In what is the coolest jobs I've ever had, I write about toys for a living. All day, nothing but toys. It's amazing. When I'm not writing at work I'm writing at home, either working on my screenplay or my children's novel. When I'm not doing any of that I try to get in some video game time. I'm currently rocking Nintendo only consoles because dammit, I love Nintendo. More than Nintendo, I love platform games. Even though my favorite game isn't a platformer (The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker), it is my favorite genre of games.
Follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/thekillerbees and add me to your 3DS Friends List (1633-4277-3240 and let me know so I can add you to mine.) I'd love to meet some people who want play some Kid Icarus, Resident Evil: Revelations and Mario Kart 7.
On my game shelf right now sits a copy of Shin Megami Tensei 4. It is my first forray into a mainline entry in the series. I bought it not only for the sweet deal that came with buying it and Fire Emblem Awakening, but also the fact that there arenít many mature games available for the 3DS, and even fewer with giant dick monster. So it sits on my shelf next to my copy of Infinite Space, one of the lesser known games from P* that graced the DS a few years back.
Both of these are small, niche games. They appeal to only a small segment of gamers. Small, niche appeal is something that Atlus Games is known for. Its niche fanbase is something that Atlus has built up over its decades in the business. The Atlus Faithful is something many other small developers would kill for.
Atlus got to be the big fish in the tiny pond because it catered to its fans and it worked within its limits. None of its games are million sellers. Its games rarely, if ever, make the top 10 titles outside of Japan. You wonít see a Persona or a Etrian Odyssey title on any best selling games of the year list anytime soon. Yet even without having a superstar franchise, Atlus thrives. It thrives in Japan and its niche fanbase in the US turns out every release with cash in hand for the next Altus masterpiece. Atlus knows how to cater to its niche audience, and that is what I fear will be lost with its acquisition by SEGA Corp.
Technically, Atlus is now run by SEGA Dream, which is owned by SEGA Corp., which is owned by SEGA Sammy Holdings. The confusion over who actually owned the company caused way more uproar than it warranted, but now the truth it out. We know that SEGA owns Atlus. We know that SEGA Sammy has plans for the Atlus IPs that extend beyond video games. We know that SEGA is looking a different devices for Atlus to spread onto. Technically, SEGA wants to ďfurther facilitation of revenue growth for the PC Online Game Business and Content Business for Smart Devices operated by SEGA and SEGA Networks Co., Ltd. by exploiting acquired prominent IPs.Ē
Iím not about to go on an anti-mobile gaming tirade, but as one of those niche gamers who Atlus caters to I worry about losing that. I worry about a F2P mobile game being developed in lieu of a handheld or console title. It seems more and more companies are trying to expand their audiences at the expense of those who got them where they are. I can understand that thinking. Many gamers are spoiled and they want the very best every goddamn time. Giving the very best can be expensive so developers have to do everything they can to make their games profitable. Itís a vicious cycle of snark and hate. I donít want Atlus to go down that road. Games like Shin Megami Tensei and Etrian Odyssey shouldnít have to worry about finding an expanded audience if they want to continue to exist because they exist just fine as they are. As an RPG fan, who loves biting into a hearty adventure with a ragtag group of heroes, I donít want to see those titles go down the road that so many others have. People said that SEGA is better than Capcom or EA or Square-Enix, and thatís true, but a Atlus on its own would have been the best, if improbable, outcome of this situation.
And this isn't me being worried about the lack of localization. SEGA knows exactly what types of games Atlus releases and SEGA knows about the Atlus faithful. I have no worries that the US will miss out on Atlus games because we still have Atlus USA. I know that SEGA is chided for its decision to not localize Valkyria Chronicles 3, but really it should be chided by its decision to make the game for the PSP.
In SEGA and SEGA Sammyís defense, there are some benefits. With SEGA Sammy Holdings flipping the bill for Atlus, we might actually see a PS3 or PS4 Persona game. With SEGAís great relationship with Nintendo, we can assume the much anticipated SMTxFE title will still happen. But things are changing, and people are resistant to change. This move could be an unexpected benefit, or we could watch as Atlus goes down the road of Hudson Soft. I donít like watching things I love die and thatís why I am worried about this acquisition.