Yesterday, Square Enix announced a new RPG IP code named “Project Prelude Rune,” with former Tales Producer Hideo Baba at the helm, tasked with forming a new team named Studio Istolia.
Today, Weekly Famitsu published an interview with Baba-san, including a new piece of concept artwork that you can see at the bottom of the post.
Baba-san also gives more information on what happened in the period during which he basically completely disappeared from the public scene, only to pop back up at Square Enix.
He mentioned that his career had reached a point in which he was responsible for a big IP, and had a lot of responsibilities outside of game development, often leaning more towards the business side of things. He felt that it was time to leave that IP in the capable hands of younger staff, so he decided to retire.
On the other hand, he had seen Square Enix from the outside, perceiving an image of a company that values the stories of its RPGs and works hard on them. After thinking about all the games that he could still make, he decided to challenge developing RPGs again. That’s why he knocked at Square Enix’s door back in October 2016, with the intention to start from scratch. There, he met President Yosuke Matsuda and received the support of many developers that shared his goals.
We also learn that Baba-san would like to create a game based on the feel of the manga and anime that he used to enjoy when he was young, while going back to the roots of fantasy, with an high fantasy RPG depicting a world view based on Nordic Mythology, including various races like drwarfs and elves.
At the moment the platforms for the game are still under consideration, and Baba-san explains that he doesn’t yet know what will be decided. Yet, there is one thing that he is willing to say: he has a strong desire to stick to consoles. Of course, he admits that business opportunities are expanding, so he would still like to also consider all the platforms with good business outlooks, including smartphones.
There are also good news for western gamers: while the local Japanese market remains a focus, Baba-san wishes to let foreign gamers play his games, so he’d like to challenge the worldwide market as well.
Last, but not least, he acknowledged that those who enjoyed his games in the past may have been surprised by the announcement of his departure, but he will take this as a new challenge. He encourages his fans to watch over his work warmly, knowing that he will do his best at Square Enix, and to look forward to the content that he will create. He hopes to deliver a game worthy of Square Enix’s name.