Persona 5 Has Set Project Re Fantasy Up for Success

Any major success that the Persona franchise enjoys in the next several years will undoubtedly be owed in some part to Persona 5. It's no secret that Persona 5 has made the popularity of Atlus' signature RPG franchise skyrocket; something about this story of teenage outcasts turned superpowered vigilantes has touched audiences around the world, resulting in one of Persona's most beloved titles to date. Atlus was a major presence in the JRPG industry already, of course, but Persona 5 has brought on a new tide of fame that Persona, Shin Megami Tensei, and all of Atlus' other projects can ride for now.

That's a big deal because Atlus has actually been working on a mysterious new project for quite some time now. About five years ago, Atlus revealed its intent to make a new fantasy RPG IP, referring to it as Project Re Fantasy. While Atlus has revealed next to nothing about the game, Project Re Fantasy's long and opaque development process suggests that Atlus has something ambitious in mind. Now that Atlus is teasing a major game release in 2022, all eyes are on Project Re Fantasy again, and the timing couldn't be better. If it releases in 2022, odds are good that many new Persona fans will try this RPG in lieu of another Persona game.

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The Advent of Project Re Fantasy

For those who aren't familiar with Project Re Fantasy, early teasers about the game suggest that it's a medieval fantasy RPG about a world at war, putting a heavy emphasis on the use of magic as a tool of destruction. The game may explore the concept of "fantasy" as a central theme, and there could be some references to the modern world within it somehow. The game is being directed by Katsura Hashino, a famed Atlus figure who directed Persona 3, 4, and 5, and has directed or produced a long list of Persona spinoffs and other Atlus products.

Not much more is known about Project Re Fantasy than that. Since it's so hard to pin down, it's also hard to predict whether or not it'll attract a lot of players. Atlus may be known for its RPGs, but it's not always easy for even the biggest studios to create new IPs, especially if they step away from the studio's known brand in some way. Project Re Fantasy's premise certainly sounds different from Atlus' core Shin Megami Tensei and Persona franchises, but that difference isn't a major risk to the game's success, thanks to the help of Persona 5.

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Persona 5's Star Power

Persona 5 may be five years old now, but Atlus has expertly kept hype for the Phantom Thieves alive. The extended Persona 5 Royal encouraged fans to enjoy an enhanced playthrough, while Persona 5 Strikers offered a compelling new story that built on the Phantom Thieves' place in the Persona universe. Persona 5 lovers still hope to see more games starring the Phantom Thieves, but there's also evidence that these new Persona followers are interested in Atlus' other works. Persona 4 Golden's Steam release was a hit, selling half a million units in its first year to the surprise of Sega and Atlus. In other words, as much as Persona fans want more Persona 5 content, they're also happy to try other Atlus works.

That means things are already looking up for Project Re Fantasy if it releases in 2022. Enthusiasm for Persona is still strong, and Atlus intends to keep it that way through the ongoing Persona anniversary celebration. Project Re Fantasy isn't a Persona game, but it could reap the benefits of Persona 5's success and the franchise anniversary by releasing next year while the Persona hype is in full swing. Atlus' new IP is a mystery on the whole, but nevertheless, it already has a lot of potential fans thanks to the Phantom Thieves.

Persona 5 is available now for PS3 and PS4.

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Atlus: What is Project Re Fantasy?
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