Forspoken, the upcoming narrative adventure from Luminous Productions, has officially been rated by PEGI in Europe, with the game nabbing an 18 rating for ‘bad language’, ‘violence’ and ‘in-game purchases’. Alongside these features, the rating has also revealed a number of minor spoilers for the game that give a better idea of what it’s all about.
Namely, the content rating reveals Forspoken will deal with issues of suicide and mental health. According to content specific issues cited by PEGI, at one point, a ‘despairing women [sic] stands on a ledge, while drinking alcohol, and considers whether the world would be better off without her.’ Later, she is saved by a mystical presence – although another character allegedly brings up her suicide attempt later in the game, and tells her she should have gone through with it.
The ‘despairing woman’ referred to in the content description likely refers to Frey Holland, the game’s main protagonist. While it’s unclear when this scene takes place, it could mark the beginning of her journey in the game, and explain how she comes to enter a new, magic-filled world.
According to PEGI, the game won’t shy away from dealing with the harsh realities of the real world, with Frey seemingly being the conduit for exploring these issues.
In addition to references to suicide, the game reportedly also heavily features alcohol, with characters able to purchase drinks from bars in the game. This appears to negatively impact character statistics at random, and is disincentivised during gameplay – an important point to make, as the Australian ratings board is typically strict on the use and portrayal of drugs and alcohol in games.
The rating also notes strong, realistic violence in the game, with ‘a woman being set upon by a group of thugs who punch and kick her and hold a gun to her head’. This is accompanied by strong language, including the word ‘f**k’ – which feels like an appropriate response to being whisked from real world New York into a wild fantasy realm.
The other reason for the PEGI 18 rating is the game’s inclusion of in-game purchases. Forspoken will reportedly include a number of downloadable content packs – although what they are is not specified in the ratings listing. It’s unclear if these are cosmetic items, or if they add to the story, but PEGI has confirmed they’re not strictly necessary, and the game can be played without them.
Update: In subsequent clarification, Square Enix has confirmed this rating does not refer to microtransactions. Instead, it refers to ‘premium downloadable content’ which will likely expand the game’s story.
Beyond the actual content of the Forspoken rating, it’s a positive sign that the game has been rated. It’s currently set to launch for PlayStation 5 and Windows PC on 11 October 2022, and it appears that date will hold. The rating doesn’t strictly confirm this, but it is a sign Luminous Productions is finally ramping up for the game’s highly-anticipated launch.