Hideo Baba Talks Leaving Bandai Namco, New Square Enix Studio, Project Prelude Rune RPG

This week’s Famitsu (via HachimaFamitsu) has an interview with former Tales of series producer Hideo Baba, where he talks up his recently announced RPG, and his new studio within Square Enix.

While Baba doesn’t give specific reasons for his departure from Bandai Namco, he said that he felt it was the right time to pass on the Tales series to his younger staff, after being given direction of a big IP. It was a turning point for him, so he decided to leave the company.

Baba said he thought about how many more games he’ll be able to produce now and in the future, and he wanted a chance at fighting among the big players in the RPG genre. Coming from this, he approached Square Enix in October of last year. Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda said he wanted Baba to make a new IP, while recruiting new talent.

As mentioned in our previous report, Studio Istolia is a new company focused on creators that craft new stories, hence the origins of the Greek name. The company’s mascot (seen on their official site) was designed by Toshiyuki Itahana, known for his work on the Chocobo series. It doesn’t have a name yet, however Baba hopes to incorporate it in upcoming games.

The setting for Project Prelude Rune is described as being focused on warmth and compassion. Baba noted that it won’t have a blood or violent feeling, instead he hopes to make a world that is totally inviting to new players. He went further to describe the world as being inspired from anime and manga he knew since he was a little kid.

Baba described the game as being a no-nonsense, middle-fantasy RPG, filled with various races like dwarves, elves, and even things from Norse mythology. He also refuses to drop what he described as the “Baba-ness” of a game, meaning the focus on character growth and the overall emphasis on a core message.

Finally, Baba wouldn’t talk release dates or what platforms, but he naturally said they’re absolutely leaning towards consoles. He said they’re considering platforms with a large base, like smartphones. Baba also said he wants to bring the game overseas.

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Brandon Orselli


Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive.

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  1. NeoTruth
    February 21, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Hopefully the younger staff take the tales series in a good direction, improving from the older titles.

    The route mechanic from Symphonia returning would also be nice.

  2. Migs
    February 22, 2017 at 2:52 am

    >he said that he felt it was the right time to pass on the Tales series to his younger staff

    More like he was told get the fuck out because of how much he ruined 2 of the Tales series Anniversary titles. I cannot believe SE actually wanted this guy.

  3. No_Good_Names_Ever
    February 22, 2017 at 4:26 am

    “I cannot believe SE actually wanted this guy”
    It’s Square; I don’t know how that’s not easily believable.

  4. epy
    February 22, 2017 at 7:15 am

    I haven’t played Tales of since Xillia but I was under the impression this guy was popular. Has he done such a bad job?

  5. Lezard Valeth
    Lezard Valeth
    February 22, 2017 at 8:46 am

    I enjoyed Xillia but I think it’s mainly because of Zestiria, was such a bad tales and with the Alisha drama. I would believe his reputation began to fall here.

  6. Lezard Valeth
    Lezard Valeth
    February 22, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Berseria was really nice and he wasn’t so much involved into it so…yeah i guess it’s a good time for him to leave.

  7. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    February 22, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Knowing Square, a fortune teller probably told them to take him.

  8. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    February 22, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Hopefully the younger staff realize that that Tales audience is on Nintendo platforms.

    It’s time to abandon Playstation.

  9. Zero Eternity
    Zero Eternity
    February 22, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    warmth and compassion, yet no nonsense rpg, yet no blood or violent feeling?… okay I’m sensing a contradiction here.

  10. Travis Touchdown
    Travis Touchdown
    February 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Hmm… the Gamecube entry is the second best selling installment despite the ‘poor’ install base of the console.

    Really makes you think.

  11. SiliconNooB
    February 25, 2017 at 2:54 am

    So he’s basically going to be making Tales of kmock-offs…

  12. SiliconNooB
    February 25, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Setting Alisha aside for the moment, Zestiria was a bad game with bad pacing.

  13. SiliconNooB
    February 25, 2017 at 2:59 am

    I like how the PS3 remake of Graces sold more than the Wii original.

  14. Donwel
    February 25, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I still need to get round to finishing Hearts R as well.