US Gamer reports that Square Enix has confirmed that they have shut down Studio Stolia and canceled the game they have been developing since 2017, Project Prelude Rune. Yesterday fans discovered that the domain www.studioistolia.com now redirects to the Square Enix official website. A Square Enix spokesperson told US Gamer:
Following evaluation of various aspects of Project Prelude Rune, development of the title has been canceled. Studio Istolia is no longer in operation and we have been taking appropriate steps to assign studio staff to other projects within the Square Enix Group.
The studio and their flagship title were first announced in February 2017. Studio Istolia was helmed by Hideo Baba, formerly a producer for BANDAI NAMCO’s Tales series, with titles Tales of Xillia, Tales of Xillia 2, Tales of Zestiria, and Tales of Berseria under his belt. Studio Istolia’s mission statement was to “provide unforgettable stories that will inspire players in their own lives, and brings new experiences to everyone around the world.”
According to Square Enix, the Studio Istolia staff will be reassigned to other Square Enix studios, except Hideo Baba, who left the company in March. That was already an indication that the studio wasn’t doing very well. His official statement, according to US Gamer, is as follows.
Accompanying a change in Studio Istolia management policies, I’m announcing that I resigned as representative director in December 2018 to make room for the next generation. Also, in March 2019, I resigned from Square Enix.
Apart from taking down the website, Square Enix has deleted a trailer for Project Prelude Rune from its official YouTube channel. Last November they also canceled three Final Fantasy XV DLCs, and the game director Hajime Tabata left the company. Yesterday we reported a fall in profits for the Japanese company, despite the launch of blockbuster titles. This is likely part of the reason for shutting down Studio Istolia, though last month they also announced they would create over 100 new jobs in Canada.
Are you upset about Project Prelude Rune being canceled? Were you hoping for a similar game to the Tales series games? Let us know in the comments below!