ATLUS 35th Anniversary Project Metaphor: Refantazio World, Story, and Character Details Revealed!

Written by Ren

23 December 2023

Refantazio World and Character - 01 KV

December 21, 2023 – Details on ATLUS’s Studio Zero RPG production, Metaphor: ReFantazio have been released. Read on for information on the creators and artists behind the game, its unique world and story, and its characters. There’s also a message from Director Katsura Hashino at the end, so we hope you enjoy.

Metaphor: ReFantazio is scheduled to release in fall 2024 on Xbox Series X|S, Windows, PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, and Steam.

 

■ About Metaphor: ReFantazio

 

・A New Undertaking That Captures the Essence of ATLUS

 

ATLUS is a console game developer that was formed in 1986. It has garnered popularity across the globe, with its Persona series reaching 17 million* units sold worldwide. In 2024, ATLUS will celebrate its 35th anniversary as a publishing brand.

ATLUS has worked on many contemporary stories, such as Shin Megami Tensei and Persona, and provided players with its own unique worlds and experiences. After the immense success of Persona 5, ATLUS is now set to explore the realm of classic fantasy.

A fantastical story that could not have been explored within the framework of modernity. This anniversary project offers a fresh new take on the fantasy RPG genre. Rather than seeking solace in the past, this new adventure has been driven by a philosophy of creativity and empathy and aims to break new ground.

*As of December 21, 2023

 

・A Groundbreaking Project Helmed by Renowned Creators and Artists

 

A team of internationally recognized creators, who have earned accolades at various game awards, have assembled for this project to develop a totally new fantasy RPG, including director Katsura Hashino, character designer Shigenori Soejima, and composer Shoji Meguro. The team behind this project has an illustrious history, having developed Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5. Notably, Persona 5 has become the biggest hit of the franchise, reaching 10 million units sold worldwide.

 

Creators:

 

o Director: Katsura Hashino (Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne, Persona 3, 4, 5)
o Character Designer: Shigenori Soejima (Persona 3, 4, 5)
o Composer: Shoji Meguro (Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne, Persona 3, 4, 5)

Joining this incredible team of creators is a team of equally exceptional artists, all united in their goal to deliver an out-of-this-world production.

 

Artists:

 

o Concept artist Kazuma Koda (NieR:Automata)

 

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o Gauntlet runner designer Ikuto Yamashita (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

 

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・The Story, the Art and Sound, the Mechanics, All Unique

 

Story:

 

 

Lose track of time and immerse yourself. Mysterious and unpredictable events unfold in a realm replete with the anxieties and aspirations of its inhabitants, calling you on a grand journey with plenty to experience.

 

Art and Sound:

 

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Distinctive and charming character designs. Beautiful and fantastical background art throughout the game’s world. With stylish UI based on Western painting tradition, even just browsing the menus provides a sense of excitement.

In addition, the game provides a new musical experience with a blend of orchestra, world music, choir, and chants, a sound developed from a reinterpretation of religious music.

 

Mechanics:

 

 

A unique battle system combining quick action with turn-based combat. An unbelievably comfortable play tempo and exhilarating graphics. Players are given a high degree of freedom and ability to strategize, realized through Archetypes, a mechanic at the pinnacle of party customization.

Ride gauntlet runners on a journey to change the world. The Daily Life mechanics present in the Persona series have evolved, allowing you to experience an entirely new type of journey.

 

■ The Game’s Story

 

・Setting

 

A world separate from our own, inhabited by 8 different tribes. Within one corner of this world exists the Kingdom of Euchronia.

The kingdom is an alliance of nations that began with its valiant first king and saw unification and governance over the ages by the powerful royal bloodline in its immense magical prowess. However, the kingdom began to decay over the long years, now deteriorating into a land without virtue divided by prejudice and disparity.

In addition to the vicious animals roaming its vast territory, the land is inundated with mysterious creatures known as “humans,” meaning not even the smallest of safe spaces remains outside of the cities.

Then, the kingdom’s prince and king are assassinated, bringing even further confusion and anxiety to its citizens who now have no ruler.

