What was initially known as Project ReFantasy, is now evolved into Metaphor: ReFantazio, as Atlus revealed during the Xbox Games and Bethesda 2023 showcase, for Xbox Series X|S and PC.
Katsura Hoshino, Shigenori Soejima, and Shoji Meguro team up once again to bring forth a new Fantasy JRPG. Developed by Studio Zero, this game is described as:
Enter the mirror of reality… into the pinnacle of fantasy. Write your destiny and rise above fear as you step into a fantasy world unlike anything you’ve seen before. Fraught with unsettling mystery, the kingdom stands on a precipice. Now, you must embark on a journey, overcoming obstacles and forging bonds with friends.
This will be a new challenge for the team as this will be their first foray into the Fantasy genre that is not their previous titles like Shin Megami Tensei or Persona, as said by Director Hoshino’s message to the players.
In the trailer, it begins with the question, “What if the World we live in today is their utopia?”. We then see our new protagonist, only known as the Traveling Boy. We see the settings spread between lower slums to upper-class cities. We also get glimpses of both menu and gameplay. As expected of Soejima, the menu design and User interface are nothing but stylish and polished of his works. We also see the battle menu and how you can tell the callbacks and references to their other titles.
From what I’ve been able to gather from the trailer and media provided, the theme will revolve around books and one’s conception of fantasy and reality. It will bring in ideas of one’s faith, and other people’s realities. In one part of the trailer, we see the protagonist in a place called the Akademeia where we see him learn archetypes, inheriting skills, and Seeker’s research. Likely the place where you will upgrade your stats like with the Cathedral of Shadows or the Velvet Room.
The class system in which our party can summon and transform to battle is akin to the Persona and Digital Devil Saga series. We also see that the stat return, so aspects like Courage, Wisdom, and Tolerance will be essential. Also returning is a date/calendar system, so whether or not certain events have a deadline is possible. The trailer then wraps up with one of the characters saying that Fantasy is more than an empty dream.
At the moment, it is set to release on Xbox Series systems and Game Pass in 2024. Whether or not it will come to other systems is yet to be determined.