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SYFY WIRE Square Enix

Space Invaders AR, Project Athia’s true name & new Life Is Strange game revealed by Square Enix

By Benjamin Bullard
Space Invaders' Square Enix collaboration

Straight off the retro arcade screens of the early 1980s and into the modern world of augmented reality — Space Invaders persistent little alien pests are descending once again to remind us Earthlings that the countdown clock is still ticking.

As part of its first-ever "Square Enix Presents" digital video game showcase on Thursday, Square Enix teased the return of one of arcade gaming’s most iconic and nostalgia-laced names, announcing a new Space Invaders title that will bring the old-school baddies into our world via the present-day power of AR. A collaboration with old-school gaming giant Taito, the yet-untitled game doesn’t have a debut date. But as the trailer below hints, it looks like no city will be safe from Space Invaders’ “ambitious new vision for the franchise,” as Square Enix teases:

Because it’s an AR title, Space Invaders’ return to Earth will be arriving on AR-enabled mobile devices. If you aren’t afraid of getting the aliens’ unwanted attention, you can even sign up for a chance to team up with the developers for early play tests, or just await the release-date alarm that’ll signal the start of the next invasion.

There’s nothing retro about Project Athia, the working title for the mysterious, next-gen AAA game that Square Enix first showed off with a much-hyped, lightning-intense trailer last summer. The studio shared an all-new look at the upcoming action-RPG, in the process revealing (at last!) the PlayStation 5 console exclusive’s official name.

Take a new look at Forspoken — the true title of an open-world game that’s set in the fictional land of Athia (with a NSFW warning for some dragon-induced swearing):

As the trailer reveals, the female protagonist at the heart of Forspoken’s action is Frey Holland, a fish-out-of-water character voiced by Charlie’s Angels star Ella Balinska. Frey arrives in Athia’s “fantastical and dangerous” setting as “an ordinary young woman who must harness her magical abilities to survive,” Square Enix teased in the reveal’s accompanying release.

Whatever powers she might (or might not) possess back in this world, Frey makes the most of her plain white sneakers on Athia as she warps across abandoned ruins and snowy mountains to take on wild bears, dodge dragons, and go toe to toe with fire-spewing monsters. Rogue One scribe Gary Whitta is leading the game's writing team, and development comes from Square Enix’s newly-hatched Luminous Productions — the in-house development team that emerged from Final Fantasy XV's long development churn.

The studio is teasing Forspoken as a true next-gen game “designed for the PlayStation 5” and PC. Watch for Forspoken to arrive sometime in 2022.

At the polar end of the magic and fantasy RPG worlds Square Enix is known for, the Life Is Strange series has served up poignant, narrative-based game stories with a firmer grounding in the present-day world. In conjunction with developer Deck Nine Games, the publisher unveiled an upcoming standalone title that, for the first time, will set aside the franchise’s episode-based format to tell a complete Life Is Strange story all in one single game.

Check out the new trailer for Life Is Strange: True Colors, heading to multiple gaming platforms this fall:

Of course it wouldn’t be a Life Is Strange game without a supernatural link to our reality-grounded hero. In True Colors, the hero is new character Alex Chen; and the supernatural power is Empathy — Alex’s psychic ability to “see” the colorful emotional auras of everyone around her and learn their hidden motivations.

As a new resident of the tiny, seemingly-idyllic village of Haven Springs, Alex must finally come to terms with turning her supernatural “curse” into a force for good. Her Empathy powers allow Alex to “experience, absorb and manipulate the strong emotions of others,” according to Square Enix. And as she begins exploring the people and places of Haven Springs to revisit the mystery of her brother’s “accidental” death, Alex will need all the insight she can muster to “uncover the dark secrets” that have been “buried” in her new hometown.

Life Is Strange: True Colors will arrive in both physical and digital formats in three editions (Standard, Deluxe, and Ultimate), and it’s set to release on Sept. 10 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC. Check out the game’s landing page for full details on each edition — as well as more of Alex’s backstory.

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