SEGA has confirmed its plans for both Atlus and parent company, Index, two companies it acquired when Index filed for bankruptcy last September. The two will be split into new branches with entirely different business focuses.
The company previously known as Index Digital Media, Inc will change its name to Atlus, and its 121 employees will take up the mantle of "game planning and development," meaning not much is changing. They will still be making Persona, Etrian Odyssey, and whatever else comes to their minds.
The new Index Corporation, recently formed, and its 166 employees will focus more on "content distribution, systems development, internet advertisements, etc," meaning that the gaming side of things will no longer be left in their hands.
The changes go into effect on April 1.
The news also prompted Persona 5 director Katsura Hashino to chime in and send a heartfelt message to fans, apologizing for the stress Atlus' business situation has caused over the years.
The past few years, we've caused all of you fans to worry greatly. The Atlus group (company) that was always there, was lost, just like that, and for the sake of continuing as a brand, it's almost as though we had no other choice [but to rely] on our products' uniqueness that brings joy. It's how we've faced the past few years.
This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I believe that a product should have characteristics similar to what a person should have—something that can provide a feeling of stimulation or impact to someone, and perhaps even a 'charm' that could change one's own sense of values.
Without simply stopping at what's just fun, the desire for making those who get the experience to play it, retain something in their hearts… those are the thoughts and feelings that are important to us, as we've continued pursuing creativity.
That will not be changing.
We'll keep working hard to be able to continue making games that will bring you joy, and nothing would make me happier than hearing your warm voices of encouragement.
Atlus is one of the finest development and publishing operations in the world of video games, so when word got out that Index was filing for bankruptcy, you can guess that a lot of fans shrieked in horror at the idea of something happening to the beloved company. Wise move on SEGA's part for snatching them up since Atlus gives them access to world renown JRPGs, something it lacks in its own library these days.
Wise move for promising to give them total creative freedom as well. You don't exactly tell the company with the best reviewed RPGs how to make games.
From here on out SEGA will hopefully use both companies effectively enough to keep the spark alive which catapulted Atlus to the front of the JRPG race over the last ten years. It's nice to finally learn that your favorite companies are safe once again.
Persona 5 will be released on the PlayStation 3 before the end of the year in Japan. No word on an American release, but it is bound to happen eventually. Atlus wouldn't have it any other way.