Metaphor: ReFantazio ‘ATLUS Exclusive’ introduces story, setting, and characters

Publisher ATLUS and developer Studio Zero have released the third “ATLUS Exclusive” showcase video for Metaphor: ReFantazio, which introduces the game’s story, setting, and characters.

Watch the footage below, including a full transcript. If you missed it earlier, watch the story trailer here.

■ Introduction

Hello, everyone. I am Katsura Hashino, the director of Metaphor. Shin Megami Tensei III, Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5. We have been conducting a PR campaign—a world tour, if you will—and at Anime Expo which took place in Los Angeles, California, we provided details on the game’s setting and story. In this ATLUS Exclusive Metaphor: ReFantazio story version, we would like to introduce more about the narrative and the characters. The registration for digital pre-order and wishlist are open, so please be sure to pre-order or wishlist.

Before we begin I would like to preface just in case that this introduction is limited to the opening section of the story. However, for those who would like to enjoy the story without knowing anything at all, please feel free to end the video here and please look forward to the release of the title.

Is everyone ready? Now it is time to begin this presentation on the story. We hope you will stay until the end.

■ Premise of the Story

The game depicts a story of weaving bonds and becoming a king in a unique setting. The setting is a kingdom in turmoil rocked by a major incident in which the king is assassinated. The protagonist, a young boy, is on a journey with his partner, the fairy Gallica, to save a cursed prince. However, in the midst of all this an unprecedented election magic is invoked. The protagonist is swept into this unprecedented upheaval and ends up embarking on a journey around the world. In this exclusive showcase, let me share with you the beginning part of the story explaining why the protagonist decides to pursue the throne and some details on the allies who will support him.

Monsters Called “Humans”

First of all, what threats are the people of this world under? I would like to talk about the biggest cause for this, the monsters known as “humans.”

In the setting for Metaphor, the atmosphere is filled with particles of anxiety created by people’s feelings of anxiety. This is the source of the magic of this world, which impacts the world in various ways. The particles called “magla” are sucked up and collected by a special device in the city. It is widely known in this world, for example, as a source of funding for this kingdom. In recent years, the amount of magma has increased and monsters have arisen in response. The most prominent example of this is the monster known as “human.”

The design of the human was inspired by the many fantastic paintings left behind by the medieval artist Hieronymus Bosch. The mysterious creatures in Bosch’s paintings are sometimes described as the world’s first depiction of monsters or fantasy creatures. Metaphor has invited guest artists such as Koda Kazuma for background concept art, Ikuto Yamashita for the Gauntlet Runner designs, and Yuji Himukai for some Archetype designs. For this title, Hieronymus Bosch can be seen as the fourth great guest artist to join, lending us his hand. The protagonists will meet people suffering from these monstrous threats, and their journey will be filled with turbulence. N

World Affairs

Now let’s talk about what sort of situation this world is in. The story takes place in the “United Kingdom of Euchronia,” a country that was originally divided into three separate countries that were then annexed into one. However, the power of the royal family has already waned and a cadre of officials from the state religion known as “Sanctism” now effectively rule the country. At the top of the list is Sanctifex Forden. The aging king had no heir, and many of the people were beginning to look to the moderate Forden as their next leader to avoid political instability. On the other hand, there are a few who do not agree with Forden and the Sanctist vision.

The person leading the charge on that end is a man named Louis, who at a young age became a powerful military elite. Louis is a man who declares that the kingdom has become infested with humans because of the anxiety brought about by the king and Sanctism, and he seeks to protect the weak who follow him from the monsters by force of arms. He is also a charismatic figure with a growing number of enthusiastic sympathizers in various locations. The story of Metaphor opens with a shocking scene in which Louis assassinates the king with his own hands. In fact, Louis is a great traitor who not only killed the king, but also plotted the assassination of the prince who was heir to the throne. Now that the king has been killed, if Louis wins the battle with Forden, a man who killed two generations of the royal family could potentially become the next king—a situation that the supporters of the royal family would risk their lives to prevent.

So far we have revealed that the protagonist is traveling with the fairy Gallica to save the cursed prince. But in fact, his mission is to defeat Louis, the one who casted the curse. From the beginning of the story, the protagonist and Gallica have been on a mission to assassinate the treasonist, Louis.

■ Purpose of the Journey

Assassinating Louis is a tremendous journey for the protagonist unnamed boy and his partner Gallica. The symbol of Louis’s power is the Charadrius, the world’s only flying gauntlet runner, which also serves as his headquarters. However, the protagonist encounters a human before he even meets Louis, and in the process, he awakens an Archetype—a power of heroism that lies deep within him—and he survives, albeit painfully.

