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.