Atlus explains Rule of Rose

By Spencer . June 16, 2006 . 2:17pm

Recently Rule of Rose has gotten a tidal wave of interest thanks to a Gamasutra article where the lead designers of the game spoke about the “erotic themes” in the title. Way before Gamasutra garnered interest in Rule of Rose, Atlus obtained the rights to release the title in North America from Sony of Japan. The game was even shown at E3 and its pretty CG screens captured our attention. Now that the cat’s out of the bag we took some time to speak with Atlus about the game. Zach Meston (PR Manager of Atlus USA) explains how Rule of Rose plays, comments on the Gamasutra article and the game’s North American status.


Siliconera: Let’s get everyone up to speed what’s the story of Rule of Rose?


Zach: Because the story is the best part of Rule of Rose, I don’t want to give away too much. A run-on-sentence setup: you’re an orphaned British girl who’s dumped off at an orphanage that it so happens has been commandeered by a group of creepy little girls who call themselves the Aristocracy of the Red Crayon. The majority of the game is spent catering to the whims of the Aristocracy and having your brain ever-more-scrambled by the twisted story.

Rule of Rose is an interesting title, what’s the significance of it?


It refers to an element of the story that defies a spoiler-free description. Suffice to say, it’ll make sense by the time you finish the game. But doesn’t it sound cool even when you don’t know what it means?


Rule of Rose isn’t exactly a run and gun survival horror game with shock scares. How would you explain the horror dynamics of Rule of Rose?


Rule of Rose is roughly three-quarters psychological horror (such as the scene in which a portly snaggle-toothed girl smears lipstick all over her face, grinning all the while) and one-quarter gross-out horror (such as the scene in which a dead, maggoty rat tied to a stick is waved in someone’s face). Something to emotionally scar every member of the family!


And for gameplay, what can we expect in Rule of Rose? How would you describe fifteen minutes of sit down time with the title?


If you’ve played Silent Hill, you’ll have a decent idea of Rule of Rose’s gameplay mechanics and visual presentation. You explore creepy environments, solve puzzles, and use makeshift weapons to defend yourself against frenzied attacks by a nasty horde of monsters called the Little People.


Who’s doing the voice acting for the North American release? Also are the characters going to have accents?


We’re not changing any of the original voices, which were English to begin with; we’re just changing the subtitles from Japanese to English. And, in keeping with the game’s British setting, all the characters have lovely accents that make everything they say sound impossibly dignified, even if it’s “Gimme those fish and chips, you right bastard!”


At what point did Atlus say Rule of Rose is a game we want to work on?


About two minutes after booting up the evaluation copy. The intro grabs you right away, and the gameplay sucks you in. Plus, it’s got a dog in it, which seems to be our unofficial theme for this year (mutts also play a significant part in Deep Labyrinth and Metal Saga).


How do you feel the audience responded to the Rule of Rose demo at E3?


The response was fantastic. We knew that it would “show” well on our big-arsed booth monitors, but it had attendees stopping in their tracks and watching the entire six-minute CG intro. Six minutes at E3 is a long time, man!


Ok let’s get to the controversy… recently an article appeared on Gamasutra about why Sony Computer Entertainment America passed on localizing the game due to “erotic themes” is it really that serious? Or were some things taken out of context?


The game’s erotic content isn’t the AO-rated girl-on-girl action that some people seem to be imagining; it’s far, far more subtle than that. Not that my PR self particularly minds that everyone is fixating on the lesbianism; I just don’t want people expecting an action-horror version of The Guy Game.


Atlus is keeping everything true to the original version right?


Indeed, sir. No censorship and no watering down. To do so would be to screw up the game, and desecrate the developer’s creative vision.


All of the controversy led to some confusion about the game’s North American release. For the record is it still coming out?


We’re currently on track for a September release. (Somewhere along the line, enraged bloggers stopped mentioning that while SCEA isn’t publishing Rule of Rose in North America, Atlus is publishing Rule of Rose in North America. D’oh!)


Keep it posted right here to Siliconera where we’ll give you guys and gals the skinny on Rule of Rose this September.

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  • FRX

    I imported the Asian version of Rule of Rose because Play Asia had it on the cheap one week, and I never thought it’d get a US release. But I’ll definitely be picking up the Western version.

    I’ve always had a fondness for Atlus, but they are quickly becoming my favorite videogame publisher.

    When I went to this past E3 I was surprised to find out that Kaneko, the artist for the Shin Megami series, was going to do a signing on the second day of the show. Not thinking that many people would show up or know about it, I arrived at the signing about 10 minutes before it started and was STUNNED by the amount of people waiting in line. It basically wrapped around the Atlus booth and ended inside the booth where all the demos were.

    I waited in line for almost an hour just to get Kaneko’s autograph. While I was in line: they were playing the Devil Summoner trailer over and over again (great music and visual design, of course); got complimented for my custom Ikaruga T-shirt (which, funnily enough, I saw someone else wearing a few minutes later walking outside the Atlus booth while I was waiting in line); got to see the INSANE crowding outside of the Gameloft booth because of people trying to get pictures of stupid Paris Hilton; heard the girls at the Tecmo booth say “Kasumi’s boobies” over and over again; oogled over the Trauma Center booth babes; saw people waiting in line at the Age of Conan booth just to get an inflatible plastic sword; and saw Greg Casavin and another Gamespot editor trying out the GBA demos.

    For the first 40 minutes or so, Kaneko was doing custom autographs with the person’s name on the mini-poster. But there were so many people in line, they later had him just signing his own name. Sadly I was one of those people, but irregardless it was still awesome getting to see him, get his autograph, and shake his hand. He has some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen, both in videogames and in general.

    Next to playing the Wii, meeting Kaneko was the best thing I experienced at E3. And that mini-poster with his sig is the best swag I ever got.

  • metalgod!!!!!!

    I still don’t know what this game is all about……….never seen in action………so……can anybody tell me?

  • metalgod!!!!!!

    nah….nevermind……….I’ll see for myself……….

  • S chan

    Um Yeah. But I dont understand why controversy would be promoted through the sexual acts of Minors when it is an all girls club, am I correct? And who is that mean man thats always bothering young Diane?

  • Rudy

    i’m like 3 chapters in and dont get it? its still a good game i just wish it would fill in some major blanks!!!!!!!

  • Phelan

    Rule of Rose is a game that has received undue controversy, particularly in Europe. I just beat it last night and I can say this – Yes the game has a few sexual overtones, yes there are a few suggestive moments, and yes there is a theme of love between little girls.

    However, the sexual overtones are no worse, probably much less than you see working in childcare around girls of this age. Yes it can be mildly suggestive, but not in a perverse way, it simply displays girls in a behavior that for their age is perfectly normal.

    As far as the violence, yeah there’s plenty of that, yeah those adorable little girls can be downright sadistic, however this is hardly new in a horror theme. Nothing all that bad happens to any of the girls (with the possible exception of a certain mermaid, but let’s not go into that). The cruelty displayed is realistic for their age, in an extreme context. This is very much a Lord of the Flies story.

    This game also epitomizes dark beauty, a wonderful dichotomy. It says it all on the back of the box:

    “A tale too cruel – too beautiful – to go untold…”

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