Metaphor: ReFantazio talked about the direction of the game’s development and how it will blend the lessons learned from Persona and Shin Megami Tensei into something entirely new.
Shin Megami Tensei and Persona have been the two mainstays of Atlus for quite some time and Metaphor will be in that same vein. The two IPs share some core Pokemon-style collection concepts, with combat prowess coming from creating, capturing, or collecting monsters that serve different thematic purposes. They differed in their approach to storytelling, with Shin Megami Tensei defined by post-apocalyptic hellscapes where the world needs to be rebuilt and Persona being an urban fantasy with high school students facing supernatural hardships.
Game director Katsura Hashino is describing Metaphor as a third pillar for Atlus, but it will be a big departure from the previous two IPs. The game opts for a full-fledged fantasy take on the Atlus formula, introducing races like elves and changing the story goals completely. It’s a new frontier for Atlus and the company discussed the new and how it relates to its established franchises.
How is Metaphor: ReFantazio inspired by Shin Megami Tensei?
Metaphor follows a similar core narrative to the Shin Megami Tensei games by having the player engage in a competition to decide who will rule the new world and how it will be ruled.
The story of Metaphor: ReFantazio revolves around an election that takes place in the United Kingdom of Euchronia after the assassination of its king. The rite of succession allows anyone to become king, with the player traveling the lands to gain favor among the various races and tribes that make up the kingdom. Along the way, they make friends and allies on this journey for supremacy.
This is very close to Shin Megami Tensei games, especially the mainline ones where the protagonist fights in wars between angels and demons. These often end with the protagonist taking the throne and siding with one faction or staying neutral.
The fairy companion in Metaphor: ReFantazio is also a clear homage to every starting pixie companion in Shin Megami Tensei games. It’s not clear if Metaphor will have different paths and decision elements like Shin Megami Tensei, but fans of the series will recognize some of these tropes.
How is Metaphor: ReFantazio inspired by Persona?
Metaphor will have a day-night cycle and calendar system for story progression similar to Persona, The player character also has a variety of stats that can be upgraded to gain more advantages in the election tournament that might not directly improve their combat prowess.
As seen in the gameplay trailer, the election will take place over a long period of time. Players will have to weigh the amount of time spent persuading citizens, deepening relationships with allies, fighting monsters, and more.
“The time allotted for travel within the world of Metaphor is limited. Maybe you could travel for just a week or two weeks or you might have only three days to accomplish what you want,” Hashino said.
The director wanted to portray a realistic and grounded travel experience where arrivals and departures carry weight. The gameplay will still follow a turn-based RPG approach, but it’s unclear if the characters will be able to use the effects and powers of the monsters they fight just like Persona and Shin Megami Tensei.
Previously, the creator spoke about how this game deals with Jungian archetypes and divides them into classes like Warrior or Knight. He didn’t delve into how these classes will affect the gameplay or how the player gains power through them.
Metaphor: ReFantazio will also include an option to defeat a weaker opponent almost instantly, similar to Ryuji’s Auto-Kill ability in Persona 5. The feature was controversial initially, but was adjusted in Persona 5 Royal. The feature streamlines the grinding process without removing rewards and the ability to interact with allies.
It seems like every Atlus RPG will have a level of influence in Metaphor, though the setting will definitively establish it as its own entity. Fans can look forward to the game arriving in 2024 following Persona 3 Reload. It also sounds as though fans won’t have to worry about a delay, either.
Hashino stated that the development of Metaphor: ReFantazio is nearing completion. The developers have been working with industry veterans such as concept artist Koda Kazuma from the NieR series and mechanical designer Ikuto Yamashita from Neon Genesis Evangelion, as well as returning character artist Shigenori Soejima and music composer Shoji Meguro, all of whom have contributed to various titles in the Megami Tensei franchise.