Atlus to ditch PlayStation exclusive business model after Persona 4 PC success

Persona 4 atlus

Persona developers Atlus have recently been on record confirming it is looking into changing its business model. Up until now, the majority of Persona games have bene exclusive to PlayStation platforms. However, thanks to the success of Persona 4 Golden’s PC release, this could be changing.

In an interview with NintendoSmash, Atlus acknowledges Persona 4 Golden has been a “critical success.” Due to this, the publisher is seriously considering “simultaneous multi-platform releases,” for all its major franchises going forward.

Why did Atlus go all in on PlayStation?

Persona q2 3ds atlusFor many gamers it’s difficult to understand why Atlus even subscribed to a PlayStation exclusive model in the first place. Just to be clear, Sony has zero ownership over the Japanese publisher. Equally, it is not believed Sony have ever paid to keep Persona on its signature platform.

Instead, the best reason gamers have come up with is Atlus’ head director just likes PlayStation. It was probably first put on Sony’s consoles because it was cheap to do but over time this stopped making sense. Atlus has grown into a huge company and could easily afford porting to other platforms. Especially given the extra revenue it would make in doing so.

Interestingly, there is one Persona spin-off series that has managed to escape the PlayStation trap. Persona Q is a chibi styled dungeon crawler that is instead exclusive to Nintendo platforms. Both games in this series are only available on 3DS with the latter not finding its way onto Switch despite being released in 2019.

Regardless of its past intentions, Atlus seems to be ready to ditch its outdated third-party exclusive model. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see Persona 6 and any other spin-offs in the franchise find their way onto PC, Switch, and perhaps even Xbox.

Suit Up Thieves: 5 Reasons to Check out Persona 5

Persona 5 visual

The Persona series is one of my favorite JRPG franchises to date. Once known as the Shin Megami Tensei series, it still shares the moniker, this spin off iteration has fans at hype level 100. Set to drop on April 4th, 2017 for both the PS3 and PS4 here are 5 reason why players should check out the Persona 5.

It has a Rich History

persona collage
Image caption: http://kotaku.com/four-new-persona-games-are-coming-to-north-america-1530572807

As mentioned above, Persona is an offshoot of the Shin Megami Tensei series. As the 5th installment in the franchise, this game that started out as a dungeon crawler dating/social sim is still delighting fans today. Most fans may have come in with Persona 3 but most know Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden for the Vita. This series has earned it’s stripes and definitely has earned the love of the fans that it has today. Not to mention it has spawned several spin offs in the form of a fighting game, SRPG and rhythm game that are all all canonical so yeah, all the Persona you could ask for.

It’s Not Ashamed To Be Turn Based

Persona 5 Battle
Image caption: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_5

That’s right, this is a reason to be hyped for the game. It has long been stated that turn based combat is outdated and has lost its luster with gamers but Persona proves otherwise. Not only does it have turn based combat but it’s unapologetic about it. The combat is fun and keeps you on your toes even though it’s not a hack and slash fest. All combat types have their place but it’s refreshing to have one of the JRPG staples present in a main stream game again.

The Game is Super Stylish

Persona 5 Protagonist
Image caption: https://atlus.com/persona5/media.html

The art style of the game has only improved with each generation and has made it mark by retaining it’s signature look in each installment. This time around the game almost has a comic book super hero art style along with the signature portraits for each main character. The graphics are ps3 era fare but it’s polished and smooth so even graphics enthusiasts can enjoy it.

The Music is Awesome

The music is so great in the series that it spawned a rhythm game using the Persona 4 soundtrack called Persona 4: Dancing All Night. It doesn’t matter what you are doing in the game there is always a tune to hum in your head. Even if you’re tackling the same content over and over again it never becomes grating on the ears or annoying. The battle music for the game has me excited to bash shadows in the face. This game has a reported 100 or more hours of game play so I’ll probably be very familiar with the soundtrack when its all said and done.

