Luminous Productions has announced it will officially merge with parent company Square Enix on 1 May 2023, with employees being absorbed into the wider SE team. While an exact reason for the pseudo-closure has not been revealed, the announcement arrives just weeks after Forspoken launched to tepid reviews.
‘Beginning on May 1, our talented team will join Square Enix to deliver new, innovative gaming experiences to players across the globe,’ Luminous announced on Twitter. ‘Between now and then we remain entirely focused on Forspoken. We are currently working on the previously announced patch to address overall game performance (we will deliver an update soon) and the DLC, In Tanta We Trust, is on track for release in Summer [Northern Hemisphere].’
‘When we established Luminous Productions in 2018, our vision was to make AAA games that fused technology and artistry to deliver completely new play experiences. 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.’
Read: Forspoken review – Take a leap of faith
Given Luminous was only established in 2018, its sudden dissolution is surprising. Formerly, the company was known as Square Enix Business Division 2, so these changes will essentially re-establish the studio as part of the wider Square Enix ecosystem – but the shelving of the ‘Luminous’ name is notable.
The response to Forspoken was fairly aggressive, with many calling the game cringeworthy and dull, but it was not an outright failure. In the GamesHub review, we called it ‘a tale worth stomping through one high-stakes, magic-infused battle at a time’ and noted its ‘cringe’ label was unfair. Forspoken was the unfortunate victim of internet bandwagoning, which led to artificially reduced interest in what was a sweeping, exciting story.
Merging Luminous Productions with Square Enix mere weeks after reviews dropped feels like an effort to distance Forspoken, or to move on from its relative failure in the market. While sales figures were not released for the adventure, it’s easy to assume they played a part in this decision.
The Luminous team will continue to support Forspoken in the months ahead, but it does appear the studio’s attention will quickly shift as it prepares for re-entry into Square Enix proper. Stay tuned to hear more about this move, and how it will impact both companies.