 

 

・Prologue

A young man embarks on a journey to lift a curse, with a fairy by his side.

The Elda are a minority tribe shunned in the Kingdom of Euchronia.
The protagonist, a young Elda, is traveling alongside his fairy partner, Gallica, to lift the curse placed upon the kingdom’s prince.

There is only one way to lift the deadly curse that eats away at the prince: Take the life of its caster.

 

 

As the young man travels across the vast continent, he will have many chance meetings, form bonds, and eventually learn the truth of the kingdom.

 

 

The curtain unfolds after a terrible incident shakes the entire kingdom…

 

 

・Introduction

 

A race for the throne decided by majority vote, imposed by the power of magic.

 

 

Just over ten years have passed since the Kingdom of Euchronia’s crown prince was assassinated. Then, the king himself is cut down, leaving the kingdom in chaos without any ruler or heir to the throne. Who will be the next king? The sanctifex serving as head of the state religion, a lord or lady of a nearby nation, or perhaps a leader of the military…? As the royal funeral is carried out with various powerful parties all vying for the throne, a spell is unexpectedly cast at the funeral site.

 

 

Time is finite before my soul departs this benighted world… Come October, there shall be a reckoning. A Day of the Hero. Upon that day, whosoever hath truly earned the greatest faith of the citizenry… shall ascend to throne and crown by right of kings.

Ringing in the sky was the voice of the king who had been declared dead. He had a grand spell set to activate upon his death that would pit every one of his citizens against one another in a race for the throne, to be decided by popular vote.

The people descend into utter chaos at the thought of electing their own king for the very first time. However, our protagonist decides he must throw himself into the fray in order to accomplish his mission.

And so begins the great race for the throne, to be carried out all across the kingdom. Over the course of his journey, he finds various allies to join him. What awaits them is a grand journey that will change the world as they know it.

 

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■ Characters

 

・ The Protagonist Elda and His Fairy

 

Protagonist (voiced by Natsuki Hanae)
*Named by the player

 

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A young man traveling alongside his fairy partner, Gallica, to lift the deadly curse placed upon his longtime best friend, the kingdom’s prince.

Because he is of the elda tribe, he has been shunned by others and is looked upon with contempt and prejudice. This minority tribe has been labeled by the state religion of Sanctism as filth, and is said to possess dangerous magic which goes against its teachings.

 

Gallica (voiced by Sumire Morohoshi)

 

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A fairy who acts as the protagonist’s travel companion, and is also on special orders to assist in saving the prince.

She’s unable to fight due to her small stature, but her constitution as a fairy gives her special insight into magic and allows her to sense magla to a greater extent than the protagonist. While she sometimes speaks harshly when her values differ from others’, she is a reliable friend to have on a journey.

 

・Allies of Differing Backgrounds

 

Within this society rife with discrimination, allies belonging to various tribes come to join the protagonist. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to change the world, and when they come into contact with the protagonist’s awakened power, Heroic Embodiment (Archetype), they become able to use it as well.

 

Strohl (voiced by Kensho Ono)

 

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A clemar man met at the capital’s recruitment centre.

A good man with a sharp mind who values justice, but given he’s enlisted among commoners despite his noble stature, it seems he’s under some complicated circumstances.

 

Hulkenberg (voiced by Saori Hayami)

 

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A roussainte knight originally assigned to guard the prince.

She served by his side as a royal guard.
Deftly skilled in the use of many different weapons, the proficiency cited upon her recommendation for the royal guard at a young age is clearly genuine. However, after the attack on the prince, she came to terms with her own disgrace and became a wanderer, lamenting her failure to protect her liege.

 

Heismay (voiced by Akio Otsuka)

 

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A eugief former knight.

As is characteristic of his tribe, he is very perceptive of noise, with the ability to sense minute changes through sounds that are imperceptible to others.

Eugiefs face no small amount of discrimination for their unique appearance, and it seems that Heismay has his own complicated past as well.

