Forspoken’s new trailer sounds like it was written by Joss Whedon

On Monday, a trailer for the forthcoming title from Square Enix and Luminous Productions Leave was shared by the game’s Twitter account and promptly went viral for unflattering reasons. In the trailer, protagonist Frey moves fluidly through a fantasy environment, showing off her magic fighting dragons and other creatures. She looks incredibly strong and adventures in a world that looks exciting to play around in. But here’s the catch — she also narrates through the entire trailer in a “Well, the just happened” style. In the trailer Frey says:

“Let me get this straight. I’m in a place I wouldn’t call earth… I’m seeing bloody dragons and… oh yeah, I’m talking to a cuff. Yeah, okay, I’m doing that now. I’m doing magic , kill jacked beasts – I’ll probably fly next.”

Twitter users took to the platform to parody the trailer’s ridiculous voiceover, using its tone to describe the plot of other popular games.

Last day, Joss Whedon, who isn’t involved with the project, began trending on Twitter when people pointed out the similarities between the trailer’s tone and Whedon’s tendency to pepper the dialogue he writes with jokes.

It’s not uncommon for protagonists in video games to talk to themselves, whether for pathfinding, story progression, or questline purposes. It can be anything from annoying to unobtrusive and even useful. Aloy from the Horizon series, for example, tends to talk to himself about defeating certain machine enemies. It’s true that people don’t really talk like that, but the dialogue offers valuable strategic information that I’ve found helpful when playing these games.

Leave‘s trailer…isn’t that. It feels like a bad TikTok voiceover or the Marvel (we can also just say Big Disney franchise) school of thought where a protagonist mainly points out explanatory details that viewers can easily identify, rather than simply feeling Things. It’s the difference between yelling “Help, I’m falling off a building” and “AAAAAHHHH” when knocked off a building.

Polygon first pointed out the crowded dialog in ours Leave Preview. According to the developers, these comments are Frey’s way of processing a traumatic experience. “That’s what most people do when things are difficult or absurd,” author Allison Rymer told Polygon. “You approach it with humor.” In fairness, comedic timing is hard to come by, and it makes sense that the protagonist of a fish-out-of-water tale would express lingering disbelief. There’s no way of knowing how the final product will sound until we actually play the game. dishonored 2‘s Heart has made me a sucker for talking items, so I’m wondering what they’re going to do with Frey’s cuff.

However, during this preview, motion capture director Tom Keegan drew on disturbing stereotypes to describe Frey, who is a black woman. As reported by Kotaku, Keegan said her walk was “hip-hoppy” and described her as “very angry” and “on the brink of prison” before being transported to Athia. The report notes that Axios reporter Stephen Totilo followed up with a question as to whether black developers or consultants were involved in the project, but that question was not answered during the preview. He later received an FAQ that included this statement from Square Enix: “We worked closely with a number of consultants with BIPOC backgrounds to help portray Frey’s character and tell the story from their perspective.”

Leave is due to be released in January 2023 after delays and will be playable on PlayStation 5 and Windows PC. Forspoken’s new trailer sounds like it was written by Joss Whedon

Charles Jones

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