Atlus Game Director Katsura Hashino has left Persona and Shin Megami Tensei to revolutionise the fantasy genre with a new and original RPG.

Reported by Persona Central, Atlus Creative Producer and Game Director Katsura Hashino spoke to 4Gamer about 2018 and beyond Persona. After discussing his favourite game of the year, along with which individual he personally paid attention to the most, Hashino briefly mentioned that he is working on a new RPG that isn’t Shin Megami Tensei or Persona related:

“Aiming for an official announcement, I am producing an entirely new RPG which is neither “Megaten” nor “Persona” at the new studio. In any case, I believe it will be a work which hasn’t quite existed until now. What is the future of fantasy? We are progressing with everyone in the team, improving it day by day. Staying open-minded, I’m working straight ahead as to not lose my way, so I’d like to continue doing so in 2019.”

Katsura Hashino was the director for Persona 3, 4 and 5, as well as Catherine. After the release of Persona 5, he officially stepped down as series director to create Studio Zero. The game he is likely referring to in his interview with 4Gamer is Project Re: Fantasy; an enigma said to revolutionise the fantasy genre like J.R.R. Tolkein did with The Lord Of The Rings.

© Atlus/Studio Zero

The only thing we’ve seen of Project Re: Fantasy is concept art mostly depicting a woman in armour with fiery hair and pointy ears. This suggests that unlike the Persona games and Catherine, Hashino’s protagonist will be a leading lady. With Hashino also specifically mentioning that his new RPG isn’t Persona or Shin Megami Tensei related, one could speculate that the unannounced game will be a departure from the traditional turn-based combat Atlus and JRPGs are renowned for.

In his interview with 4Gamer, Hashino also spoke about Catherine: Full Body:

“As for Studio Zero, “Catherine: Full Body” will be released on February 14, 2019 ahead of the fantasy RPG. A more extreme drama with great additions to the story. From beginners to experienced players, I think that a wide range of people will be able to enjoy it. Please pick it up by all means.”

It’s likely that Hashino will ‘officially announce’ Project Re: Fantasy in more depth after the release of Catherine: Full Body. While it’s sad that he has left the Persona series after changing the franchise for the better with Persona 3 and perfecting the formula with Persona 5, his ambitious aim at revolutionising the fantasy genre like Tolkein did with The Lord Of The Rings is intriguing.

Project Re: Fantasy doesn’t have a release window, but a 2019 or 2020 release isn’t too implausible with job listings back in 2017 suggesting it was PS4 bound.