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Forspoken Star Is Unbothered By "Cringe" Criticism

Frey's voice actress Ella Balinska is proud of her work in Forspoken.


Square Enix's new action-RPG Forspoken takes a lot of inspiration from Isekai anime, but one area where the game differs from that anime genre is with its protagonist Alfre "Frey" Holland. A cynical New Yorker and orphan who was bounced around foster homes, Frey's arrival in the fantasy land of Athia has been a running joke online, with many out-of-context examples of her interactions giving the game a somewhat cringey atmosphere. Frey's voice actress Ella Balinska has seen all the discourse circulating online, and she's not bothered by it, having instead embraced the varying reactions to her spell-slinger.

"There are things that we all do that might be eyebrow-raising to other people," Balinska said to The Verge. "I think people always have a positive or negative response to something they're not used to seeing, and that's completely okay because that’s the way we incite change."

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Now Playing: Forspoken Video Review

Balinska added that she thinks of her eight-year-old self when she talks of projects that she's proud of doing, and the idea of playing a game in which she's essentially the main character, has left her speechless. "I just never would have thought me playing games downstairs with my mom's hairdresser's son while she was getting her hair done," Balinska said. "Now, to think that he can pick up this game and play as me, it's just unbelievable. And I hope it inspires other people to realize that if you commit to the bit hard enough, something really crazy can happen."

Contrary to the Whedonesque marketing materials and the memes spread online, Frey's characterization is surprisingly rough and accurate to her nature. In Forspoken, she's looking out for herself at first and is horrified at how Athia is expecting her to be a messiah that engages in murder for the greater good.

"It tells a largely forgettable story that sets up major stakes but fails to offer a compelling reason for why the player should care," Jordan Ramée wrote in GameSpot's Forspoken review. "Luminous Productions' action-RPG feels great when it allows you to really stretch your legs and magically parkour across its fantasy landscape, but combat is clunky and regular exposition too often stalls the action."

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