Metaphor: Refantazio and Persona studio isn't a "rival" to other JRPG devs trying to break through: "It's more a feeling of cooperation"

Three characters stand at the edge of the cliff to gaze upon the horizon
(Image credit: Nihon Falcom)

A developer behind some of the longest-running JRPG series out there says big hitters like Megami Tensei and Persona studio Atlus don't provide competition regarding breaking out beyond Japan but contribute to a "feeling of cooperation."

Speaking to GameSpot, Nihon Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo – who you may recognize from series like Ys and Trails – is asked whether he thinks it's gotten easier to make the jump from Japan to America over the years or if there's more competition.

"Rather than a feeling of competitiveness, it's more a feeling of cooperation," he says. "We've been making games for a very long time – since the 1980s – and back then JRPGs didn't have a lot of success or popularity. And so a big contributor to our genre's growing success is these companies like Atlus who have these great games that come out regularly. 

"And as the Western market has finally started to accept, appreciate, and be hungry for these Japanese RPGs, ultimately it feels like less studios are making them. We are probably the smallest makers, but companies like Capcom and Konami, who used to have strong JRPG series, have largely backed away from them."

Kondo goes on to say this throws up challenges as there is a hunger for JRPGs, but fewer studios are willing to satisfy the appetite. As such, studios like Atlus chipping in with games like Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, and, soon, Metaphor Refantazio contribute to a wider effort to keep the good JRPG vibes going.

"It's a very limited market, which is a shame because if the market's hungry for something, you have to have a constant supply to satisfy those people and maintain it," he says. "So, rather than seeing Atlas, for example, as a rival – although I can't speak to Mr. Hajime – I see when their games come out as a good thing. It means the market is being satisfied and more and more people are learning about what makes JRPGs great."

Nihon Falcom recently released The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak in the West, initially launching the game in Japan in 2021. It's part of the Trails series, though the first game in the JRPG's Trails Through Daybreak story arc. And thank goodness, the also excellent Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie launched last year, though it requires 658 hours of homework if you truly want to be caught up. Looking forward, the tenth entry in the Ys series, Ys X: Nordics, is coming this October.

Prolific Japanese outsourcing studio that's quietly worked on Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Resident Evil for over 44 years is in trouble due to game cancellations.

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.