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Atlus Announces Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey

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Atlus has announced the latest original title in the Megami Tensei series, though fans are unlikely to be overwhelmed…

The game is set for release on the 8th of October, with a typically Shin Megami Tensei-esque story about exploring a mysterious dimension, though the game has an obvious science fiction style to it.

The platform will be the DS, which is probably enough to end interest in it, unless one of its female characters turns out to be a crossdressing boy.

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Via Hachimaki.

Fans might be forgiven for lamenting the fact that no confirmation of the supposed PS3 release of Persona 5 is forthcoming. As with the recent Valkyria Chronicles PSP “sequel,” few are likely to be enthused by a DS game either.

If the Japanese gaming industry wants to regain its global market share, perhaps it should stop prioritising development for handheld systems over home consoles, as it seems the vast majority of successful franchises originate on these platforms, to say nothing of the technological straitjacket imposed by development on portable hardware…

Handheld sales might be strong, but they do not seem to contribute much to developing long term competitive strength.

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90 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    The DS is a pretty robust system on its own, and the classical SMT games don’t require that much processing power.

    The only reason DQ9 got shit on was because Japanese nerds are autistically dedicated to resisting change and have literally nothing to do but spam websites and masturbate to underage-looking cartoon characters.

  • Anonymous says:

    ‘few are likely to be enthused by a DS game’? the ds is the best selling console in Japan by a massive margin. dragon quest ix sold like 2.3 million copies in 2 days, even though i thought it was stupid at first that they weren’t going to release it on the ps3.

  • Is HD development really that hard? Just take the same models used for the FMVs without downscaling, since the hardware has finally caught up to be able to render high polycounts in real-time.

    I thought it would be more like Flash — pretty much resolution independent.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is quite a bit more complicated than that. To simplify things, with higher resolution textures comes more work, with more work comes a larger development team, with a larger development team comes higher development costs, etc etc.

      The average PS360 game is estimated to cost around $10-30 million dollars to develop, which is quite a bit higher than the DS, PS2, Wii or PSP.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m thinking Atlus is going to shift their focus to handhelds for a while before testing the waters of a PS3/360/Wii release. The next Shin Megami Tensei game will more than likely be on a single console as development costs for one console, except the Wii would be high enough as it is so trying to go multiplatform would make things worse especially if it doesn’t sell as well as they want. Let’s say they do release SMT4 on the PS3 and it has subpar sales. Do you think they would bother releasing another game on the console when they know it could result in the same thing? People may not like it but Atlus is trying to be financially smart about this. They see what consoles are selling well and have the better game sales in the Japanese market and are making games for it. The only ways to really resolve this and get them to start developing for the newer consoles is if a large company bought Atlus and gave them a bigger financial backing or if their games become wildly popular for some reason but the likelihood of either of those happening is pretty slim. I don’t know about you but i would rather see Atlus play it safe now and succeed later than take a risk that could potentially be a big financial blow and risk taking them out of the gaming industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Honestly, when (or if?) Atlus steps into the HD ring, the most likely title for them to release is Persona 5. They’ll build the engine, the assets and make the investment they would need in order to do it right. P5 would come out, sell a couple hundred thousand copies and most likely lose money. This is where Atlus will take a look at what they have; the engine is done. The groundwork has been laid out – now in order for them to potentially recover costs and make some money, they will need to start pumping out more titles. SMT4, various spin offs and side stories, DDS, etc.

      That is the only way I can see Atlus pulling through HD development, unless they halfass it and just reuse their old engine and upscale all the assets, like other companies do.

  • Anonymous says:

    “If the Japanese gaming industry wants to regain its global market share, perhaps it should stop prioritising development for handheld systems over home consoles”

    Because all those HD RPG’s have sold SO WELL and made SO MUCH money? Christ. Just keep posting random porn and stop trying to comment on the gaming industry.

    • Imbecile number 1: Ever heard of Final Fantasy? Oblivion? Fallout 3? Notice how those games always taxed the hardware and had massive development costs, but were hugely successful. I never even mentioned RPGs either.

      Imbecile number 2: You may be to poor to afford a proper system, but most people are not. Nor do they wish to play games made with the hardware specs of 5-10 years ago.

      • Anonymous says:

        ^ Same poster here, I meant to reply to the above guy, not Artefact.

        @Artefact: Good job, you can list massive IP’s from massive publishers (Square and Bethesda). ATLUS is not a massive publisher. SMT is not a massive IP. Persona is the biggest game Atlus has and that sold a little over 300k. Do you have any idea how much development costs on PS3/360?

        And I just assumed you were commenting on RPG’s, as most other genres are thriving on consoles, whereas RPG’s have found their market on the DS. The 360 and PS3 are failure in Japan, if huge franchises like Tales and Star Ocean can only scrape by with a couple hundred thousand sales, publishers will see no logical reason to continue developing for those platforms.

        PS3 has sold a little over 3 million systems in Japan, the 360 has sold ~1 million, the Wii has sold ~8 million, the DS has sold ~27 million and the PSP has sold ~12.5 million. Japan only cares about handhelds and the Wii, so that is where Japanese developers will shift their focus.