 

■ World

 

・A World in Which Feelings of Anxiety Are Visible to the Eye

 

A Link With The Real World:

 

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This story takes place in the Kingdom of Euchronia, formed by an alliance of three nations. Eight different tribes reside within its borders.

To the player, this is a world of fantasy; however, the people living in this fantasy world naturally have a fantasy of their own:

In this world, there is only one tribe. All people accept each other, and no soul is born into discrimination.

In such a world, there is no need for sorcery. A megapolis is built through learning and labour. Towers of glass that reach the heavens. Safe nights with no dark shadows. Busy streets well travelled. And in the laws of these emotionally satisfied people, it reads: All lives are equal.

This is the fantasy dreamt of by denizens of this fantastical world, and to the player, it sounds much like the reality they know. Each side considers the other’s world to be fiction, something that could not possibly exist. But is it truly impossible? Rather, have we not merely been convinced that there are things beyond our power to change? The key to this is our anxiety. This simple yet fundamental theme is explored throughout Metaphor: ReFantazio.

 

A Power That Only Awakens in Those Who Face Their Anxiety:

 

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The term “magic” refers to the ability to bring about unnatural phenomena through the use of magla. However, the Kingdom of Euchronia’s people are unable to use magic with their own power alone.

A special tool called a magic igniter is required, and usage and ownership of these require explicit permission. The protagonist and his allies will awaken to a power that goes against the common sense of the land, mastering it over the course of their journey.

This is the long-lost power Archetype, awakened when one faces their own fear and anxiety. In other words, the heroic traits dormant within them surge forth.

 

・The Eight Tribes

 

The people of the Kingdom of Euchronia are separated into tribes that do not exist in reality. While they do have varying physical features, what is considered important among the tribes is their differing temperaments and perspectives.

The barriers that stand between these tribes prove to stem less from differences in physical appearance and more from their independent ideals and beliefs. While we would consider such things susceptible to change, to the people of this kingdom, their world in which a person’s life is greatly influenced by their birth is reality.

As you, the player, progress through the story and learn more about each tribe, you may find that you share similarities with one or more of them.

 

The Clemar:

 

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This tribe boasts the largest population within the kingdom.

The horns growing on both sides of their heads serve as their defining physical feature. With average builds and physical ability, there’s no particularly superior aspect to them, but they also have few shortcomings.

They are often considered to be at the heart of the kingdom due to their occupancy of many influential government positions, the most prominent example being the Euchronian royal family. And for their part, they have unconsciously internalized this to hold a certain amount of truth.

They value freedom and despise unreasonable restrictions. Their desire to optimize anything and everything through debate and their failure to reconsider this approach under any circumstances have brought about undesired conflict on no few occasions.

 

The Roussainte:

 

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This tribe has the second largest population behind the Clemar.

Their long, pointed ears serve as their defining physical feature. They have impressive builds and physical ability, meaning a Roussainte woman will often have greater might than men of other tribes. As such, many of them are in the military, with many of its top seats held by people of this tribe. This is part of the reason they are viewed to be about as influential as the Clemar, with these two sometimes referred to as the primary tribes of the kingdom.

Many Roussaintes find pride in holding strength superior to others. This could be considered a commendable trait in that they simply wish to engage in mutual competition, but on the other hand, there are a number of Roussaintes with a thirst for conflict and a desire to define all things in terms of winning and losing.

 

The Rhoag:

 

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A tribe known for its long life.

Their lifespans are of incredible length, with some living over twice the average of other tribes. At the same time, they have a unique aging process: they reach adulthood in about the same amount of time as other tribes, meaning their middle-aged and elderly days span the great majority of their lifetime. For this reason, an elderly appearance is what typically comes to mind when speaking of them.

As a matter of course, they hold many high positions in organizations based around tradition. Their culture highly values the propagation of knowledge and ideals, and it’s even said that Rhoags won’t forget a debt for three generations.

Many Rhoags have unique patterns visible on their faces, but this is done with a traditional kind of makeup and does not occur naturally.

 

The Ishkia:

 

A tribe graced with beautiful wings.

