In an interview with Nico Nico News (translated by Siliconera,) Shin Megami Tensei IV director Kazuyuki Yamai revealed that his latest game was designed to remind people that games can be more than just childish toys or mindless time wasters.
According to Yamai, Shin Megami Tensei IV was born out of the desire to create a game that would disprove the idea that “games are childish” or that “social games are good enough.”
Yamai says he hopes SMT4 is “Something that can move people. Something that can give some sort of hint to those who are living hard lives, and perhaps even provide an unforgettable feeling of shock.” Yamai also added, “This title isn’t only for younger people, as it’s also a bitter and serious drama we’ve accomplished, that even adults can play and say ‘I see’”
Throughout the course of Shin Megami Tensei IV, players will be forced to make difficult choices that will have permanently effect the outcome of the story. While other SMT games have featured multiple endings, the level of choice in SMT4 is far deeper than in previous games. ““During the game, there are various scenes where the player will be faced with necessary decisions. For example, you may agree or disagree with one of your allies. Sometimes you’ll have to decide between finishing off a dying enemy or letting them live. Such choices will have a large impact on the story’s development… The story you experience will vary according to each player.”
You can read more of Yamai’s interview, including some new details about SMT4’s development, over at Siliconera.
Shin Megami Tensei IV was released in Japan last week. The game managed to sell 180,000 copies within a week, making it the second most successful launch in Atlus’s history — only the original PS2 release of Persona 4 managed to have a slightly better debut, selling 4,000 copies more than SMT4 did in the same amount of time.
Over the last few months, a lot of major Japanese publishers (most notably Square Enix) have announced that they’re going to focus more on social or mobile games rather than traditional titles for consoles, so it’s good to hear a director from a major Japanese developer take a stand for “core”-focused games. I understand that its easier to turn a buck with social games (especially with the inflated, unsustainable budgets of triple-A console development nowadays,) but it’s good to know that at least Atlus is sticking to their guns and that they still believe there’s a future for traditional J-RPGs. I was a huge fan of PS2 Shin Megami Tensei games (especially Digital Devil Saga and Persona 4,) so obviously I’m pretty hyped for SMT4.
Shin Megami Tensei IV will be released for the 3DS in the US on July 16. Customers who pre-order or buy the game at launch will get a Limited Edition package that includes a 176 page strategy guide/art book and a soundtrack CD.