I was not expecting this. I knew I'd get a Wii U this year, but didn't know it would be for this.
Back in the midst of a number of crossover game announcements this generation, I had always wondered if Shin Megami Tensei would be a franchise to enter the fray that MVC3, SFXT, Dissidia, Cross Edge, Smash Bros., Project X Zone and Pokemon Conquest all found themselves in. I sometimes would fantasize which franchise would be most compatible and sensible for SMT to face off with.
I considered Pokemon at first, but Pokemon being all sunny and SMT being as dark as it is - along with pushing the monster catching past 1,000+ critters - that it might be a bit too over-the-top. Plus Mara would to terrible things to pokemon - awful, terrible things not meant for the eyes of children. Then I thought Final Fantasy, but that just put SMT characters up against a roster half-comprised of emo kids.
I thought about Fallout, which is an idea that has potential (and the director of Strange Journey loved Fallout 3), but SMT's presence would probably sour the 1950s motif a bit and humor is often fleeting in SMT. Plus SMT takes place in Japan and Fallout wants its 1950s Americana. I also considered The Elder Scrolls because dungeons, dungeons, dungeons - but TES dungeons tend to be not all that threatening and SMT comes from the more sadistic dungeon designs of old western CRPGs that Dragon Quest also emulated. Damage panels, monsters in boxes and all that.
Dragon Quest, again, the problem is the same as Pokemon - too cheery and it would become a weird monster collecting binge.
Then I looked at Fire Emblem and Metroid. Of all Nintendo's main IPs, these two are not about sunshine and rainbows. Metroid has sci-fi, dead worlds and spiritual elements, but its generally a solo affair for Samus no matter which dried up world she visits, That and like Fallout, Metroid is much more about exploring. Not really compatible.
Fire Emblem has its goody two-shoes lords, but also tends to have scummy, scheming, two-timing, back stabbing nobles and royalty. The politics of manipulation, greed, racism and murder abound as some innocent nation is getting ransacked. Then demonic forces eventually turn up and your goodie-goodie lords have to travel the lands in order to amass an army to save the nation or nations in peril.
Shin Megami Tensei has the forces of Law and Chaos - neither terribly good - going at it. Lucifer himself often shows up to egg you along, hoping to get you on his side to fight God. It has its own political intrigue, betrayals and demons all over the place, which you collect by negotiation rather than toss Pokeballs at them. And Lucifer isn't the only schemer about, your most trusted allies can become bitter enemies, which is familiar territory for war-torn youth like you find in Fire Emblem.
Travel a wasteland, meet exotic demons, reunite with dear friends and maybe kill them.
And player choices are often emphasized. Both games champion strong tactical choices, but make a bad one in Fire Emblem and people can die and never return. Each unit has a name, a life, a story and if they die you won't see its ending. SMT has instant kill magic, but also puts an emphasis on moral alignments.
I had found a match made in both Heaven and Hell. There are some problems. I don't know how well Mara and Arioch would fare within a Nintendo-branded game, given one is a tentacled, green penis riding on a gold chariot and the other is a fat, purple demon with a toothy vagina for a stomach. That's a bit of a snag.
Now this pairing that was once in my head is a real game, as if Nintendo and Atlus could detect my brainwaves and had been taking some notes.
So yeah, I kinda lost my shit when i saw the teaser for this as a real game. At any rate - this calls for a reassessment of my RPG quest this year. I intend to go after all the SMT games I can and at least three Fire Emblems, but that's a post for tomorrow, I guess.view gallery