A woman is confronted by a monstrous bear-like creature in a trailer for the video game 'Forspoken'
(Square Enix)

The Dialogue in the ‘Forspoken’ Trailer Is Already a Meme—But Is It That Bad?

I found out the Square Enix game Forspoken was delayed once more when the pre-order I made for it was refunded to me with little explanation. I then went online and saw that the game was responsible for Joss Whedon trending for a hot second.

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In a teaser trailer shared on August 8th, the game featured some dialogue that many cited as “Whedon-like.” The main protagonist, Frey Holland (Ella Balinska), is a young woman who is transported from New York City to the fantasy world of Athia. She gains magical abilities through a bracelet and ends up fighting dragons and even flying.

“So let me get this straight. I’m somewhere that’s not what I would call death. I’m seeing freaking dragons. And, oh yeah! I’m talking to a cuff! Yeah, ok, that is something I do now. I do magic, kill jacked-up beasts. I’ll probably fly next.”

The dialogue is without context, and while I know that cringe dialogue has been a massive issue in modern writing, I feel the urge to declare that Joss Whedon is not the only writer with very specific quirky dialogue. In fact, when I first heard that, I thought more of Amy Sherman Palladino (Gilmore Girls) than Joss Whedon.

I found articles discussing the comparison on multiple sites, and while I get that, for many, Whedon is the “biggest” nerd voice they identify with this kind of dialogue, he’s not the only one. Diablo Cody wrote a lot of very 2000s quip-heavy dialogue in Juno and Jennifer’s Body. Characters in female-led shows like Wynonna Earp and Lost Girl and Killjoys have all taken aspects of “Buffy Speak” but without the allegations of misconduct.

Fundamentally, I don’t see how we can take this dialogue and extrapolate that the game might have issues with writing women? Black women … maybe, but this just seems like the way urban fantasy has evolved. Hell, even in horror, Kevin Williamson’s Scream predated the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series by a few months and also featured a sarcastic, self-aware group of teenagers.

Especially with this character being from our world and put into a fantasy one, wouldn’t it make sense that she’s genre savvy? I mean, that is what has been selling for years.

I have no idea if Forspoken will be good or not, and frankly, I’m most concerned with the lack of Black people on the writing team. For as many games as we have with Black protagonists, it has not translated to writing and creative teams with diversity, which, as the kids say, is wiggidy-wack.

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.