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Forspoken developer Luminous Productions to be merged with Square Enix

Luminous to be folded back into Square Enix after Forspoken’s poor launch
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Square Enix has announced that it would fold game developer Luminous Productions back into the parent company after its most recent release, Forspoken, was poorly received by critics and users alike. Founded in 2018 as a subsidiary of Square Enix, the studio was mainly made up of employees from Final Fantasy 15’s development. It created Forspoken while also working on its own game engine, Luminous.

“When we established Luminous Productions in 2018, our vision was to make AAA games that fused technology and artistry to deliver completely new experiences,” the studio said in a statement posted to Twitter, “Having the chance to do just that has been a dream come true. We appreciate you taking this journey with us and look forward to continuing to create new entertainment and experiences as a part of the Square Enix family”.

Luminous Productions first mentioned Forspoken under the codename Project Athia in 2020, revealing it in full a year later. In 2022, the game’s dialog was mocked as embarrassing after some of it was featured in the marketing campaign.

This sentiment around the dialog would also become one of the negative points in many reviews of the game after its release in January 2023. While the combat was largely well-received, many critics and users pointed out the cringy dialog, slow pacing, and poor visual quality of the game.

It’s currently unknown whether the game was also a commercial flop, but the numbers on PC’s prevalent store platform Steam definitely point in that direction. Even smaller titles like Hi-Fi Rush were largely able to steal Forspoken’s thunder.

This, combined with ongoing criticism of the Luminous engine, was probably enough for Square Enix to bring Luminous Productions back into the fold. The merger will be executed on May 1, 2023, with staff being reassigned to ongoing projects at Square Enix. Until then, Forspoken will receive further support by the studio, which is said to be working on DLC for the game.