Why did Forspoken fail? Here are some answers

Here's several reasons why Forspoken failed.

forspoken hate
Square Enix

From the moment Square Enix revealed Forspoken in 2021, the game was badly received for featuring a quirky female protagonist parroting Marvel style dialogue .

If you didn't already know, Forspoken is about a troubled young woman from New York City called Frey Holland who is transported to a vast magical kingdom ruled entirely by women.

In this matriarchal world Frey becomes an unlikely hero as she learns to wield powerful magic, helps downtrodden folk, takes the fight to oppressive rulers and overcomes her demons, metaphorically and literally.

While isekai video games are nothing new, Forspoken is very unique and beats to the sound of it's own drum. For one, it's the first AAA rpg to feature a biracial black female lead.

Meanwhile gameplay is devoid of physical weapons like swords, meaning Frey only has access to magic abilities, traversal skills and bare handed melee attacks up close.

Square Enix's new IP features a unique protagonist with genuine emotions, seamless gameplay and a very mature, engaging isekai story, so why was Forspoken a commercial flop and panned by critics on release? Read on..

The price 

Square Enix shot themselves in the foot and got too greedy when selling Forspoken for $70, considering it's brand a new IP with high expectations and big shoes to fill. 

While Square Enix may have gotten a pass with long running and established franchises like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest (to a lesser extent) which have dedicated fans, Forspoken on the other hand is completely new to the scene.

Had they played their cards right, then Square wouldn't have scared away potential customers who couldn't justify paying so much for a new game which drew mixed receptions and had tidbits of information since initial trailers.


Forspoken has been a problematic game for Square Enix, as their new ip has been ridiculed during it's marketing cycle for what critics deemed cringeworthy dialogue, technical issues, and several delays starting from 2021 to it's release in early 2023.

Although criticism was blown way out of proportion, Square Enix's marketing team could've handled the promotion of the game better by avoiding to take dialogue out of context from story-driven cutscenes.

Furthermore the public demo received mixed receptions which turned off some consumers already on the fence about buying the game.

While a good demo can potentially attract new customers who would have likely skipped it, for Forspoken though, there's a disturbing sense that it's demo achieved the opposite effect. 

Hate bandwagon

Forspoken has been badly received since the initial trailer for it's "cringeworthy" dialogue and labelled woke for having a woc protagonist.

Although Forspoken isn't perfect, there's definitely some racist and misogynist influenced criticism of the game that cloaks itself behind more innocous criticisms. 

In his own words even the original God of War director David Scott Jaffe admitted that the widespread panning of Forspoken was driven by "A-holes who clearly don't like Women, Black People, or Playstation". 

Over the years other video games like Mafia 3, Watch Dogs 2 and the Saints Row reboot to name a few have also received a similar fate, what do they all have in common with one another? 

This isn't exclusive to video games either because there has been racist backlash against the casting of black actors in popular fantasy shows such as The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon in 2022.

It's sad to admit but replace Frey with a typical anime girl protagonist or male character and it probably wouldn't have so caught so much hate.

No matter how much you sugar-coat it, Frey is a highly opinionated non-sexualized female character who faces the “Double-Whammy” of being "black" and a woman.

When gamers type the word "woke" in YouTube videos comments in all caps, it’s time to reconsider what the backlash is really about.

Let's also not forgot that Forspoken is a timed console exclusive, so this could have played a part in the hate brigade the game has gotten since day one.

To add salt to injury, Forspoken has been review bombed by people who never planned on buying it. Meanwhile many people who actually gave the game a chance are getting what they expected, and thoroughly enjoying it.

The game's dialogue 

One of the biggest criticisms the game has faced is the Forspoken dialogue, which is constantly berated for being cringe and excessive. However it's a double standard as majority of video game dialogues are simple and cheesy.

Fans who ignore the hilariously awkward writing in every Resident Evil or Devil May Cry game now become snobs about the game with a troubled teenage girl thrown into an unknown world.

Plenty of isekai adaptions have snarky edgy protagonists who make fun of the world. Meanwhile the game's writing is in line with MCU quips, which is generally well received.

Let's not forget that many mainline Final Fantasy games have the same kind of snarky, edgy and cringy  dialogue, so why has Forspoken's heroine been made an example of?

Every time you see someone blast the dialogue of Forspoken and call it 'cringe and unrealistic', ask yourself whether they would say the same thing if it were coming from, say, Iron Man's Tony Stark or Uncharted Nathan Drake for example. 

Simply put, the dialogue isn’t the worst thing we’ve heard in a game or movie and anyone whose actually played the game long enough will know this. 

On the other hand, had Square Enix bothered to hire writers who could actually relate to Frey on a deeper surface i.e her being a brown skin girl from New York, then the dialogue may had come out better and less cartoony. 


Critics were extremely harsh on the game and it was criticized for things that other games have gotten a pass for.


The game has it's flaws, just like any other game, but it excels by daring to be different. The story is engaging, Frey is a well written character with genuine reactions and good character development, while the gameplay is seamless.

 Is it a perfect game? No. However it's a great game nonetheless.

There are many people have been cheerleading for Forspoken to fail and desperately zeroed in on anything they could to nit-pick any perceived flaw to death.

Even if the game had oscarworthy writing these people wouldn't care, as they had no plans on getting the game no matter what. 

At the end of the day Forspoken criticism will always be muddled due to the fact that parts of the gaming community have wanted the game to fail due to featuring a unlikely heroine they couldn't relate to.

However thankfully for Square Enix, there are people out there who have given the game a chance despite the controversies are pleasantly surprised. 


Your thoughts?

  1. The problem has nothing to do with Frey's skin colour or sex, it has to do with the fact that the story was pretty generic. It has to do with the fact that both Hollywood and the entire game industry can't put out anything that is original and has a good story. I don't care what gender or race my character is as long as the story is well written and in depth. As someone who actually played it the main story is ok I guess, gameplay is ok but the customisation is really lacking. The scenery and some of the mutants are amazing. The main problem is game developers and movie producers are so far out of touch with what consumers want these days.

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