Studio Istolia was formed in 2017 by Square Enix and an announcement of the studio’s creation along with a new game in the works was made. The game, with working title Project Prelude Rune, was set to be a fantasy RPG telling the tales of the people in a “vast land teeming with life,” fighting for what they believed in. Unfortunately, little details past that were revealed. According to a report by USgamer, the studio has folded and all projects, including Project Prelude Rune, have been canceled.
Studio Istolia, whose name came for the Greek word for story, was created with the goal of a well-told story. To that end, the person chosen to be the president and head of the studio was none other than Hideo Baba. Baba is best known for his work on the Tales series, published by Bandai Namco. According to Kotaku, in December of 2018, Baba resigned his position at the studio, citing a change in management policies and “to make room for the next generation” as his reason for leaving. He also left Square Enix as well the following March.
With the spearhead of the studio gone, it was only a matter of time before Square Enix would close Studio Istolia for good. After a sudden purge of Project Prelude Rune from various sites around the web, the studio was confirmed closed the next day. “Following evaluation of various aspects of Project Prelude Rune, development of the title has been canceled. 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,” said an unnamed spokesperson to USgamer.
While it’s always sad to see a studio fold and an unreleased game disappear in the dust, there’s comfort in the fact that those working on the game are being reincorporated into existing projects at Square Enix.