Shin Megami Tensei is 25! My first thought out of this is god damn I am old, my second thought is what does this mean for the franchise. Considering the “Next” in the logo and the inclusion of a five pointed star needless to say people are wondering what it could all mean for the niche yet beloved franchise.
To be honest I’m one of them and I am of two minds. The first will be some kind of grand compilation of titles in the franchise. Something akin to what Final Fantasy has done in the recent past. However the first and second Shin Megami Tensei to be blunt have not aged well at all and while Nocturne is a modern classic it’s recent appearance on the PSN makes a more formal rerelease less then ideal. That brings us to Shin Megami Tensei IV and it’s companion game Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse which as recent 3DS releases are probably not what the fans are looking for at the moment.
Now since we know nothing about this topic other then what I’ve pointed out above this is the perfect time for idle speculation and a bit of hopeful wish making. That being said I’ll lay my biases on the table, I love Shin Megami Tensei as a serie; it’s weird, it’s hard, it’s memorable, and its so Japanese its divine. So lets dive in deep to where this franchise can go.
In recent years Atlus and Nintendo have had a very productive relationship with each other. As mentioned above Shin Megami Tensei IV released as a 3DS exclusive. At the time many Playstation fans were very disappointed not only was the successor to Nocturne forsaking their console, however it was skipping a home console release all together. These fears were for naught as Shin Megami Tensei IV was as big and engrossing an RPG as Nocturne was before it.
As such what could this recent relationship hold for the future of the franchise? Well if we look at the above graphic from Nintendo’s announcement of the Switch Atlus is most certainly there. As the developer of one of the few good third party games for the Wii U in Tokyo Mirage Sessions # FE Atlus seems to still have faith in the house Mario built. However do they have enough faith for a full scale home console Shin Megami Tensei title?
I would say it’s highly possible - indeed potentially likely - especially as the Switch will serve as both Nintendo’s handheld as well as the 3DS fades into the sunset. Furthermore with the announcement of a MegTen announcement only days before Nintendo reveals a lot about the switch, the timing is right. Atlus isn’t dumb after all, they have to know people will speculate. Was this the goal? Who knows, but I’ll certainly be looking Nintendo’s way to find out.
I think we are past the point where a mere HD rerelease of this title will do. As it is without any doubt the series high water mark, especially in the West. An area Atlus is starting to push hard to build the franchise up in. As such if this announcement involves the Demifiend in some way a PS4 Remake is the most likely bet.
Some issues with this though is the announcement image clearly has a “Next” in it. Why would Atlus tease what is “next” when they’re planning on going backwards? It doesn’t make much sense does it? Well no, which is why I think this will fit in my wishful thinking category.
So ya this has to be involved in the discussion? Despite all of what Atlus has said regarding that fans should not expect a fifth installment for some time. Especially considering how rare numbered installments in the series are. Remember mainline Shin Megami Tensei titles are rarer then Final Fantasy. IV took longer after Nocturne then Final Fantasy XV did after XIII.
As such I’ll admit if Atlus in the next little while announces V I’ll be shocked. It’ll be a happy kind of shock to be sure. However I really cannot see it coming as I just put a fully released Shin Megami Tensei story to sleep less then a month ago. It would be great for Atlus and fans would go ballistic especially if it returned to the home consoles, however there just seems too many things both in terms of tradition and game development realities to make this anything but a far off chance. Of course I might just be thinking this to not get my hopes up only to be dashed... perhaps one can dream.
Shin Megami Tensei is more then just one franchise its many. In terms of size as a meta-franchise its likely only eclipsed by Final Fantasy is production output. As such a fun potential of the 25th anniversary would be a for me a merging of all these franchises. Some kind of connective tissue to bind everything together.
Would it be hard... actually no. As the plot of the recent Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse actually makes the idea of multiple independent but connected universes eminently possible. Plus the limited connections that many of the franchises have already unification in terms of lore is actually kind of easy to dream up, if not so easy to explain. Seriously try explaining the timeline of Persona to somebody if you know it... not an easy task.
What form this would take? Who knows, would it be convoluted and likely only appeal to the most die hard fans. Oh ya. Does all this likely preclude it from being a reality in the future, likely. Do I care about any of this? Nope. This is idle speculation and wishful thinking after all.
So what does everyone else think, if you’ve given it some thought. Does future collaboration with Nintendo excite you as much as it does with me. Or how about something bigger and unexpected that I haven’t thought of. I’d love to hear your thoughts.