'Forspoken' studio Luminous Productions will be folded into Square Enix

Sorry to those hoping for a sequel to the beleaguered game.

Luminous Productions/Square Enix

Luminous Productions, the studio behind Forspoken, will soon close shop. Its team will be folded back into parent company Square Enix and tasked with working on other projects. The publisher set up the studio, which included the developers behind Final Fantasy XV, in 2018 to work on new franchises, but Forspoken was its only game as a standalone studio.

In a statement, Luminous said that its team will move back directly under Square Enix's umbrella starting on May 1st. In the meantime, the developers will continue to work on an update to address Forspoken's performance issues, as well as an expansion that's slated to arrive this summer.

"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," Luminous wrote on Twitter. "Having the chance to do just that has been a dream come true."

In a statement of its own, Square Enix said it's absorbing the Luminous team as "part of the company’s efforts to further bolster the competitive prowess of the group’s development studios, a goal set forth under its current medium-term business strategy." It added that Luminous is "equipped not only with AAA title development capabilities but also technical expertise in areas such as game engine development. Combining the two entities will further enhance the Group’s ability to develop HD games."


This is hardly the first time that Square Enix has taken swift action against its studios after projects failed to meet expectations. Last year, it sold off three Western studios — Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal and Square Enix Montréal — as well as franchises like Tomb Raider and Deus Ex to Embracer Group for a relatively small price of $300 million. The move came after the likes of Marvel's Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy (which didn't sell well enough despite strong reviews) didn't sell as well as Square Enix hoped.

Forspoken is one of the highest-profile games of the year to date. However, Square Enix released it in January to a so-so reception from critics. It's not yet clear how well the game has performed commercially.

Steam data indicated that Hi-Fi Rush, a game from Ghostwire: Tokyo studio Tango Gameworks that was announced and released on the same day, outperformed Forspoken in their first week of release on the platform. That's despite Hi-Fi Rush being available on Game Pass and costing $30 versus the $70 Square Enix charged for Forspoken. In fairness, the data only takes into account sales on Steam from the same week, not preorders or purchases from Steam key sellers.

In any case, that's not a great look for Luminous or Forspoken. Square Enix gobbling up the team spells disappointing news for any fans of Forspoken who were hoping for a sequel. Meanwhile, Luminous used a proprietary engine to create Final Fantasy XV and Forspoken. It's not clear what the future holds for the Luminous Engine after the merger either. Whatever happens, here's hoping the folks from Luminous aren't stuck working on Square Enix's NFT nonsense.