It’s Not Afraid To Tackle Mature Themes

Don’t let the anime style and dating sim fool you. This game is not for children and can appeal to the real life scenarios

If you’re not familiar with the series, Persona has had a tough time being sold in the states. In Persona 3 in order to summon your persona the players simulated suicide by shooting themselves in the head. Yikes. I was intrigued by the dark theme of the game even though there was a dating/social sim connected. In Persona 5, players become a group called the Phantom Thieves with the goal of reforming the corrupted hearts of adults by stealing them. The previous games have discussed survivor guilt, addiction, sexual orientation etc. You name it and it was probably in Persona with more to come. Don’t let the anime style and dating sim fool you. This game is not for children and can appeal to the real life scenarios

Let Persona 5 Take Your Heart

Persona 5 Preorder
Image Caption: https://atlus.com/persona5/home.html

Are you excited for Persona 5? Have you played a Persona game before? Have you played the Japanese version of the game and can attest to it’s awesomeness? Let us know in the comments below before we all disappear on April 4th. You can find more details about the game at the Atlus website.

Why Catherine Would Make a Great Movie

Catherine, the 2011 release by Atlus, needs to be a movie now! As we speak, every studio in Hollywood is wondering what video game will make them the first great video game movie, and while the upcoming Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed totally have the ability to take that title, if Catherine is fast tracked for a Valentine’s Day release of 2017, Catherine will 100% take the title of being one of the first great video game movies.

Catherine is marketable: it’s a romance movie, it’s an action movie, it’s a comedy, it’s a drama, it’s relatable, and it would be cheaper to make than most blockbusters due to it not being as effects heavy as a superhero movie. If this movie came out on Valentine’s Day it will make double the money that both 50 Shades of Grey and Kingsman made this year combined, because it would appeal to both of those audiences.

So what’s the story? Vincent is a 30 year old man child who is stuck in a rut. He’s bored and doesn’t know whether or not he wants to go to the next level and marry his current girlfriend, Katherine. One night he stays at the bar later than his other friends and ends up getting drunk and cheating on his girlfriend with a 22 year old freak named Catherine. What follows is a weird supernatural and psychological adventure as Vincent deals with dreams of him having horns, attempting to escape from Hell with other patrons of the bar that he sees as sheep. As people die in the dreams, of course they die in real life, all of them having some connection to Catherine. Vincent tries to run away from death while dealing with his real life issues.

When it comes to director, I see no better fit than Lake Bell. While she’s directing, just let her write and star as Catherine as well. She’s perfect for the role, and if you have doubts about her doing this go and check out her movie that she wrote, directed, and starred in titled In a World and prepare for your mind to be changed.

The difficult part is with the casting of Vincent because he needs to be someone really likable, it’s going to take a lot for an audience to cheer for a dude who cheats on his girlfriend after all. Because of this, I feel like the perfect choice is Donald Glover. Glover is a great actor, and also a great comedian, so I think he would be able to play the part pretty well. As far as the Succubus Catherine goes, cast Margot Robbie from Wolf of Wall Street and the upcoming Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. She’s perfect for the role and honestly looks very similar to the design of the game character. Thomas “Boss” Mutton, the *spoiler* bad guy *end spoiler* and also owner and bartender of Vincent’s go-to bar, Stray Sheep, should be played by Nick Offerman. Offerman has the stern look and comedic chops to be able to pull off this role.

Here’s the thing about this movie, it should be funny. It should give you those good belly laughs that make it hurt to breathe, the concept is ridiculous and it should be handled as so. But, just because it’s funny doesn’t mean it also should negate any of the dramatic or earnest moments that are still made in the game.

The budget of the movie I would guesstimate to be somewhere around $60 million to shoot, but it really depends on how much of the movie would take place in Vincent’s dreams vs. reality. As previously stated, this movie would destroy the Valentine’s Day weekend box office.

Legends Of Legacy Character Trailer: Meurs and Bianca

Here’s a look at two of the seven main characters in The Legend of Legacy, the upcoming turn-based RPG from ATLUS and developers FuRyu.

With a strong core of exploration and combat, players will get to choose which of seven characters they will select as their main protagonist – and this selection will alter the focus of the story. Players will also start with a fixed three-person party based on the character they choose, but after a short prologue, will be able to switch out the remaining two party members.

