Studio Istolia Shut Down, Project Prelude Rune Cancelled Square Enix Confirms

Hideo Baba's resignation could have been the beginning of the end.
Square Enix confirms the closure of Studio Istolia, and along with it their upcoming Project Prelude Rune.
Square Enix confirms the closure of Studio Istolia, and along with it their upcoming Project Prelude Rune. Square Enix

Square Enix has formally shut down its subsidiary Studio Istolia, nearly two years after its conception.

The news comes from USGamer, who reports that a Square Enix representative has confirmed the closure following the disappearance of Studio Istolia’s upcoming title, Project Prelude Rune, from the publisher. The game’s official Twitter accounts and websites also went offline earlier this week.

"Following evaluation of various aspects of Project Prelude Rune, development of the title has been canceled," the Square Enix spokesperson said. "Studio Istolia is no longer in operation and we have been taking appropriate steps to assign studio staff to other projects within the Square Enix Group."

The studio was born from Square Enix’s desire to pursue another role-playing title in the form of a brand-new IP, and to that end they even hired Hideo Baba to helm Studio Istolia. Hideo Baba, to those unaware, is a former producer for Bandai Namco and their Tales Of series, starting with Tales of Innocence back in 2007. Baba managed and produced most of the brand titles up until 2017, when he was picked up by Square Enix to helm Project Prelude Rune.

The game was shaping up to be quite something, and there was considerable hype for it considering the huge fanbase of the Tales Of series. However, by the end of March 2019, Hideo Baba has resigned from Square Enix, following a "change of management policy." It’s not too much of a leap to say that this is what actually killed Studio Istolia, as it now appears that Project Prelude Rune could only be helmed properly by Baba himself. The game’s last update was some gameplay footage released back in September 2018, and while rough, it seemed to have decent potential at least.

Baba’s departure has been attributed to him wanting to "make room for the next generation."

Square Enix is seeing a trend of shifts in various studios that are trying to develop new IP, like their subsidiary Luminous Productions, whose director Hajime Tabata left to pursue different endeavors. That was disastrous for Square Enix, as Tabata was also the director for Final Fantasy XV, and his departure ultimately cancelled the last pieces of DLC for the title.

Join the Discussion
Top Stories