Fresh off the success of Final Fantasy XV, Square-Enix has announced a new studio, Studio Istolia, as well as a new RPG, Project Prelude Rune.
Headed by the former series producer of Namco’s Tales of series, Hideo Baba, who brings over eighteen years of industry experience to the new studio, Istolia’s goal is “to further build onto Square-Enix Group’s vision to create new IP alongside existing Square-Enix studios.”
Project Prelude Rune will be the first IP coming out of the studio, envisioned as an animated RPG with a unique fantasy and the premise that “the many peoples of this land dare to dream fighting for what is just—and this is their tale.”
The etymology of the studio name is derived from the Greek word for history, fitting given Istolia’s goal to tell stories that have “strong messages” and “become supporting songs of life.”
The concept art released seems to support the studio’s ambitious and heartfelt designs, the color pallet and character design certainly adhering to a fantasy aesthetic, but far from dark or gritty. With a design philosophy of creating games to make players smile and improve their happiness, Baba seems to be working towards a much-needed company whose goal is the wellbeing of the consumer.
While the details of Project Prelude Rune remain a mystery, this dual announcement seems like just the news Square-Enix needs to continue its momentum. With many positions open for recruitment within the studio, we may not see the new IP for some time,but Baba has truly whetted the appetite of the industry with this heartfelt announcement.