Forspoken is reportedly an “extreme case” of a game being completely “unrecognizable” to its original pitch, according to insider Alex Donaldson. While it’s not uncommon for games to change from its original vision, he says that Forspoken struggled substantially to find its identity throughout game development, due in part to the departure of Hajime Tabata from Luminous Productions in 2018.
Forspoken’s development struggles could explain low review scores
Donaldson, the owner of RPG Site, notes that from various sources, it appears Forspoken went through multiple changes in development. He writes in a tweet:
People have said to me the original pitch/plan is unrecognizable in the product as it is now. This happens to many games mid-dev, but Forspoken basically appears to be a particularly extreme case, where it really went through the wringer in terms of changing and morphing.
He continues in a follow-up that some of the criticisms he has seen of Forspoken thus far seem like they are symptoms of these constant changes in direction.
Square Enix’s Luminous Productions was founded by Hajime Tabata in March 2018, but only eight months later in November 2018, he resigned from the company. Given that Forspoken is the developer’s debut project, his rather sudden departure could explain the game’s struggle to find a point of view right from the start.
This could be the main reason why the Forspoken demo had a very mixed reception and why, at the time of this writing, the game has a Metacritic score of 68 and an Opencritic score of 69. It could also explain why the dialogue from its first hour of gameplay is being widely panned by fans and why the “first couple of chapters are slow” according to our Forspoken review.