the Japanese market is becoming more financially unfeasible for the gaming juggernaut Square Enix. As such, Square Enix has emphasized their desire to prioritize releasing games that would be successful on the global market. Forspoken would surely help in those efforts.
— Square Enix (@SquareEnix) January 25, 2023
Released on January 24 this year for PlayStation 5 and PC, Forspoken was developed by Luminous Productions. Formerly known as Business Divisions 2, this is the same developer team behind Final Fantasy 15. So, naturally, fans had high expectations for Forspoken.
When Square Enix formed Luminous Studios back in 2018, the objective was to focus on bringing stellar triple AAA titles to the global market using Square Enix's proprietary Luminous Engine. So, did Forspoken achieve that goal?
Forspoken's critical reception was mixed. Many hated it, while others felt it had potential but was nevertheless significantly held back by some significant design flaws, including but not limited to dialogue with cringe levels comparable to that of CW superhero shows. That's not exactly what you want to hear about a $70 game.
Commercially speaking, Forspoken was a flop. Some have already given it the dishonor of being the PlayStation 5's first exclusive failure. So yeah, Forspoken wasn't the global hit Square Enix was looking for, and let's face it, that they needed.
Forspoken is hardly the only recent failure by Square Enix. The last few years have seen a string of duds, including Babylon's Fall, Chocobo GP, and Marvel's Avengers (This isn't even including their nigh-universally hated decision to amp up their NFT/blockchain efforts). More than anything, Square Enix should take a step back, regroup, and reprioritize. And it looks like that's what they're doing.
An Update from Luminous Productions pic.twitter.com/fbDENflRhj
— Luminous Productions (@LumiPro_EN) February 28, 2023
On February 28, Luminous Studios posted a tweet confirming that on May 1, they will be rejoining Square Enix. Considering Forspoken's underwhelming performance thus far, this likely kills any chance of Forspoken getting a sequel.
Square Enix followed Luminous Studios' tweet with a statement confirming the merging, clarifying that the move will increase the competitive power of its studios' development potential on the global market.
After selling off numerous globally popular IPs to Embracer Group last year, and with Forspoken largely a failure, Square Enix's global efforts are running on fumes. Time will tell if they can turn things around.