Bianca
A young girl with long, ice-blonde hair, Bianca awakens on Avalon with no memory of how she got there. Or anything else for that matter. She is a mild and gentle girl who despite her unfortunate circumstances and loss of memory remains optimistic. Bianca senses that the answers to her memory loss lie deep within the island, and she is determined to recover her identity.

Bianca’s base stats imply that she is well suited for a support class. She has affinities for wind and fire elements, and prefers to use short swords, axes, spears, and bows in combat.

Meurs
One of the few remaining elementalists alive. The elements have been gathering to Avalon for unknown reasons, and Meurs is determined to find out why they’ve been so attracted to the island. He communicates with the elements and travels the earth with the spirits as his guide.

Meurs also makes for a strong support ally in battle and prefers short swords with a shield. He has a strong affinity for the wind element.

Pre-orders and a limited number of launch retail copies will come in this special Launch Edition collectible, featuring a 6″x8″ outer box, a 10-track music CD from legendary composer Masashi Hamauzu, and a 40-page premium hardcover artbook with drawings and artwork by illustrator Tomomi Kobayashi.

The Legend Of Legacy is set to release on the Nintendo 3DS on October 13, 2015, for US$39.99/CA$49.99 respectively and is rated E10+.

There Might Be a Persona 3 Dancing Spin-Off

Persona 3

Persona 3

The milking of the Persona brand continues! After two  fighting game spin-offs, a dancing spin-off, a chibi  dungeon-crawling spin-off, and a few remasters, there might be another spin-off starting development soon. Recently, Persona 4 Dancing All Night (or P4D) released in Japan. During the launch stream for the game, the director/producer of it, Kazuhisa Wada,  admitted that there is a chance of a  follow up with the cast of Persona 3.  When asked about the possibility of another spin off, Wada responded:

“We are looking into the possibility of a ‘Persona 3 Dancing’ game and, if Persona 4: Dancing All Night sells well, we will consider it.”

Persona games normally sell pretty well, so don’t be surprised if there’s an official announcement at some point in the near future. The real question is if this potential Persona 3 Dancing game will come to the Playstation Vita. Sony confirmed at E3 that there are no longer AAA games being developed for the Vita, thus hammering the nail into it’s coffin.

However, even though the Vita hasn’t sold well, the people who do own Vita’s (myself include) buy games like there’s no tomorrow. The attach rate of games on Vita is impeccable, and any other console would die to have that level of attach rate. Also, when Persona 4 Golden came out on Vita, not only did it sell well, it increased the sales of the Vita by 150%. Perhaps Dancing All Night can also boost Vita sales and reinvigorate more developers to want to make AAA games for it.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night releases exclusively on the Playstation Vita in North America on September 29th.

5 Reasons Why Persona 5 Is Worth the Wait

Persona

Being a bit hesitant to jump on the bandwagon of any new tech update (and also being a huge cheapskate), I’m still holding on to my good old PS3 with a vice grip. ‘I’ll buy one when Uncharted 4 comes out,’ I assure my weary friends after they question my life decisions, new copies of Dying Light perched securely in their hands. Yet behind my characteristic thrift lies another reason for my hesitance: I’m just not excited enough to buy one.

That was, at least, before I saw the new trailer for Persona 5 (you can check it out below in case you’ve missed it). Please excuse me while I do some online shopping. Of course, Persona 5 is also coming to PS3 but what I watched was unmistakably next gen, and now there’s no going back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDIK6HVA9NY

Those of you who know and love the Persona series, in which certain people can create beings called Personas to protect them from danger, will probably empathise with me after seeing it. Essentially Persona is a turn based RPG, where the strength of your relationships with NPCs reflect the strength of your character. It’s always been a cult classic.  Big in Japan, with a relatively small, but loyal, following in other countries, the Persona games in their various forms have always retained a fantastic sense of humour and explore the theme of personal identity, as well as revolving around a mystery plot.

For all the series’ merits, the fact is that we’ve been waiting one hell of a wait. Apart from a series of (admittedly enjoyable) Persona 4 spin off titles, we haven’t seen a true sequel since 2008 when Persona 4 was released, meaning that game creator, Atlus, have a lot of patient fans to please.

