Atlus Has A Game Preservation Problem

Over the last several years, Atlus has seen an influx of new fans with the release of critically acclaimed titles like Shin Megami Tensei V and personas 5. Despite the rampant success and newfound interest in the greater Shin Megami Tensei franchise, Atlus has not put in the effort to thoroughly re-release older games in the series. This has rendered the central mainline titles, as well as the bevy of subseries, inaccessible to the modern fan.

Building upon the foundation established by 1987’s Digital Devil Story: Megami TenseiAtlus released the original Shin Megami Tensei in 1992. It served as a neo-origin point for the franchise, establishing the mainline series and laying the foundation for the many subseries soon to follow. However, despite its incredibly rich library, Atlus seems to have little interest with regard to video game preservation, considering most Shin Megami Tensei games are not readily available on modern platforms.

Related: Soul Hackers 2: Why Shin Megami Tensei Fans Should Revisit the First Game

Regarding the mainline series, The only two titles currently available on current generation consoles are Shin Megami Tensei V (which is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch) and the HD remaster of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II have yet to receive a western release on any console, with the sole exception being a 2014 port of the original Shin Megami Tensei for iOS, which cannot be accessed on current-generation iOS devices. Shin Megami Tensei IV, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux are currently stuck on the Nintendo 3DS. The upcoming discontinuation of the 3DS e-shop will soon render these titles digitally unavailable, forcing fans to buy overpriced, second-hand copies.

Several subseries find themselves in the same dilemma, such as the tactical RPG series, Devil Survivorperpetuated by its two enhanced re-releases, Devil Survivor: Overclocked and Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker. Permanent discontinuation of the 3DS e-shop will render the entire Devil Survivor series completely inaccessible. The original Soul Hackersthe second game in the Devil Summoner subseries, is another 3DS title in jeopardy of losing its accessibility, which is rather problematic since Atlus recently pushed the game back into the limelight with the announcement of its upcoming sequel, Soul Hackers 2.

Similar to the 3DS, the PlayStation 3’s digital store houses several Shin Megami Tensei titles from past PlayStation eras. While Sony retracted its statement about closing the PlayStation 3 store, the process of buying digital games on a PlayStation 3 is rather tedious. Regardless, the PS3 is the only means to access several Shin Megami Tensei titles, such as Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoah vs. The Soulless Army and its sequel, Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoah Vs. King Abaddon. The most notable series still trapped on the PlayStation 3 is Digital Devil Sagawhich is highly regarded for its fresh take on the press-turn battle system and its unique, character-driven narrative, indicative of a classic personas title.

Related: 5 Games Persona 5 Fans Should Play

Despite Atlus’ recent prioritization of the very lucrative personas subseries, it still has its fair share of preservation problems. While Atlus has certainly kept personas 5 and Persona 4 in the spotlight with several ports and re-releases, the game that laid the foundation for those titles, Persona 3, has yet to see any sort of release on current generation hardware. Its most recent iteration, Persona 3 Portable, was released over a decade ago for the PlayStation Portable. Further, the original Revelations: Persona as well as the Personas 2 duology have been completely neglected since their remakes on the PSP.

This begs the question — what can Atlus do to circumvent the preservation crisis? Subscription services, such as Sony’s revamped PlayStation Plus could serve as a means of preservation for past Shin Megami Tensei games exclusive to Sony consoles. Furthermore, many of the titles stuck on previous generation hardware can find a new home on modern consoles and digital marketplaces like Steam in the form of re-releases and game collections, with the latter an ideal choice for smaller subseries such as Digital Devil Saga and Devil Survivor.

Tea Shin Megami Tensei franchise is at the height of its popularity, yet many highly-acclaimed titles are completely inaccessible on the current generation of consoles. Persona 4’s massive success on Steam is a great indication of demand for older Shin Megami Tensei titles. Offering such a small collection of games on modern platforms is an insult to the franchise as a whole, as newcomers are unable to enjoy the vast number of unique experiences offered by every subseries under the Shin Megami Tensei umbrella.

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