Megami Tensei, Japan’s huge demonic RPG series, has seen a rejuvenation over the last few years thanks to the strong fan reaction to the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona games. The side-series began on the PlayStation as a simple “What if…” storyline to a long running series dating back way to the NES, but now their popularity rivals that of the main series. Persona 3 and Persona 4 get so much love that is easy to forget Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne was also a stand-out quality RPG in the PlayStation 2’s extensive library.
The main Shin Megami Tensei series hasn’t been sent to hell just yet though. Atlus confirmed in May that Shin Megami Tensei IV is being developed for the Nintendo 3DS, and fans have more reason to be happy with a veteran taking up the job as director. Nocturne Maniacs Edition Director, Kazuyuki Yamai, told fans directly through his website that he would be taking control of the upcoming game. Yamai also directs the Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner side series as well.
Contrasting with the goofy and relatively lighthearted high school setting of the Persona games, the main series often dives much deeper into darkness. Nocturne starred a young boy given the body of a demon and forced to live in a hellish post apocalyptic Tokyo, eventually giving birth to a new planet based on morally questionable philosophies. Mass Effect 3 doesn’t stand a chance compared to his one. The creepier artwork set amongst actual real-places makes the game that much more disturbing.
The Megami Tensei games have always has strong gameplay mechanics no matter what side-series or branching storyline gamers choose. As the series becomes more popular though, its themes have been dumbed down and cater-made for the DS playing teen audience. Shin Megami Tensei IV needs the warped atmosphere of Nocturne to bring the dark series back to its thought provoking and controversial roots, and maybe a mind who worked on it can do that.
The last Shin Megami Tensei game to get released in America was Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 for the DS earlier this year. Aside from Shin Megami Tensei IV, a home version of the fighting game Person 4 Arena and a 3DS remake of Yamai’s own Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers are in the works.