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Atlus and Its New Home: Speculation and Paranoia

A recent article on N4G has just popped up showcasing its reasoning for a prediction involving Nintendo purchasing the newly available Atlus since their parent company went bankrupt (though the article inaccurately states that Atlus itself has gone bankrupt). This spawned a great deal of controversy in the comments section with people claiming tooth and nail whether it was a good or bad thing. I thought I would throw in my thoughts on the matter in this blog, as I feel a comment would not be enough to convey what I have to say.

Here is a link to the article if you wish to read it yourself.

First and foremost, the article's headline was nothing short of sensationalist; while submitted as an opinion piece, the article's headline suggested that it was confirmed Nintendo would be buying the developer. This is not the case; I'm sure it's on the table, but nothing has been confirmed. Atlus, as far as we know, has no buyers or even bidders! Instead of freaking out over someone else's speculation, why weren't more people upset at the author for doing little more than trying to stir controversy and hits for their site? It just seemed particularly insulting to the readers of the material and not enough people were interested in pointing that out.

Further along, a lot of people were trying to argue why Nintendo owning the developer would be this awful, terrible end of all great things (yes, this is sarcastic exaggeration) and why Sony would be a better option or vice versa. To be perfectly frank, while in the end I would not mind either publisher owning Atlus, the fact of the matter is either choice would be bad for gamers.

Wanting such a popular multiconsole developer to be exclusive to your favorite platform is stupid and selfish. I know people will respond to this with Bayonetta 2's Wii U exclusivity, but the first game wasn't very successful to begin with. Atlus' games have found quite an audience on a vast array of platforms and to be perfectly honest I would not want the Persona series to be restricted and ignored by those shallow enough to just up and forget about how great the series is because it's now exclusive to one console.

The important thing about the above paragraph is this; this is just my opinion here. You cannot state why Sony owning Atlus or Nintendo owning Atlus is good or bad and call it an objective fact. You simply cannot. These are subjective opinions and I feel people are letting this cloud one very important factor; Atlus' future hangs in the balance of ALL of this. I will take the likes of Capcom owning Atlus if it means the company can continue to exist as it is and keep making its games the way THEY want to.

Some believe Nintendo would not allow Atlus to continue working their creative magic as they see fit and, while I respect those feel that way, I believe that point is entirely bogus. For starters, Nintendo is publishing Bayonetta 2, the sequel to an M rated title as well as done a promotion for Shin Megami Tensei IV another M rated game for 3DS. And while Nintendo's ownership of the Fatal Frame franchise has been less than desirable to fans (although I would argue this is because the series incredibly niche and not as popular in western regions) Monolith Soft is another developer that since its acquisition it has only been focused on its vision. No Mario, no Zelda, just Xenoblade and the upcoming (and much more darkly styled) Project X. Atlus already has made several Nintendo exclusive games (such as Trauma Center and several Shin Megami Tensei games), none of which have been censored or ignored by Nintendo. In the end, I don't believe Nintendo would force much, if anything on Atlus if they were acquired by them.

This also goes for anyone hoping for Sony to pick up the dev. It's not a good thing either way, so I don't see why you would have to be so selfish as to restrict Persona or SMT to your preferred console. It probably would not hurt Atlus much, if at all, but it's not fair to other gamers who have experienced all of those franchises on other platforms. It's not fair to Sony/Microsoft fans who play Persona or Nintendo fans who play Trauma Center or SMT.

But in the end all of this is beside the point! I think, as a Nintendo fan this would be a great thing, but as a gamer it's not (as explained above). But the thing is it's not a guaranteed thing; in fact, I'd go so far as to say it's not even all that likely. There's little to suggest that Nintendo is even interested in acquiring more developers at all when instead they have confirmed to be working on third party partnerships, not unlike what was accomplished with Team Ninja with Metroid Other M and Platinum Games with Wonderful 101. Sony on the other hand isn't exactly in the best financial situation to begin with and are probably just focused on the PS4 and indie support, so I don't see them all that interested.

In the end what matters is Atlus gets acquired by someone who understands and cares for their work and my personal hope is for it to be someone third party who is interested in the market as a whole and not just one of the big three. I want Atlus to continue as before because THAT WORKED. Atlus is fine doing what they are doing and they don't need a console manufacturer forcing them to make games for any one or two brand exclusive platforms. It really bothers me that people will demonize one publisher and/or praise another when in the end it really feels to me that BOTH outcomes would be very bad for a lot of gamers out there.

Atlus, as well as us gamers, were just fine before. Let's stop pretending them being owned by Nintendo or Sony is this god-awful/wonderful thing. In my view it is anything but. Atlus needs a new host that can let them keep doing what they wish to do. Whatever they decide I'm sure will be the best choice. So let's stop freaking out for a little bit and actually wait and see what the hell happens.