        Oh, and why are you mentioning Fallout 3 and Oblivion when discussing the Japanese gaming industry?

        • Anonymous says:

          Kojima: “Maybe I Should Quit Being Japanese”
          http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3172266

          that article should clear it up a little.

          Ofc kojima has it a little more easy since MGS is a big name. but he still has a point.
          Most japanese companies are simply to scared to invest in HD gaming so they play safe with the handhelds.
          There is a reason sony suddenly shows alot of interest in the PSP after letting it rot for years…

          To quote from the article:

          “- Why do Japanese companies have trouble keeping up with their overseas competition?

          “Because they’re Japanese,” Kojima says. “Japan makes all their own books and movies and music. You can’t export entertainment made by Japanese people in the Japanese language, so it’s all made with the sort of budgets that guarantee profit within the Japanese marketplace only. Meanwhile, the English-speaking world is a global one. The scariest scenario I see is people overseas taking the ideas from Japanese games, running the Hollywood business merchandising machine on them, and taking all the revenue. If that happens, then there won’t be any new Japanese creators.”

        • Game development has changed, and if they focus exclusively on handhelds the Japanese industry will become an irrelevance, or more so. They will never be at the forefront of developments as long as all their titles are being developed for handheld systems which can’t compare to actual consoles.

      • Anonymous says:

        Here’s the thing – there is MUCH less risk involved with this game than if it were to be a PS3, 360 or even a Wii game. There is a proven audience on the DS for this, the tech already exists (Etrian Odyssey and Devil Survivor), and let’s not mention that both the 360 and PS3 are failures in Japan (where 90% of the audience for a SMT title exists). The Wii has done well obviously, but let’s just say that’s not the most likely platform a SMT player will own.

        Atlus clearly does not want to risk investing $10-30 million dollars on a PS3/360 that will sell 200k total. It’s not worth it, and a bomb of that magnitude could potentially have very serious repercussions.

        Tech will progressively get better and better; that’s a given. However, the cost of development will exponentially increase as well, which is why there is not as many niche titles released this generation – companies simply cannot afford it.

        Basically, the only RPG this generation that wasn’t a complete bomb is Lost Odyssey, which wasn’t exactly a great success either. FF13 will surely do well too, but this goes back to my original point; why develop $30+ million dollar games when you could develop games on the DS for a fraction of the cost and sell just as much, if not more (thanks to the install base)?

        • Anonymous says:

          Compare 1 and 3 million sales to the 8 million for Wii (which is well below what the PS2 had done in a similiar time frame). Both HD systems are currently failures in Japan – I don’t really see how that is debatable. The Japanese market primarily only cares about handhelds at this point. The Wii is doing well, but it’s nowhere near as popular in Japan as it is in America.

          And about the link; their losses have nothing to do with their video game division. On top of that, that goes even further to show that Atlus absolutely cannot afford the risk involved with developing an HD game. One high profile bomb could sink the company. They are catering to their market – which is on the DS.

          And comparing SMT to TES or DQ/FF? You’re either ignorant or delusional. The best selling SMT could only sell a fraction of the worst selling DQ.

        • Firetribe says:

          Mr Anon,

          I see how you like to use the F-word a lot.

          Just because a game or console isn’t #1, its a failure?

          That’s an idiotic way of thinking.

          And what Artefact is trying to say is that if Atlus would concentrate most of their resources on their “flagship” titles instead of a bunch of forgettable ones they could turn in a large profit and maybe hang with the big dawgs(square and bethseda)

          Because we all know that they’re profiting greatly from taking few risks: hhttp://www.sankakucomplex.com/2009/03/12/atlus-in-dire-straits-huge-loss-forecast/

        • Anonymous says:

          Square is investing in “flagship” titles for consoles, and so far that hasn’t gone very well. Dragon Quest X was announced before IX even released, probably because having a mainline DQ game on a handheld was a gamble, and if it failed they would have the Wii to fall back on. Of course, DQ9 has done extremely well so that should lay to rest any concern companies may have about the DS audience.

          EA is a good example; Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge were high budget, original games, and neither of them lit up the charts. Of course, this was a risk they took in hopes of creating two new blockbuster franchises they could release plenty of sequels to, which they are already starting to do with Dead Space Extraction. But again, EA can afford this risk. They can afford to take a hit while they build up their brand. Many companies cannot. Honestly, Capcom is one of the only Japanese companies who “gets it.” They make new games that can appeal to worldwide audiences, most of which have been quite successful.

          What this generation is likely to come down to, is more and more companies will stop taking chances on new, original games, and stick to surefire hits (like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy). Niche games will move to the DS and PSP where they will still find an audience and still make some money, as opposed to losing millions on consoles.

        • This is something I appreciate, but the unaddressed concern is that with no new “flagship” type titles coming to the home consoles, where will the next great hits come from? Certainly not from the DS, it would seem.