The protagonists make their attempt on Louis’s life at the royal funeral. However, the face of the king, who should already be dead, appears in the sky, and a proclamation is made that the next in line to the throne will be the one who is most desired by the people. This is the result of a formidable magic power inherited only by the king, from generation to generation, which he had arranged to be triggered upon his death. Thus, an unprecedented upheaval ensues, with the entire population of Euchronia competing to gather support by a set deadline.

Election Magic

This is the background of the invocation of the election magic, which is the first turning point in the story. Immediately after this magic is invoked, the king’s face in the sky above shows the current popularity rankings and the faces of Forden and Louis appear, big and bold. In other words, at the start of the story, we are at the beginning of a conflict between two huge forces: Santifex Forden, who is in effect, the ruler of the country, and Louis, a charismatic rebel in the military. In the process, the protagonist decides to jump into the turbulent journey for the throne in order to save the prince, his best friend since childhood, and to take Louis’s life for that purpose.

■ Travel Companions

Now let us introduce you to the allies who will join the protagonist.

Gallica

Gallica, the fairy who has been with you since the beginning of your journey, is your partner who guides you along the way and provides you with direction. Fairies are rare in this world, and although they cannot participate directly in battle, they are especially important because they are companions who can help confirm plans and provide local information, guiding the protagonist in both nagging and kind ways, so that he does not get lost. However, she sometimes gets complaints from other team members saying that they can’t sleep from the sound of her wings when she flies around while they sleep.

More

Here is the keeper of Akademeia, the facility for Archetype customization, who I mentioned in another video. His name is More. More is the author of one of the key items in the game, the fantasy novel that the protagonist carries. He is imprisoned in this mysterious space. He is well-versed in a variety of knowledge and offers various advice to the protagonists as they research their Archetypes. He is also a supporter and one of the followers we introduced in another video, meaning you can nurture your bond with him. As a person who has been exploring this world since his youth, he as a follower, governs the “Seeker” Archetype lineage. The Seeker, which the protagonist first awakens, belongs to this overarching Seeker lineage.

Grius

The story begins with the protagonist being assigned the mission of sending a message to an ally. Due to strict confidentiality, only Gallica was informed of the details of the message, namely the mission to assassinate Louis, who cast the curse, in order to break the prince’s curse. Grius is the ally who you need to deliver the message to. He is not only a master of martial arts, but also skilled in magic, and once even attempted to master Archetypes. Louis is not an easy target to approach. However, with the assumption that he will surely appear at the king’s funeral, the protagonist along with Grius, join hands on this mission.

Strohl

In order to deliver a message to Grius, who is undercover as a soldier in the Royal Army, the protagonist first volunteers to be a soldier at the recruitment center in the Royal Capital. There he meets Strohl, a young man of noble birth. It is a rare sight to see a noble volunteering for military service, but he seems to have a deep grudge towards humans from prior experience. Perhaps because of this, he has the courage to stand and fight as a noble in front of other citizens, and he has a strong sense of justice, treating everyone equally. Party members can freely swap between the Archetypes that the protagonist acquires during his journey, but the first Archetype that awakens in Strohl is the warrior. His beliefs are embodied in his heroic image and give him new strength.

Hulkenberg

The name of this red-haired warrior is Hulkenberg you drew. She is a member of the Holy Order and once served as the prince’s guard. However, during Louis’ attack on the prince, she was unable to fulfill her duty to protect him, and stepped away from the Royal Capital for a long time. She continued her journey, searching for the whereabouts of the prince without a clue as to his safety. In the midst of this disappointment, she learns of the king’s death and returns to the Royal Capital, where she meets the protagonists. She would then throw herself into the fray once again. The first Archetype to awaken in her is the “Knight.” With her pride as a knight and unwavering determination, she is a reliable presence in the party. She can be a bit stubborn and stoic at times, but on the other hand she has her goofy side, such as relishing and eating unconventional food.

As a side note, when we first announced this work we had a red-haired elf-like woman as our concept character, and through the development process of the game, we were able to complete her as this character Hulkenberg. Thank you to those who have been waiting patiently to see how she would turn out.

Heismay

This is Heismay. With his distinctive appearance, he is a unique character who also joins the party. He has a different and painful past compared to Strohl and Hulkenberg, and in order to overcome it, he decides to face his own anxiety and awakens his Archetype. The first Archetype to awaken in him is the “Thief.” Despite his seemingly comical appearance, Heismay is a skilled and agile fighter. Heismay will expand the range of the party’s tactics to a new level.