Here’s my list of reasons why Persona 5 is in fact worth the wait, using observations from the new gameplay footage.

You don’t even need to know what Persona is.

You really don’t. These are new characters in a new setting, no doubt with a new mystery to solve. Persona 5 looks like it’s going to draw in new audiences as well as bring back loyal fans of the series, which means fans of the series can introduce their friends to the franchise with what looks to be an accessible introduction to this classic RPG. If you need any convincing to give it a go, just look at that amazing HD Catherine-style animation art that the whole thing is presented in. It’s okay if you judge this book by its cover.

We’re out of the dungeons!

These environments are colourful and lively. In the previous games, the dungeons (or grinding areas) looked more like randomly generated mouse traps than actual levels. The trailer shows real, dynamic environments, filled with enemies that fit the theme of that environment. Dungeon crawling is inevitably going to be a part of the game, but these scenes hint at a new possibilities. Possibilities that hopefully lead to a less tedious grinding experience.

Signs of effort can be seen… everywhere.

Did you see those menus?!

There’s action outside of the turn based battles?

There’s a short scene around one and a half minutes in that shows the main character stealthing around that lush hotel/palace area. That’s not typical Persona dungeon crawling. Is it just a new feature to the combat? Or are Atlus planning introducing something different all together. The new hero looks incredibly like some kind of master thief/cat burglar/ masquerade enthusiast, so does this mean we get to stealth around and steal things? There’s also the fact that all the characters are very acrobatic in the trailer, which could also signify a possible new element in the game.

There’s something wicked about our new hero

If you watch all the way to the end you’ll see our hero’s manic smile and his face being engulfed in blue flame. Considering the fact that previous protagonists have taken a form more like blank canvases for you enact your choices out with, a character with a strong personality, let alone a kind of menacing characteristic, would be a refreshing change.

Did you catch anything revealing from the trailer? What would you like from a new Persona? Leave your comments below.

Catherine: Why Less Is More

Catherine

Fashionably late as I am, I stumbled upon an article from Kotaku writer Yannick LeJacq that brought up an issue not often touched upon. He talks about a recent trend wherein developers and publishers push and aim for “content” as opposed to “fun” or “video games”, and how it is a potential plague on the industry in the coming years.

His inspiring piece of journalism had me pondering this very idea for days. It spoke to me, it stuck with me, and as I trudged through game after game that seemingly possessed more “content” than “video game”, this idea never left my head. Amongst the herd of bad games that big gaming sites would’ve given great review scores, one game stood out. Catherine.

Before you put your shells in your shotguns, shine your pitchforks, or prepare my burial, I must indeed clarify that Catherine is no plague. It is a shining example of a game that provides naught but “fun” or “video game” with not an ounce of fluff or “content”.

It is in my opinion, the best definition of “less is more”, and here is why.

Skyrim-Mountains

Open worlds are overrated.

Everybody likes the idea of getting to spend hour after hour exploring worlds filled with secrets, treasure, and foes both unimaginable in power and size, but it is a concept that is not always welcomed in my books. I, like the rest of you, enjoy my huge games such as Skyrim, Dragon Age, The Witcher, and countless others. You could craft some inspiring and amazing personal stories while playing through the aforementioned games with their sandbox design. That said, I think that a world like Catherine‘s is much more memorable most of the time.

Catherine contains only a few key areas, all that individually take up the space of about a single room. From Kappa Heaven to The Stray Sheep, every locale in Catherine is small, simple, and acts mostly as a background to the story. Each area is beautifully designed on an artistic level, and each area has the atmosphere of an entire triple A game from 2014.

While you cannot explore much of these areas – in fact, none of them are playable areas at all beyond The Stray Sheep and the Nightmare stages – they contain so much subtle detail and atmosphere, that they almost take on the role of a character. The Stray Sheep is one of the most wonderfully relaxing places in any game I’ve ever seen, and it’s in part due to the beautiful music that accompanies the visit, but the other part is that it doesn’t rely on having ‘content’ or ‘video game’. It simply ‘is’, and that’s all it needs to be.

catherine_screens_59

Length isn’t everything.

