Atlus, publisher of the highly rated Persona series, has announced the creation of a new studio dubbed ‘Studio Zero.’ The studio will be led by Persona 5 director Katsura Hashino and will immediately begin working on a brand new fantasy RPG I.P. not based in any of Atlus’ previous franchises. The news has come out through details leaked from a Famitsu interview with Atlus’ Naoto Hiraoka, due out December 22nd, in which they will apparently discuss the new studio and project – as was first reported by Gematsu here. Since the original article, details have begun to slowly emerge about the project, which is tentatively titled ‘Project Re Fantasy,’ and we decided it was about time we collected everything we know so far for you. See our ramblings below for more information.
Fans of the Shin Megami Tensei universe had an unexpected reason to rejoice yesterday, as details began to emerge that famed JRPG developer/publisher Atlus is working on a brand new I.P. through its brand new ‘Studio Zero’. The studio might be new but the talent is well established. Not only is the studio headed up by Persona 5 director Katsura Hashino but the first concept art to leak (which you can see above) comes from Persona character designer Shigenori Soejima. In a statement translated from the original Japanese on Studio Zero’s official website, Hashino cryptically refers to the team’s desire to create a new RPG that challenges the norms of the genre, just as Shin Megami Tensei and Persona have continued to do throughout the respective series. Further details from the Famitsu interview reveal that Hashino elaborates on this, when asked about the decision to choose a fantasy rather than contemporary setting he said,
“Until now, since the time fantasy went mainstream, Atlus has dared to create series set in contemporary times and cherished its stance of aiming to counter the typical. The series works from Persona 3 and onwards are the exact products of such thought. I had always held the thought that I someday want to challenge the traditional genre and deliver a title uniquely Atlus.”
Specific details about the project such as platforms or expected release date remain unknown but Hashino did later clarify that “while supported hardware is currently undecided, we’re making this game for those who love home console games and love Atlus games.” Given Atlus’ publishing history, this seems to indicate that at least a PS4 version is pretty much guaranteed. Eager fans shouldn’t read too much into the character design shown above, when asked about the image, Hashino said,
“The visual we released at this time is concept art to share our frame of mind. The character in the illustration made for the cover [of the magazine] isn’t necessarily the protagonist either.”
Two other images are apparently included with the magazine article but all artwork seems intended to visualise the studio’s overall concept for the game and shouldn’t be taken as finalised character art. Atlus will host a live stream from Japan on December 23rd at 8pm JST which will mark the official reveal and possibly bring us some further details for the title (Just to clarify, the stream will be in Japanese,) after which they will begin wide-scale recruiting for the game.
Exciting news for JRPG fans. You can be sure we’ll be bringing you all the news on the new title as it emerges from the land of the rising sun, if only because it means we get to hear more inappropriate quips about Japanese males’ love of schoolgirl panties from our long-suffering editor. Are you excited for a new Atlus’ title? Do you think they can bring their unique brand of contemporary RPG to the traditional fantasy setting and still give us something fresh? Let us know your take in the comments.