Square Enix’s strategy to control Forspoken’s reception backfired in a big way


Appeared in 2020 as Project Athiya.Square Enix finally saw the launch of its brand new AAA IP address “SpokenOn 24 January 2023. While initially slated for an early 2022 release, Square Enix delayed the title’s launch twice before its big day.

Normally, you’d expect people to be over the moon as more information emerges for a brand new, massive project from the developer known as Square Enix. However, things ended up quite the opposite, as each revelation raised more eyebrows than the last.

The way corporations control the reception of their new titles and the idea of ​​paid reviews is hardly new. Square Enix’s recent decisions with the release of Forspoken and how they handled the game’s launch is possibly the latest example of this.

“Limited” review codes

A week before the game hit shelves, gameplay for Forspoken began appearing online, and it was believed that select media outlets had received a review code or copy. As the game neared its launch, several popular outlets took to Twitter to report that Square Enix had not provided them with pre-release review codes.

This raised a clear concern for the state of the game in terms of quality, performance and enjoyment, with it being a massive red flag for the developer as a whole. It’s also worth noting that the review embargo for the title was supposed to expire 24 hours before release.

The company has released a lot of Forspoken over the past two years, and every part of the big picture looks less impressive than before. Now that Forspoken’s global launch is behind us, reception has been far from positive. Majority of players claim that this game is quite mediocre.

Square Enix has likely withheld review codes from most major outlets while providing codes specifically for the PS5 version to some. As a potentially manipulative strategy in press and reception, the results speak for themselves.

Keep in mind that PC review codes or copies was not given outwhich combined with the insanity to spawn an entirely separate branch of negative reviews and word of mouth.

As a brand new IP, Forspoken was expected to be received with glowing reviews and to stand alongside Square Enix icons, such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Because of how the game mixes all of its elements together, combined with its opening and other factors, Forspoken doesn’t get off to a good start.

It is wrong to expect that the gate will come out swinging and there will be no problems, especially when technology is advancing every day. Due to its seemingly uninspiring execution of seemingly brilliant ideas, Forspoken seems to be resonating poorly with most of the playerbase.

The recent success of Alden Ring It is a perfect example of a game winning the hearts of players in light of its questionable launch condition.

Although Alden Ring was a brilliant creation of software that combined over a decade of experience in the genre, it was plagued by performance issues at launch on all platforms. Something that has remained intact since the original Dark Souls was released on PC.

Reception after the launch

According to review aggregator Metacritic, Forspoken holds a score of 68 based on 67 critical reviews, of which 39 entries were “mixed”. Several players took to Twitter to express their feelings regarding the performance of the game.

However, many criticisms were leveled at the game’s writing. Dialog script. While the opinions are countless and range from one end of the spectrum to the other, the one point of commonality is that it misses the mark and tries too hard.

Variations in voiceover quality are common due to the multiple languages ​​available. Add to that how the world is now more exposed to other cultures than ever before, and it’s easy to see how some dubs transcend the original.

A recent example of bad voiceover work is Monolith Soft’s. Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Thanks to Rex’s golden scream, his English dub was meme-worthy material in contrast to his original Japanese voice.

The opposite is the case with Forspoken. Believe it or not, the game’s dialogue in Japanese has a lot more impact than its Western counterpart.

Square Enix and contrasting PC ports

From a technical standpoint, Forspoken offers some amazingly accessible options for customizing the overall experience for players, but it falls short in the performance department, especially on PC. Analysis of Digital Foundry The PS5 version has reduced visual fidelity with a significant drop in framerate in some areas.

Poor and unsuitable PC ports have plagued the platform for quite some time. Some developers have recently provided ancient PC ports. However, it is important to note that a strong first impression is paramount.

Even if you manage to deliver a peak experience a few months or a year after the game’s launch, first impressions are the ones that last for a long time, lasting in most cases. Also, Square Enix has been a bit shaky given some of their recent releases.

We have rearranged the ports of titles viz Chronocross, but then you have games like Crisis Core: Reunion and FFVII: Remake Intergrad which are an absolute blast. All of this just makes you ask – what are they thinking? It’s no secret that they are capable based on their library of games.

Square Enix’s recent titles range from Stranger of Paradise to The Devil Field Chronicles and Valkyrie Elysium, along with Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel’s Avengers – which have unrealistic sales expectations and a Pro NFT Stance, Square is trapping himself in a cage of mediocrity.

For now, it seems creative business unit 3 is carrying Square Enix on its back with FFXIV and the upcoming action RPG FFXVI. Yoshi-P, along with his talented team, are hard at work delivering amazing experiences in the critically acclaimed MMORPG. FFXVI is also shaping up to be a phenomenal experience but keep your fingers crossed.

Great ideas marred by poor execution

Square Enix expects Forspoken to take them to new heights and garner positive attention. Not only did they mishandle the project, they also failed to deliver products with polish and quality. Objectively, Forspoken has some amazing ideas, and even now, some elements of the game are genuinely enjoyable.

Most of the select few who received PS5 review codes left with mixed feelings. They could see the potential in this new IP but couldn’t ignore the obvious problems. An example of this is a tweet by Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier. Going through Metacritic, I also found some disparity between reviews.

IGN Japan Forspoken gave it an 80, while IGN gave it a 6. We all miss IGN and its reviews, especially after their famous “too much water” situation, but you can’t help but wonder about the thought process at work here. Most of the other positive entries had a stiff, textbook feel to them and barely touched on the merits of the game.

I want to reiterate that Forspoken brings some amazing ideas to the table. All those things are bundled with elements that don’t work for one reason or another. It affects the overall experience. Players can still have a good time here, but the general sound is pretty split.

Anyone with a real interest in gaming, especially in this day and age, will want a new IP to develop. I want Forspoken to do well, but pushing sales with this setup may prove difficult given the initial reception, price tag, platforms it’s on, and the state of the PC port. I hope it finds a measure of success in the future.

Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t meet the sales requirements, I don’t see this title living up to Square Enix’s potentially high expectations. Knowing their track record, they may move forward with a sequel that may or may not change course for this IP, but for now, it’s a rocky start.

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