You’ll notice as you browse through advertising for new releases, that the length of the game is often an important bullet point the publisher/developer shares with the consumer. Dragon Age: Inquisition apparently takes 150-200 hours to fully complete, according to an interview with Bioware producer, Cameron Lee.

While I could attempt to explain why this is silly, the original Kotaku post will do it better than I could, so I will instead focus on my prime example.

In Catherine, you’re given about 15-20 hours depending on how much you want to do. It can be a lot less if you are talented with puzzles games or avoid less important things like Rapunzel. Some gamers nowadays will immediately shun games that only offer 15 hours without even playing it, and I think Platinum Games’ very own Hideki Kamiya has the perfect response for such a notion.

Now he was clearly talking about The Wonderful 101, but what is important here is the message of how fun trumps length. I forced myself to sit through the agonizing ‘content’ that Kingdom Of Amalur: Reckoning had, while Catherine I replayed about four times because of how wonderfully heartfelt and carefully designed it was.

‘Content’ is irrelevant if your game is fun, and even then, bloating a good game full of trash just hides the true potential. Platinum Games applied this idea with such titles as The Wonderful 101 and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and Atlus with Catherine.

metal gear rising

Less is more.

One of my absolute favourite things about Catherine is how much it teases you in an endearing way. I prayed to Kappa that I could eventually see the outside of The Stray Sheep, or get to see past Vincent’s apartment door. It was for naught however, as they never let you see anything outside of the previously mentioned key areas. It may sound annoying, but it’s that Atlus has a firm understanding of the saying ‘less is more’. We could see a huge world, and I’m sure Atlus could pull it off, but they clearly avoided hiding their themes and incredible story behind hours of ‘content’. It was for the better.

The same applies to the gameplay as well. Sure, we get Rapunzel which adds a good 65 mini-puzzles for the hardcore player, but beyond those stages (which can be entirely avoided and detract nothing from the game) and a few babel stages, Catherine only contains a dozen or so puzzles to solve in the entire game’s story. That may sound like an alarmingly low amount of gameplay, but it is balanced perfectly with the story and other activities, so you never feel as if the game is dragging on. You want more of everything, and that is damned hard to pull off without it being incomplete.

stray sheep catherine

Both games like Skyrim and Catherine should exist. I encourage people to play all types of games, but sometimes I just like to sit back and enjoy a small story that, in the end, impacts my life more than something that contains 4 billion side quests and a map the size of Toronto.

(UPDATE)ESRB leaks Persona 4 on PS3

ESRB

Update: Persona 4 has been officially announced for the PS3. It will arrive April 8th for $9.99 as a PS2 classic.

The official ESRB website has spilled the beans on Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 coming to the PS3, botching any potential reveal Atlus had planned.

The manner of the release is as of yet unknown, but I am hoping that they are planning a port of Persona 4 Golden to hype up the upcoming, highly anticipated Persona 5.

The ESRB states:

This is a role-playing game in which players control a high school student who enters a mystical ‘TV World, ‘ saves lost souls who are trapped on the ‘Midnight Channel,’ and establishes bonds with town characters in order to develop ‘Personas.’ Personas, which are summoned through the use of tarot cards, are creatures that can perform special offensive and defensive moves to aid during battles against monsters. Combat is turn-based with numeric values and light effects indicating attack/damage inflicted. Pixilated blood spray is briefly depicted during battles, and colored bloodstains stain some walls and floors. […] Story elements also make references to alcohol, including a long scene in which the main characters hang out in a club and play ‘drinking games.’ Although alcohol is never consumed, the characters display the telltale signs of intoxication: slurred speech, staggered walking, and red faces. Profanity can be heard in the dialogue.

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Courtesy of Destructoid

As someone who is currently playing through Persona 4 Golden on the PS Vita, I can say that the Persona franchise is one of the most engaging RPG series I’ve had the pleasure of playing, and I would not hesitate to get a copy on the PS3 if it is in fact P4G.