Their faces are also striking, with almond eyes and long eyelashes. Their population is the smallest of the eight tribes, but they are said to have heightened intelligence and actually have a strong sense of presence in the cities.

In fact, many make use of their intelligence in important positions as sanctors or scholars, and a number of them are quite wealthy. With this and their looks, they are often the target of admiration, but because many of them are accustomed to treating others as inferior, they also receive an equal amount of hatred.

 

The Nidia:

 

A tribe with large eyes of a distinctive hue.

Their pupils take up an increased proportion of their eyes, and their pupils and irises are colored with a prismatic rainbow shine.

While they do not have any especially superior aspects to them, they are quite social, and it is said that many of them are adept at winning the hearts of others. However, that disposition is often construed negatively, leading them to be labeled as untrustworthy sweet-talkers or simply eccentric.

 

The Paripus:

 

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A tribe with ears and tails reminiscent of beasts.

Their fur and the color of their skin varies greatly among them, with some having somewhat cool colors that are unseen in other tribes.

They have considerable physical ability and are quite physical people, many of them holding hedonist values along with all the virtues and vices that come with them. They enjoy revelry and have the strength of not getting hung up on details, but this often presents itself as thoughtlessness.

As such, they have been unable to gain any political advantage despite being a major tribe similar in number to the Clemar and Roussainte, and they are somewhat looked down upon by the other tribes.

This is especially true in the cities.

 

The Eugief:

 

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A tribe of small stature, with wings and ears similar to those of a bat. On top of their unique appearance and small population, many of them are nocturnal and can see well at night, and their sense of hearing is well-developed, all of this leading to no small amount of revulsion and discrimination. As a result, most of them are forced to lead less than comfortable lives, and they have a low status among the tribes.

The majority of them have a gentle demeanor and value harmony. However, the other side to this is that they struggle to make big decisions and often get stuck in their tracks out of too much consideration of others. This is another factor contributing to their lower status.

 

The Mustari:

 

A tribe with a third eye on their foreheads.

Their unique masks and way of dress make them quite eerie to others. While they are not a minority tribe as such, most of them live on the islands out in the sea, so they are not commonly encountered. Because they follow their own religion separate from Sanctism, they often face persecution on the mainland and are referred to as pagans. They have an air of mystery.

 

・The Monsters Known As Humans

 

Hieronymus Bosch, a Renaissance-era painter whose life is shrouded in mystery, was known for his fantastical and unnerving art style, and is said to be the first person in the world to draw a “monster”. After a process of development from his paintings, a number of creatures based on these warped creations were born.

These are enigmatic monsters known as humans, of unsettling shapes unseen among any type of animal. Each one has a huge amount of magla running rampant within its body, and indiscriminately attacks everything around it.

There are many mysteries surrounding their true nature, such as their ability to utilize difficult spells despite their apparent madness and lack of intelligence. Their bodies are tough as well, and large ones have been known to make short work of squads of soldiers.

 

Homo Gorleo

 

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This human attacked the army fort positioned in the wilderness north of Royal Capital Grand Trad. All on its own, the terrible monster completely wiped out the squad stationed at the fort.

 

Homo Avades

 

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A human with a body like an eggshell, truly difficult to describe. It is gigantic even compared to other large humans and poses such extreme danger that it could potentially destroy an entire city.

If one were to point out a common factor among the irregular appearances of the humans, it would be that they all have certain features that look like the body parts of people.

 

■ Message from the Director, Katsura Hashino

 

“This game was made with the simple message that if we can just properly face our own anxiety, we’ll be able to move forward, even if it’s just one step.

So long as society is composed of individuals, I want to believe in the dynamism of creation and its potential to change people. Taking on this genre for the first time, I’ve thought to myself that that is likely what lies at the core of fantasy, and may be the reason that so many people have been drawn to it over the ages.

Setting aside the complicated talk, our development team has been working on this game with the hope that you’ll find it fun above all else, so we would appreciate your continued support.”

– ATLUS Studio Zero Creative Director Katsura Hashino

*All footage shown is from the Japanese edition of the game which is still under development. English support will be available on release.

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