Project Prelude Rune canceled as Square Enix closes Studio Istolia

Square Enix has had its upcoming RPG Project Prelude Rune canceled. Additionally, the company closed down the game’s developer, Studio Istolia.

The brainchild of former Tales series producer Hideo Baba, Project Prelude Rune was canceled following a review by Square Enix. Talking to USgamer, a representative for the company stated that “following evaluation of various aspects of Project Prelude Rune, development of the title has been canceled.”

Additionally, the representative confirmed the shuttering of the game’s developer, Studio Istolia.  As part of this, Square Enix is now “taking the appropriate steps” to move former Istolia staff to other projects within the company.

Founded in February of 2017 the goal of Studio Istolia was to develop a “game with a warm, gentle, painting-esque expression.” Project Prelude Rune was supposed to be the end result of this. Announced for PlayStation 4 and running on Unreal Engine 4, the game impressed viewers with its unique art style.

However, the project hit a stumbling block when Baba resigned as its representative director in December of 2018 “to make room for the next generation.” Baba eventually resigned from Square Enix this past April.

Though shocking, Project Prelude Rune‘s cancellation isn’t actually surprising. Aside from a few screenshots, some artwork, and a now deleted trailer, neither Square Enix nor Studio Istolia had released any more details about the game since its 2017 reveal. The team likely encountered a number of undisclosed problems leading up to Baba’s resignation.

At the end of the day, canceled projects and closed studios are nothing new in the video game industry. Sometimes, even a beautiful and unique project just doesn’t make it out the of gate despite having a pedigreed producer at the helm. Here’s hoping however, that the spirit of Project Prelude Rune and the goals of Studio Istolia live in in whatever games its former staff work on next.