Studio Istolia, Square Enix’s newest Tokyo studio, is working on a role playing game entitled Project Prelude Rune. Few details of the project were released in Square Enix’s press release, but we have learned a few tidbits from a translated Famitsu interview with the studio’s head, Hideo Baba.Hideo Baba was previously at Bandai Namco and worked as the producer and director on several Tales games, as well as a few other series dating back through the PS2 era. He left Bandai Namco sometime after Tales of Zestiria, and apparently approached Square-Enix in October in search of a new opportunity. Baba hopes to focus on “kindness” and “warmth” in Project Prelude Rune, and create a “warm world” reminiscent of the anime and comics he enjoys. The setting won’t be too far out of Baba’s wheelhouse, as it will be set in a fantasy world featuring staple races like elves and dwarves. Square-Enix promises that the game will unfold “across a vast land teeming with life,” and people fighting for their dreams. There are a few pieces of concept art available for Project Prelude Rune, and the studio’s unnamed mascot may also give us a glimpse of what sort of style to expect, although Baba mentions that he hopes the mascot can appear in future games (and therefore probably not in this first title). The mascot was designed by Toshiyuki Itahana, who creates characters for the Chocobo series of games. The similarities between the mascot and moogles are pretty glaring, but that might help to convince Final Fantasy fans to keep tabs on Studio Istolia, even if they weren’t fans of the Tales games. Where the new game will appear hasn’t been decided, but Baba indicates it likely won’t be on portables, although mobile phones are a possibility in addition to consoles.
Does a new IP by the producer of several Tales games interest you? Could this be Square-Enix’s next big franchise? Let us know in the comments!