I apologize to anyone offended by these opinions. Your thoughts?

Donnieboi3726d ago (Edited 3726d ago )

Good blog. But when u say "Atlus already has made several Nintendo exclusive games (such as Trauma Center and several Shin Megami Tensei games), none of which have been censored or ignored by Nintendo.", we can't know that they wouldn't ever censor it for sure because it isn't a first party company yet. But of course, that isn't a good enough arguement to accuse Nintendo either. That's why I propose a different idea--the idea that doesn't have to accuse Nintendo, but acknowledges that there may be companies out there with an even LESS likely chance of turning down risque idea's or censoring ATLUS's games.

And people will argue with me, but frankly i'm tired of arguing about it. I'm not saying they definitely WILL censor it, but why is it that it is even a debatable issue? I mean--why are so many people saying it if there wasn't a chance it might be censored (as a first party--just because ATLUS did as they pleased as a 3rd party doesn't mean Nintendo will invest in risque games like Catherine in the future). People are "paranoid" because they might feel that there is some merit to their fears. We can't dismiss people as paranoid when they are quit sizable in number.

Even still, I understand when u say they support Bayonetta. But I think SMT games are on another level, especially the ones on PS1/PS2 (and no i'm not name-dropping PS just to say PS, I'm just saying it was that time period when ATLUS went full berserk). Those games were crazy.

Nobody knows for sure if Nintendo WON'T censor them as a first party. No one knows if they WILL, either.

But one thing I'm not seeing is people saying that SONY would censor them. There's no fear of that.

But of course, some ATLUS games on Nintendo platforms don't need censoring--like the DS versions of SMT, SMT spin-offs geared towards broader audiences on DS, and Trauma Center, etc. But if it were a first party, Sony would not censor. Sony would not interfere in ATLUS's pacing towards development. They would support games like Catherine without even batting an eye. But that's if we are comparing first party companies for acquisitions (Nintendo vs Sony).

Don't bite my head off, just explaining the trends I see when it comes to fears (whether we think they are justified or not) people have of Nintendo vs Sony when it comes to an Atlus acquisition. Nobody is afraid of Sony censorship. However, they ARE afraid that many would be left out (Nintendo or Sony fans).

So with that, I would hope that maybe GungHo, Namco, Bethesda Japan, etc would look into it. I guess the reason people are even freaking out over a first party acquisition is because of that article today that had the misleading title saying Nintendo bought ATLUS. And even though I've kept that banner up on my profile showing my support for a SONY/ATLUS partnership, it's only because I have no fears of such a union going sour. However, a 3rd party acquisition is best because only than can ATLUS stay relatively free to eventually be independent again.

Had it not been for that article, no one would be having this discussion about first party acquisitions in the first place (although personally I ad my eye on a SONY acquisition since the day Index/Atlus filed for Bankruptcy, for the reasons I stated above about SONY's handling of niche studios).

Anyway, good blog.

PopRocks3593726d ago (Edited 3726d ago )

"but why is it that it is even a debatable issue?"

Honestly my friend, I think a better question is why WOULD Nintendo censor Atlus' work? Aside from Mortal Kombat in the SNES days, I don't really know of any times where Nintendo censored anything. You can argue it's because Nintendo has taken the "kiddie" route, but there's little to convince me that they are willing to censor other developers' work. (Ironically enough, No More Heroes on the Wii was only censored in Japan and I believe the UK as well, but the North American version had all red blood as originally conceived).

Xenoblade Chronicles itself, while not rated M, practically starts its story with a really grim tragedy involving a close friend of Shulk being killed in a very grisly manner. Trauma Center has a ton of blood in it as well as really grim stories for the patients you're working on. Shin Megami Tensei, an M rated game, was outright promoted through Nintendo alongside their Teen rated Fire Emblem game (yes, for the crossover game on Wii U, but I feel the point stands). Not to mention Nintendo themselves initially licensed Resident Evil 4 as well as published the violent (and nudity-ridden) Geist on the Gamecube.

The reason why I think I and others are willing to argue that Nintendo would not censor Atlus' work is because, at least in my own personal view, there's more to support the claim that Nintendo would not go about censoring it. I'm not saying people can't have that concern; there's always that chance but I find it to be unlikely. And with all due respect man, just because there is a lot of people with this concern does not necessarily make it more (or even less) valid. The reason I used the word paranoia is because I felt people were going a little crazy with what they thought Nintendo would do to Atlus, something I simply did not agree with. Not saying ALL of it was, but a number of those comments felt very extreme.

I mean with Sony, sure there's no worry about censoring, but look at how they've treated some of their studios. A number of small Sony studios have been closed this past generation but then look at the Playstation All-Stars team. Made one game, a game the fans really liked a lot and they were swept under the rug and left to dry. Again, NOT guaranteed by any means, but a definite possibility.

