Forspoken: A Deeper Insight Into Magic [VIDEO]

Luminous Productions provided an in-depth look at Frey Holland’s magic.


The studio talked about the open-world action RPG on the PlayStation Blog. The studio has been thinking long and hard about how to visualize Forspoken’s spells. For example, they didn’t want fire or rocks suddenly appearing out of nowhere. They thought that would have been too boring, especially in a game where magic is the main focus. Each spell will have a standard rule: they open with magical energy, switch to natural phenomena (such as the rocks), and then return to magical power before it is finished. The studio didn’t want to use auras or summoning circles because it wouldn’t have been original. Early in development, it was decided to represent magical energy in Forspoken with geometric patterns, which determined the visual design of all the game’s spells, ensuring a consistent visual style. The collaboration between visual artists, game designers and programmers was thus seamless.

Luminous also introduced three spells: “Burst shot fires explosive lumps of rock that deal area damage. It’s an explosive earth-based spell dealing area damage, so it would feel appropriate and magic-like to conjure a large rock that protrudes in four directions. This is the first spell that Frey gets—and the first one we worked on—so we made sure it was pretty straightforward! Because Burst Shot was the first spell we took to completion, it became a guideline for all the magic in Forspoken. While making it, we used it to perfect the standard rule of geometric patterns turning into rocks and turning back into geometric patterns before disappearing. So, while it may not be the most visually impressive spell, it’s undoubtedly unique as it served as the departure point for all the others in the game!

Cataract spins up a watery vortex that sucks in enemies, damaging them as it does so. If you hold the button, you can send out pillars of water to attack enemies, and if you keep it even longer, you can send out more pillars of icy water to freeze foes solid! During development, we came up with the idea of having streams of water converge and cause a big icy explosion. We challenged ourselves to express how water changes into ice visually—if we could achieve that, the spell would be complete. Of course, that was easier said than done! For example, this is a spell with different levels—at level two, it’s only an explosion of water, and at level three, the blast of water turns to ice. Getting that explosion of water and freezing it was extremely difficult—we essentially had to develop it as two separate spells, which meant double the work! It’s worth it, though, because we were able to find a way to express that concept of water turning into ice. We were also very particular when it came to developing the shaders we used for these substances—I think Cataract is one of those spells that looks beautiful, even at a glance.

Genesis summons barbed branches, which fire out in front of you and skewer foes over a wide area. If you hold the button, it hits harder and over an even area; if you hold the buttons even longer, it also strikes and poisons your enemies! The “genesis” of this spell came from one we experimented with during the early stages of development. Early on, we decided that Frey could manipulate nature, and it would be fitting and visually impactful if she could conjure a large tree from the ground! The original design saw the tree grow and attack enemies, but we reworked the design to match the game’s systems better as we progressed in development. We tested this spell even while we were still in pre-production. It’s a pretty extravagant concept—a tree grows from the ground, flowers would bloom, and then an even more enormous tree impales everything in sight! It took tremendous trial and error to show plants being created at such a scale. Showing trees growing from the ground was incredibly challenging. We tested a lot of different methods, and we had to start over many times. Then, once we thought we had completed it, it became a spell with multiple levels, so we had to figure out how to differentiate levels 1-3, which was quite trying! I’m delighted with how it turned out, though—I think we achieved something extraordinary!”

Forspoken is coming to PlayStation 5 and PC on January 24 (Steam, Epic Games Store, Microsoft Store).

Source: Gematsu

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