11 Things We Learned From The Metaphor: Refantazio Showcase

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The Metaphor ReFantazio box art.

Image: Atlus

Metaphor: Refantazio is the next game from the Persona leads at Atlus, and while it has some similarities to the franchise (it’s a turn-based, social sim-driven RPG), it’s adapting a lot of those concepts into a medieval fantasy setting rather than a modern-day high school. On April 22, Atlus held a 25-minute presentation hosted by director Katsura Hashino showcasing the upcoming RPG, and we learned a lot more about the game, including its release date. If you want to watch the full presentation, you can check it out below. If you just want the highlights, read on.

The presentation began with a new trailer that ended with Metaphor: Refantazio’s release date. The game will launch on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S on October 11. That’s more than enough time for you to finish up Persona 3 Reload, right?

Gif: Atlus / Kotaku

Shoji Meguro, the composer behind the Persona series’ incredible music, is returning to write the score for Metaphor. The music itself is actually diegetic in the world, as a fairy named Gallica casts a spell on the protagonist so he hears music in his head. Will that actually be a major plot point, or is it just a fun bit for the developers? That remains to be seen. Hashino says he asked Meguro not to feel beholden to Persona’s poppier sound for Metaphor, so the game has a much more orchestral style this time around.

The other half of the Metaphor box art.

Image: Atlus / Kotaku

Atlus has brought in a few guest artists to work on Metaphor. During the presentation, Hashino explained that Nier Automata artist Koda Kazuma helped design in-game city concepts, and Evangelion artist Ikuto Yamashita designed the protagonist’s ship. So, while most of the game is being handled by in-house artists, Metaphor is pulling in some talent to help fill out the world.

Gif: Atlus / Kotaku

Metaphor has a stronger focus on exploration than Persona. This includes some open areas, as well as cities you’ll pass through on your journey. To get around quicker, you’ll be able to use your magic sword like a skateboard. Hashino says the team wouldn’t describe Metaphor as an open-world game, but if its world is going to be bigger, giving players tools to move expeditiously is a must.

Gif: Atlus / Kotaku

In Metaphor’s world, there’s an election in which anyone, regardless of social status, is able to become the next king by gaining public support. This is where Persona-esque social elements come into play, as getting to know people is how you sway public opinion in your favor, and you’ll have to make connections both in the richer and poorer areas. The protagonist himself comes from what Hashino describes as an “inferior” tribe, so doing quests and interacting with others is how you gain the public’s favor across the spectrum of class.

The world map in Metaphor.

Screenshot: Atlus / Kotaku

Persona games are centralized in one town or city, but Metaphor will have you traveling throughout the world as you campaign throughout the election period. This means you’ll be visiting different cities throughout, and they will become your base of operations for a time. The showcase showed off a new city called Martira, a “pastoral town” that contrasts with the big capital city that you’ll work out of during the early hours. Hashino says the goal with having different hub worlds is to give the player a sense of a grander journey in which they see parts of the world that differentiate themselves from each other.

The ship in Metaphor.

Image: Atlus

You’ll spend a lot of time in Metaphor’s different cities and towns, but your ship, called the Gauntlet Runner, is the center of your world. Inside, you’ll find a war room in which all your teammates can gather as you travel from place to place. Here, you can plan your journey, as every time you travel, in-game time will pass similar to Persona’s calendar mechanic. Getting to and from different places will take more time than others, so Metaphor will become just as much about time management as gaining people’s favor.

While you travel, you’ll be able to hang out in the Gauntlet Runner and see the outside world as you fly to your destination. This is your time to hang out with friends, handle equipment loadouts, read, or just sleep through the trip. But if you head out onto the ship’s deck, you can watch the whole journey from one place to another in real time.

The Metaphor protagonist stands back to back with another character.

Image: Atlus

Because time passes in this game you’ll have a limited time to finish Metaphor’s main quests. This was standard for Persona, and seems to have been implemented into Metaphor, as well. And it will also include some sidequests, though they will be marked as having a deadline in your journal. Some of these quests will scale in difficulty if you do them later, so planning when you do them may be the difference between something being easy or near impossible.

Gif: Atlus / Kotaku

Anyone who’s played Persona knows that UI is one of the best parts of those games, and Metaphor is keeping that tradition alive. The presentation had a short segment dedicated to looking through the pause menu, and it’s adorned in gorgeous art, stylish transitions, and lots of color.

A character stands behind a desk of books with a statue in the background.

Image: Atlus

Metaphor’s job system is called Archetypes, and these determine a character’s traits and abilities. But they also take the form of, as Hashino describes, “heroic figures everyone possesses.” However, one key difference from Persona is that Archetypes are not locked to certain characters, so you can customize your party’s loadout as you see fit. You will unlock more of these as you meet and bond with your followers.

The Metaphor collector's edition.

Image: Atlus

Metaphor is getting a $149.99 collector’s edition that includes a steelbook, physical soundtrack, artbook, pins of teeth, a sticker sheet, cloth map, DLC vouchers for costumes based on Persona and Etrian Odyssey, a digital history book about Atlus’ 35th anniversary, and in-game supplies as a pre-order bonus. The big box of stuff is available for pre-order now, but availability varies depending on platform and retailer.

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