The major point of this blog is that neither way is all that bad or all that good. They both have their own ups and downs. But in the end Atlus should remain independently neutral of any of the big three. They should be allowed to continue as normal and no one console manufacturer can necessarily guarantee that.

Donnieboi3726d ago (Edited 3726d ago )

Okay well I don't know what else to say. I mean, i'm not fully swayed by your response, and that's okay, because we are all entitled to our own opinions. I'm all pooped out from arguing. And arguing isn't gonna change anything (I think we both know that from the past). Frankly, I'm not at all surprised by your response, So I'll just choose to respect your perspective on it. Being a long time ATLUS fan, I still feel the way that I do, so arguing isn't going to change that.

In the end, I still believe there is less chance for concern if another company other than Nintendo gets it. Perhaps Namco or Bethesda.

That way everyone can enjoy their games--because in the end, being confined to any one console is like a form of censorship all in itself (whether exclusive to Sony or Nintendo).

ZodTheRipper3725d ago (Edited 3725d ago )

^I guess it's safe to say that with Sony we would get the best titles in terms of "next-gen" quality because they would be PS4 exclusive and didn't have to develop for the inferior WiiU. I wouldn't mind a third party to aquire Atlus but I would definately appreciate it the most if Sony would incorporate Atlus as a first party RPG deveoper, because that's pretty much what Sony is missing atm.

Good read btw :)

PopRocks3593726d ago (Edited 3726d ago )

It's cool man. Wasn't really trying to change your view, nor do I even feel it to be necessary to do so. And like I said it's certainly not outside the realm of reason to have those concerns. My view is just different, that's all and I appreciate that we can respect each others views.

"That way everyone can enjoy their games--because in the end, being confined to any one console is like a form of censorship all in itself (whether exclusive to Sony or Nintendo)."

Most certainly. Hopefully whatever happens with Atlus will be beneficial to everyone and not just one side.

Donnieboi3726d ago

^ Thanks man. I pray that whatever happens, the new publisher (whether it's Nintendo, Namco, Sony, bethesda, Square, etc) makes a public acknowledgment not to censor or interfere with Atlus's creative process.

And thanks for being so cool man. I'm glad your my friend, even when we have different perspectives sometimes :)

TongkatAli3726d ago

The Hitler character in Persona 2 Innocent Sin was censored in the release for the PSP. Atlus even censors their own shit sometimes.

I hope Arkys and Atlus merge. Persona 4 Arena proved they work really well together like peanut butter and jelly.

Donnieboi3726d ago

That was entirely the decision of Atlus USA. Anyway, Arc Systems and Atlus would be a good combo. Unfortunately Arc Systems doesn't have a lot of money.

chadboban3726d ago (Edited 3726d ago )

Very good blog Pop

My comment from an article on this very matter:

I'd rather they have a way they can stay third party, where they can do whatever they want and put it on any system they want.
Them being bought by Sony or Nintendo is bad for fans of their games.

Think about it this way, should they be bought by Sony,
Nintendo fans will lose:

(*** means "Should it become a franchise")

SMT x Fire Emblem
The Devil Survivor series
The Etrian Odyssey series
Code of Princess***
The Trauma Center series
Radiant Historia***

Should they be bought by Nintendo, Sony fans will lose:

The Persona series
Any other SMT games
Dragon's Crown***

Them being bought by Sony or Nintendo is bad as it will hurt the people who have supported these series on their respective systems and will also limit Atlus themselves in terms of what they want to do. Some of the games and franchises I listed may even disappear entirely and I don't think ANYONE wants that. Let Atlus stay third party, let them be free to do what they want.

MacDonagh3725d ago

I look at it this way.

If it becomes exclusive to one console; you could conceivably get all those games on the one console, saving you money in the long run from buying two or three separate consoles for different games from the same publisher.

Of course a lot of people will still buy two or three consoles to play the games they want to play but not everybody is made of money.

Donnieboi3725d ago

The issue isn't just that it's on one console though. The issue is who the publisher will be. The publisher can effect what games are allowed to get made, and what games get rejected. So even if it was on one system, people would just get that system. The problem is if the games suffer due to whoever acquired them. The same goes for if 3rd party companies acquire Atlus. Example: If EA acquired them, we might get tons of shortened games because they want to pimp-out DLC towards consumers. Get what I mean?

MacDonagh3725d ago


While I have the same sort of uncertainty when it comes to how the games may turn out; I respectfully disagree on Nintendo outright censoring Atlus's output due to the fact that it ain't the 90s anymore. Nintendo have allowed developers to develop the games that they want to make. You can see Bayonetta 2 as a recent example of the direction of which Nintendo are trying to go.

Even other titles such as No More Heroes or Madworld have had the opportunity to explore their respective worlds without Nintendo interfering in the development process.

