All during the PlayStation 5 corporate presentation one game after another was revealed and majority of them seemed to feature obnoxious looking POCkers or feminists in the lead role. One game after another, there were no straight white males in sight and Project Athia, from Square Enix and Luminous Productions, was no exception to this rule. I suppose it makes sense given that Square Enix is on the Traitors of America list.
The typical Centrists™ will proclaim “Oh but there were plenty of games starring males!” but then if you ask them, “Other than Hitman III, which one of these games starred a straight, white male?” and they will be brought to heel at silence’s feet for their ignorance and folly.
What’s more is that the lead writer on Project Athia is Gary Whitta, as reported by Siliconera. Whitta has worked on The Walking Dead, After Earth, The Book of Eli, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Anyway, Project Athia is being built on the Luminous Engine, which was originally introduced way back in 2012 when Epic was rolling out the first iteration of the Unreal Engine 4. Both engines have similar capabilities, such as global illumination, physical based rendering, and material libraries, but for some reason Square thought it wise to waste it on yet another third-person action game starring a black female protagonist who relies on nature-based magic and non-sexual tentacles.
The minute-and-a-half trailer looks very similar to Final Fantasy XV, or rather Final Fantasy Agni’s Philosophy. Of course, the main difference being that Agni’s Philosophy starred a hot looking chick, and Project Athia has what appears to be a Liberal in the lead role, based on the brief tease they showed of the main heroine.
Moreover, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that closer toward release Square changes the name to Final Fantasy: Athia, and release it as an action-oriented spin-off based on the popular JRPG series.
For those of you who don’t remember what the original Luminous Engine demo looked like, you can check out the six minute real-time in-engine demonstration below, courtesy of Shirrako.
So why did Square shelve the engine for so long? Well, a lot of it had to do with the fact that the PS3 and Xbox 360 were at the end of their lifecycle by the time they announced the engine so it wasn’t viable for seventh gen consoles. To confound matters further, both the PS4 and Xbox One turned out to be a lot more underwhelming than people thought, and the hardware wasn’t capable of tapping into neither the Unreal Engine 4’s nor the Luminous Engine’s global illumination rendering capabilities. So Epic wisely scrapped promotion for a lot of the higher end functionality of their engine and downscaled accordingly.
Square, meanwhile, had put the Luminous Engine on the shelf until they could find a proper use for it that didn’t turn the two eighth-gen twins into burnt toasters, which they were partially able to do with Final Fantasy XV.
As for Project Athia, it looks like Square will finally have an opportunity to flex the Luminous Engine’s muscles with a lot more room provided in the console space by the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Since Project Athia is a working title, I’m almost fairly convinced that the game will end up having some ties to Final Fantasy in some way, but we’ll have to wait to find out.