Square Enix announced the mysterious Project Prelude Rune in February 2017, but the game has been rather quiet since. Recent reports indicated that the game was in development hell, as the website and social media accounts for Prelude Rune were shut down earlier this week. However, it looks like those reports got things a bit wrong, as Square Enix has officially canceled the game.
The announcement came yesterday, May 14th, alongside the news that Studio Istolia has been closed down as well. The employees of Istolia will be relocated to other development teams within Square Enix, so at least those devs aren’t out of a job.
Notably, the studio shutdown and game cancellation have been timed to coincide with the departure of Game Director Hideo Baba who left Studio Istolia earlier this week. The studio was created at Square Enix specifically for Prelude Rune with Baba at the head, so it isn’t much of a surprise that the studio shut down when he left. However, it is an absolute shame considering what the game could have been.
Project Prelude Rune was intended to be a high budget PS4 exclusive JRPG that took inspiration from western fantasy tales. The official announcement described the game as building “a new RPG with a new fantasy: unfolding across a vast land teeming with life. Nurtured by the earth, the many peoples of this land dare to dream, fighting for what is just—and this is their tale.”
The game’s only trailer was debuted at Tokyo Game Show 2018.