Developer Atlus Is A Shoe-In For Worst Game Name Of 2024

Atlus has two games battling it out for the worst name of 2024. Let’s break down the meaning, and if they actually tell anything about the games.

Image Via Atlus

Move over Square Enix, a new challenger has arrived to claim the throne of “Company That Hands Out The Worst Names To Games,” as Atlus is set to take the gold in 2024. This is thanks to two games that are set to launch next year: Unicorn Overlord and Metaphor: ReFantazio, which rival the worst of the Final Fantasy name offerings in terms of being nonsense. 

Atlus Announces Persona-Style RPG Metaphor: ReFantazio At Xbox Showcase as a new Atlus IP that merges elements of the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona series into a fantasy world. A few months later, Unicorn Overlord was revealed during the September 2023 Nintendo Direct as a new tactical RPG IP developed by both Atlus and Vanillaware, with a gameplay & visual style that is reminiscent of the Ogre Battle. 

Related: What are the Persona 3 protagonists’ canon names? Answered

What Do Either Of These Names Mean?

Metaphor-ReFantazio Party
Image Via Xbox

Silly names are nothing new to the world of gaming, ranging from Untitled Goose Game to Bravely Default. A name doesn’t make the game, however, as both those titles are fantastic. Sometimes, a game is given a silly name just to draw attention from the fans. After all, you don’t want to be just another generic shooter game or RPG on the shelf.

Metaphor: ReFantazio is a departure for Atlus, as they’re doing a high-fantasy game rather than using a contemporary or post-apocalyptic setting, which is something they’re more commonly known for. According to the developers, the Metaphor in the title refers to how fantasy world elements reflect the real world. 

The meaning behind Unicorn Overlord’s name is still a complete mystery, as there has only been a single trailer released for the game, and it was more focused on showing off the visuals and gameplay than revealing details about the story. What we do know is that there is a unicorn in the logo, one that resembles a Chess piece, and it’s connected via a horseshoe to a similar symbol of a monarch.

Are Either Of The Names A Good Choice?

Image Via. Atlus

The real question is whether either Metaphor Re:Fantazio or Unicorn Overlord is a suitable name for each project, and while we won’t 100% know their meaning until the games come out, we can at least talk about how they promote their respective titles. While both names are certainly memorable, do they accurately reflect their games, especially to someone who might just pass them by on a shelf or a digital store?

It’s commendable that Atlus is taking a gamble by promoting Metaphor Re:Fantazio as a new IP. Considering its similarities to the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona series, it wouldn’t have been too much of a stretch to turn the game into one of their spin-offs. Many Shin Megami Tensei spin-offs have already experimented with different genres and settings, so it would have been easy to slap a familiar name on Metaphor Re:Fantazio.

The Metaphor: ReFantazio does stand out from the crowd, but does it reflect the game’s content? The RPG genre is no stranger to silly names, but Metaphor: ReFantazio is especially dumb, as it manages to be both pretentious and nonsensical, matching the worst of Square Enix’s excesses.

It doesn’t help that the game also had a different name in the past, as it was originally unveiled as Project Re:Fantasy. While that isn’t a particularly noteworthy name, it’s also much more difficult to mock. Project Re:Fantasy is perfectly fine as a stand-in name for a game that’s in development, and it could have been expanded on into something better, rather than twisted into its current form. 

The same is also true for Unicorn Overlord. If you saw that name on a listing, you’d think it was a comedy tower defense game about borrows liberally from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Unicorn Overlord doesn’t reflect that it’s a serious strategy RPG that follows a war across several nations. 

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My criticism of both names is not a knock on the products themselves. Both Metaphor: ReFantazio and Unicorn Overlord look amazing, and as a fan of JRPGs (especially games made by Atlus & Vanillaware), they’re among my most anticipated games in 2024. Indeed, the similarly silly named 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim was my favorite game of 2020. I just wish they could have something that better reflects them to save them from the fate of being laughed at before people give them a chance.