Monolith Soft have done pretty well for themselves after being taken over by Nintendo and I would like to believe that Nintendo doesn't want to censor or sabotage a working philosophy for a company if that particular philosophy works for that company. Monolith's Super Mario RPG: Wonder Brigade for Babbies has yet to be even conceived and perhaps the cynicism is misplaced.

I can guarantee you this though. If Sony were somehow linked as possibly taking over Atlus; there would be nowhere near as much of an outcry than Nintendo taking over.

Either option is a far better alternative than Atlus being forced out of business or Microsoft taking them over and ruining them beyond repair.

majiebeast3726d ago

They could also spin off Atlus so that its not affiliated with Index anymore, its 1 of the only profitable company's Index has.

Now lets see who could buy Atlus if they wanted.

-Gungho made a bigger profit then Sony and Nintendo in Q1,Q2 2013 and could be looking to expand and use the Persona/SMT IP for a new MMO.
-Tencent They own a minority stake of Epic and 400million in Riotgames and are now producing that Monster Hunter MMO.
-Marvelous AQL not my first choice cause they didnt want to publish Dragons crown.
-Sega/Sammy still have more then enough money in the warchest to buy up Atlus.
-Namco I put them on the list just to be sure but they also own D3 publishing.

Companies i doubt would buy up Atlus.
-Square Enix with the huge investment they have in FF14RR i doubt they would want to make a risky business decision cause if FF14RR tanks Square Enix wont be far behind.
-Sony had the chance to buy Square Enix after Sakaguchi's movie Final Fantasy Spirits Within bombed badly but chose not too i doubt they would really be intrested to buy up Atlus as a whole. Maybe if IP's and studio's come up for sale cause it would certainly strenghten their position in Japan.
-Nintendo The publishing wing of Atlus is useless to them so buying Atlus as the entire company would be out of the question. Especially if Iwata wants to keep his forecats for this year which already would take a miracle to achieve. I can see them buying SMT and EO IP if Atlus assets are on sale.

Nintendo and Sony are both the most unlikely candidates.

-Nintendo would be better off buying a western studio or Platinum Games it probably costs less and they dont get a bunch of assets they dont use.
-Sony is still struggling and like Nintendo would be better off just buying a developer.

MacDonagh3725d ago

"-Sega/Sammy still have more then enough money in the warchest to buy up Atlus.
-Namco I put them on the list just to be sure but they also own D3 publishing."

Both Sega and Namco are in financial trouble. Bayonetta 2 would've been cancelled if it wasn't for Nintendo. A lot more people should be thankful for that, but whatever. Namco are also not doing too well these days and it'd be difficult to justify spending money when your company is losing money.

"Nintendo would be better off buying a western studio or Platinum Games it probably costs less and they dont get a bunch of assets they dont use."

Oh yes. I'm sure most western studios are too busy riding Sony's nuts to care about Nintendo. Not to mention the reaction to the mere idea of any decent studio being taken over by Nintendo has been met with much resistance and gnashing of teeth.

I think it's a good fit to be honest. Both Nintendo and Atlus have been guilty of rehashing the same games with constant updates/tweaks. The Persona series from 2-4 have had updates on the Sony handhelds for instance. I'll just say this much on the whole thing.

It could always be worse. Microsoft could buy them.

tiffac0083725d ago

No please not Sega, they have a knack of not localizing their games and sometimes killing off their best franchises. Bamco owe us some "Tales Of" games, can't depend on them to deliver.

Gung Ho, Marvelous AQL, Tecmo Koei, Level-5 or Nippon Ichi would be the ideal groups of choices.

wingman32x3726d ago

Great blog. I always got the feeling that the "Nintendo/Sony should scoop them up" comments are clouded in bias and selfishness, and maybe even greed.

I'm a Nintendo and Playstation fan/console owner, so neither situation would be a disaster or anything for me. However, it does disappoint me that a vocal group of fans on both sides effectively want to deprive fans of the other camp of Atlus games. I just don't get that aspect of it.

The ideal solution here is that Atlus remain third party. The company has a long history with both console makers, and I hope it stays that way.

zerocrossing3725d ago

Honestly I don't much care weather it's Sony or Nintendo that end up scooping up Atlus, I only care that we may loose them all together if no one does because that would mean loosing one of the most original and talented devs out there.

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jznrpg1d 11h ago (Edited 1d 11h ago )

I want to play Alan Wake but I’m not buying another digital only game this year. I still haven’t bought Baldurs Gate 3 but if do buy a digital only game that will be the one but I’m still holding out as I have tons of games to play and don’t like buying digital only. I hate this practice and don’t want to support it. I understand small indie games sometimes being digital only but those are rare too. But these bigger games can easily get someone to print them 100k or more copies and they will all sell.

gold_drake1d 11h ago

yh im holding off on Alan wake too.

the digital only is stupid as hell. there is no way that the physical media costs them so much.