Stop Blaming Forspoken's Protagonist For The Game's Failure

Stop Blaming Forspoken's Protagonist For The Game's Failure
Capcom | Luminous Productions | Arkane

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

24th Jan 2023 15:26

Remember when gamers called out Cyberpunk 2077 as one of the worst games of all time back in 2020? Well, there could be a new contender in 2023.

Forspoken is the first game from Luminous Productions and was supposed to be a goliath of the fantasy genre - falling under Square Enix. Instead, it's already being torn apart by critics and casual gamers alike.

In some bizarre world, there's a minority of players blaming Forspoken's protagonist for its monumental panning. With the protagonist being a black woman called Frey, it's opened a can of worms across the industry. 

Why Do Forspoken Critics Hate Forspoken?

Freya Forspoken
Click to enlarge
Luminous Productions

Although we've had a black female protagonist in the form of Resident Evil 5's Sheva and Clementine in Telltale's The Walking Dead, the fact Frey is the first for a AAA game should've been a big selling point for Forspoken

Female-led games have been around for decades, and you only have to look at Tomb Raider to see its successes. Then again, you might remember when Horizon Forbidden West was review-bombed amidst the misogyny of Aloy having a "hairy face."

As you can imagine, Frey's backstory is being lost in conversations about Forspoken being too "woke." One snarky reviewer wrote, "Days Gone had some cringe parts, but the game was cool overall. Can't say the same about this feminist woke nightmare..."

Another added, "After seeing some of the YouTuber reviews on Forspoken and seeing gameplay. I will not be buying this woke trash!"

A third concluded, "Don't be victim to these woke cringe games anymore it’s a gaming trend that should die don’t blame people with eyes and a functional brain."

Forspoken's Protagonist Isn't Its Problem

Even if Frey isn't the best-rounded video game character of all time, she's a victim of Forspoken's wider issues. As well as claims we were mis-sold the game's graphics, there are grumbles about weak RPG systems and dialogue that's compared to the worst Marvel movies of the '00s.

Defending Frey, someone explained, "Forspoken deserves the same love and care that Miles Morales got but Square didn't care enough about their black protagonist to get black Devs and black writers. We absolutely need more black-led fantasy setting protagonists, just next time, hire black people to tell the story…"

Another said, "Before some of you start drafting your race-baiting nonsense tweets defending Forspoken, remember Deathloop…with a black protagonist and a black antagonist got a 88 metacritic. Forspoken isn't getting bad reviews because it's a black woman as the main character."

Someone rounded off by saying, "The ridiculousness in the notion, if you criticise #Forspoken annoying chatter, boring gameplay loop etc, denotes that you are somehow racially motivated into disliking the game. I'm a Man of Colour, I don't like this game for those reasons."

Last year, Kotaku reported how Forspoken Voice Over Director Tom Keegan fell into some racial stereotypes when describing Frey, while a lack of black writers on the team also became a cause for concern. 

Whatever you think of Forspoken, dunking on Frey for anything other than her being underdeveloped is probably not a great look.