As promised, Atlus has revealed the new JRPG franchise that is being helmed by Persona 5 director, Katsura Hashino. Project Re Fantasy is the placeholder title, and it is the debut project of a new studio founded within the halls of Atlus called Studio Zero.
According to Hashino, the studio’s name and logo stand together with its goals of “a return to the roots of where the Japanese games industry began with fantasy role-playing games” and to develop a “traditional fantasy RPG with distinctively Atlus flavor.”
Within the studio’s new logo is a story in and of itself. The number 0 is the ‘Fool’ arcana for tarot cards — the void from which all other things begin — and punctuated with the imagery of a young child on a journey.
He followed up with a statement assuring Atlus fans that this game will meet their expectations.
We take seriously this goal of creating a game with the care and detail expected by the people who love ATLUS games and home console games. We haven’t determined yet what platform our new game will be, and I imagine this project will take a long time until completion. But we’ll be working hard at this challenge to truly deliver something new and incredible for all our fans.
Is this the first product of “The Setsuna Effect?”
Maybe it’s just me, but this sounds a lot like Square Enix’s initiative to return the JRPG to its roots through a new, internal studio. Tokyo RPG Factory was created with the exact same mission statement, and that studio cranked out one of the 2016’s most heartfelt games, I Am Setsuna.
While it might not have been a financial hit, Atlus seems to be intrigued by Square Enix’s experiment and wants to take its own stab at a retro RPG. The biggest difference I can see between the two projects is that Square Enix hired a host of new developers to make I Am Setsuna, where Atlus put its most famous developer in charge of this game.
More on Project Re Fantasy as we hear it.