E3 2006: Major Atlus Update
05.10.06 - 8:12 PM

We got a chance to sit down and talk to Zach Meston, PR Manager at Atlus USA, and it was quite revealing. Atlus has is bringing a veritable cornucopia of RPG and strategy titles to the US in the upcoming year. High profile titles include the latest in the Shin Megami Tensei series, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner for PS2 and, unexpectedly, Persona 3 also for PS2. Devil Summoner will not be coming to PSP, unfortunately, due to SCEA's requirements for new content.

However, there were quite a few smaller, yet significant titles announced for various consoles, along with a few real surprises. First up, on GBA is Summon Night, an RPG with a side-view action battle system ala Namco's Tales games, and an overhead view on maps. In the game you can play as either a boy or a girl and summon beasts, giving you different story paths and interactions with characters.

Next on the GBA front is Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation, which is a title import fans will recognize as part of one of the more popular strategy series in Japan. As Bandai's flagship strategy title, you get to control a bevy of giant robots as they fight with each other, team up to combine attacks, and trick out your mechs. While there won't be any of the classic series robots fans have come to expect (i.e. Gundam, Evangelion, etc.), there's still enough metal carnage for all. Since it will be a bit complex, however, Atlus is tossing around the idea of including a control "cheat sheet" to help players through the commands.

Last on our list of GBA titles is Yggdra Union, sequel to the surprise hit Riviera: The Promised Land. Gone is the dating sim elements and turn based combat, to be replaced with strategy battles somewhat akin to Nintendo's Advance Wars, a card system, and unite attacks. Leveling up weapons and items returns, however, as does the art style, so fans of the series still have something to relate to.

Moving on to Nintendo DS we have Contact, a very original title, in which you don't play as the character, you actually play as a person controlling the character. The game frequently "breaks the fourth wall", meaning that the characters (particularly the professor) will talk directly to the player, explaining how to control the main character, Terry. Spells are cast by rubbing them off like decals onto the screen, and there will be wi-fi connectability so players can cooperate. Unfortunately, what I got to play on the show floor had pretty bad controls, but it is still in development, so we'll see how it turns out.

Deep Labyrinth is an adaptation of a cell phone game, designed by Masato Katou, scenario designer of Chrono Trigger, and with music composed by Yasunori Mitsuda. Deep Labyrinth features real-time first-person combat on the DS, using the stylus. Honestly, though, it still looks like a cell-phone title, graphics-wise.

Then there is Touch Detective, which has a great art style (see pictures later) and cute animation. The player takes on the role of a young girl who is the daughter of a famous detective, now dead. Somewhat like Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Touch Detective requires you to investigate crime scenes, look for clues, and manipulate items to solve four different cases.

This promises to be a big year for Atlus's games on all fronts with most of the titles coming out Fall of this year. We'll have pictures as soon as possible.


Damian Thomas