Atlus’ new fantasy-meets-Persona RPG launches in October

Metaphor: ReFantazio is the inscrutable name for Atlus’ next RPG project. The company launched a new trailer and a 30-minute video introducing players to the story, gameplay, and social elements of the game, and at first blush, it looks pretty damn intriguing. Check out the gameplay video below.

Metaphor: ReFantazio is an action RPG from Studio Zero, a new internal studio spun up in 2016 and headed by Katsura Hashino. Atlus really wants you to know the bona fides of the developers working on Metaphor. Hashino himself worked on Shin Megami Tensei III, Persona 3, 4, and 5. The game’s mechanical designer is Ikuto Yamashita, who helped design the mechs in Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Shoji Meguro, who did the music for the Persona series, has returned to work on Metaphor. In one of the gameplay video’s funnier moments, it’s revealed that all the combat music is the result of a magic spell that plays music in the protagonist’s head.

The game combines real-time action combat with tactical turn-based gameplay. Weaker enemies you can kill in one blow without the need to slow down the game with turn-based fighting. But for tougher opponents, you can attack them to weaken them and gain the element of surprise before calling in your party members to finish them off in turn-based combat. Based on the video, it looks like Atlus is remixing Persona-style combat with an action RPG twist that looks pretty interesting.

Another element Atlus shared was the game’s social activities. The gameplay video didn’t expressly state there would be no fast travel in Metaphor; rather, the protagonist and crew will get from place to place riding a vehicle straight out of Howl’s Moving Castle. It was called the Gauntlet Runner, a large RV-type contraption that uses huge legs to move. While you travel to your next destination, you can use the time to get to know your party members, cook stat-boosting food, or take a nap.

With Metaphor: ReFantazio, it certainly seems Atlus has made another RPG hit, dripping with artistic style. (Atlus’ menu game remains unmatched.) Better yet, Atlus has shared the game’s release date: October 11th on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.

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