■ New Companions

Now the traveling companions will be further increased as the story progresses. Let us continue and introduce you to some of the new fellow characters.

Neuras

Of course, the party needs legs that’ll take them around the wilderness to fight in the campaign. Those legs are the gauntlet runner, and Neuras is its pilot. He was originally a gauntlet runner designer for the royal family. He’s a man of unique traits, whose only interest seems to be the knowledge of gauntlet runners, but he is also a lively figure who brings a cheerful mood to the trip, not being easily discouraged by the serious problems that could trouble the others. Although he does not take part in dungeon combat, he is one of the key supporters of the protagonist and others on their journey, awakening the “Gunner” Archetype in the protagonist. Also, bonding with him may cause a change in the gauntlet runner itself. Please look forward to that as well.

Junah

Let’s continue the introduction further. This is a scene from a major national event. The name of the beautiful woman standing on stage is Junah. She is a songstress, known to have the most beautiful voice in the kingdom. She is even more famous than the royal family, despite the lack of modern media in the world. Junah, in fact, has an unexpectedly important background, and she too awakens an Archetype—the “Masked Dancer”—and later joins the protagonists in their journey. The character art is by Shigenori Soejima, a well-known artist in the Persona series. Junah’s costume is prominent, but in order to achieve the vivid and fashionable art that we are known for, while still fitting in with the fantasy world, we created characters unique to this title, referencing the “Swinging London” fashion movement of London in the 60s. We are pursuing a particular artistic style, which we hope you will enjoy in your gameplay.

■ Tribes in the World

We have introduced the companions that will join you on your journey, and one thing to point out is that they’re all from different tribes. In the previous information drop, we have told you that there are eight tribes in this world. The Clemar, averse to irrationality. The Roussainte, who pride themselves on strength. The Rhoag, who are long-lived and see the value in passing something on. The Ishkia, said to be highly intelligent. The Nidia, who are particularly sociable. The Paripus, who love a lively banquet. The Eugief, who value harmony. The enigmatic Mustari, who do not speak much. In addition to those eight, there are the Elda, the protagonist’s tribe, whose existence itself is rare.

These tribes are set based on a concept unique to this game. The motifs we used were the traits and characteristics that people have. To draw a line with standard fantasy world settings, the tribes in this game were created from scratch, being inspired by the biases of people’s personalities and values. This is one of our efforts to rebuild the fantasy RPG from the ground up, and we hope that you will enjoy the freshness of this new experience.

■ Election Race

The title also features gimmicks to make the game more exciting, such as the “election magic,” and the great race across the kingdom, which is held as part of the popularity contest. In a kingdom ruled by a monarch, it is truly an event that turns things upside down. In the confusion of not knowing what is right and wrong, what ideas will people come up with, and what will people seek in a king. Although the word “election” may sound formal to some, we incorporated it because we thought it would be a device that would provide unpredictable developments when depicting a fantasy story. Please look forward to the details on this.

■ Closing

Well, how was it? In a world where anxiety which we all inherently carry is becoming a real force to be reckoned with, and in order to confront it, we must awaken the heroic powers, or Archetypes, that we are also born with, and overcome our fear of an unknown future. We created this RPG with such a goal in mind. Unlike the contemporary story we have made in the past, there are various settings that are unique to Metaphor. But we have created a game that can be enjoyed by all users. For example, we have a “Memorandum” function that can be activated with a single button during play, to give the freedom to enjoy the details of this world setting. We hope that many people will play the game once it is released, so please stay tuned.

Once again, Metaphor is scheduled to launch on October 11, 2024. Pre-orders for both the physical and digital versions are now available. We hope you will pre-order or wishlist today. Those who pre-order will receive the “Archetype EXP Chest Set” and the “Adventurer’s Journey Pack” as pre-order incentives. Both items are useful for in-game consumables for battles and party development, so don’t miss out. Metaphor is also available in special deluxe editions for both physical and digital versions. We have a limited number for the Collector’s Edition, so if you would like to secure one, please do so as soon as possible.

■ Up Next

In the next exclusive showcase, we will finally reveal what kind of competitors will emerge in the actual campaign, and what kind of supporters will lend us a hand in overcoming those rivals, so please stay tuned.

In addition, many videos will be released daily by More, the keeper of Akademeia, who will introduce the various world settings of the title to you. We hope you will enjoy this one as well.

See you again in the next exclusive showcase. Thank you very much for your time today.

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