          Even the likes of EA manage to release some new titles, and they certainly keep successful franchises going, all to great commercial success.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s it. The future of hardware is in cheap netbooks and cheaper handhelds, both with computing and graphics power circa late nineties to early 00’s P4 and PS1/Dreamcast respectively … just shrunken down to low-power chips.

      After all, they’re basically all that’s needed even for 3D games.

      All the Cell/PPC multicore bullshit can do is just handle higher resolution textures, so that they can display on super expensive TVs that just have more pixels and besides few people can afford anyway.

      I can’t believe I’m actually living in a time when Moore’s law comes to a screeching halt.

  • Anonymous says:

    seeing how persona need some crazy grinding before progressing on level, i think DS version is good idea. I already play devil survivor and the ability to pause and play the game anywhere is tremendous!

  • For me the differentiation between a handheld game and a home console game is like the difference between coffee table books and actual full-length novels for a library.

    You just chew on one for the sole purpose of passing time (while waiting for the doctor, etc.). Whereas the other is supposed to be an engrossing pasttime that keeps you awake for dozens of hours.

    If I were an author or game developer, I sure as heck won’t want my works to be relegated to the coffee table.

    Having sequels of almighty home console properties debuting on the platform equivalent of the coffee table is a sure sign that the gaming industry is collapsing.

    On a more personal note: it was the traumatic experience of seeing green fungus grow on the lithium ion battery terminal contacts and recharging ports that put me off anything portable from then on. (And yes, I don’t like cellphones. I use them, but I don’t like them. And iphone sucks btw.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Damn straight, this is SMT the way it was always meant to be. Though I’d really prefer something along the lines of “Shin Megami Tensei 4” but I’m asking for too much aren’t I?

  • When will these people stop with the handheld games? Why am I going to sit here and play a game on a tiny little screen with crappy graphics when I have a PS3 and a 360 hooked up to a 42 inch 1080p flat panel? Original games to the consoles and ports to the hand helds dammit.

  • I don’t get all that hate on the handhelds, especially the DS. A good game is a good game. I I don’t even own any handhelds anymore and I still see them as greatly entertaining games.

    This pretty much gives me another reason to get a DS when I finally get some cash again. Are portables really so bad? I mean, the Persona remake is my #1 reason to get a PSP.

    I understand how underwhelming the technology may be, but Christ… portable gaming isn’t this big black cloud.

    • Because of all the RPGs this gen, 99% of them are on the PSP or DS. Meanwhile, console gamers are STARVING for RPGs, and we are getting nothing but table scraps.

      Not all of us like to play RPGs on portables. In fact, some of us downright hate it. The only way, ONLY WAY I’ll ever play this game is if I download a ROM and play it with an emulator. If the only way I can enjoy an RPG is at home – free of distractions – why should I put a crink in my neck from looking down at an unnatural angle for hours? Why should I play on a small screen when I could play on a big screen?

      I’ll save my DS for something along the lines of Bleach DS, Geometry Wars, Contra 4, Metal Slug 7, etc – you know, short-burst arcade-y games, where if I have to put the game away, I don’t have to rush to a save point. Games where the story isn’t important, and so I can feel free to just skip straight to the action and not worry about missing some story just because some kids are screaming while I’m playing the DS in the middle of eating at McDonald’s.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it has to do with the technical limitations of the portables. Even the humble PS2 still beats the crap out of both the DS and PSP. Especially when it cames to storage. (Lack of VA and big 3D maps)

      and i think people are just dissapointed with the lack of a next gen SMT game as of today.
      i know i am… i wanna see my demons in full HD glory already.

    • Anonymous says:

      id say psps & other handhelds are more price friendly than PS3 by a long shot.

      PS3 is good for its price but not everyone can afford that. (especially over here)

      But hey, Sony owns them both so no problem to them…

      DS is another story.

  • Icy-nee-san says:

    At first I was like, “FUCK YA~! SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI~!”

    Then I saw the platform would be the DS and I was like, “Awwwwww”

    But then I read, “one of its female characters turns out to be a crossdressing boy” and I was like, “Thats nice”

    :3

  • Hopefully this will be localized fast.

    It seems to use Devil Survivors’s Interface which is a bummer, I want to see players sprites ditching out moves and not just a simple effect.

    But still I have a DS so I’m happy its not on a PS3/X360/Wii.

  • MusicalNote says:

    Did someone say trap? No? Okay. I’ll go back into my hidey-hole now…

    Anyway, The game doesn’t look interesting, which is sad. I’m not much of a scifi buff though. Place elves or humans in tunics on those pages and I’ll admit you’d likely have me excited for a few minutes.

    I like handhelds more, to be honest. Console games are fine, but I prefer the graphics and play style of handhelds.
    Then again, I’m still pretending it’s the SNES era and that 3D games don’t exist. I’m probably not a good example of the market.

    • You have a point there. Using that kind of interface back when the franchise was on the Super Famicom is understandable, for the most part, but the DS is more than capable of processing multiple sprites or multiple character models. This is just another case where the old school style doesn’t cut it.