Shin Megami Tensei IV’s Protagonist Has A Unique View Of Japan

By Spencer . April 23, 2013 . 10:56pm

smtiv_screens_02Famitsu has details about Shin Megami Tensei IV in the magazine’s latest issue and snippets from a director interview trickled onto Internet forums. From the very beginning, the director wanted to make a numbered Shin Megami Tensei title for a handheld system. Plans for this sped up after Atlus heard news about the Nintendo 3DS.


You may remember Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey was for DS. After the game was released, Atlus received feedback ands some players said it was a “punk production” with the way that it looked at life and values.


Shin Megami Tensei IV looks at modern Japanese values through a new lens. The team made a main character who sees modern Japan from the  perspective of not knowing about it or the current values. As you may remember, the nameless protagonist comes from Eastern Kingdom of Mikado to modern Tokyo. The idea to make the characters samurai was from Shin Megami Tensei artist Kazuma Kaneko.


One feature that makes Shin Megami Tensei IV easier to dive into is the game recommends demon fusions. When you fuse demons the game will show you the best three demons to make. Handy because Shin Megami Tensei IV has over 400 demons.

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  • Zeik56

    “Punk production?”

    • Chiupon

      I’m assuming they meant it was “punk”-esque in the representation of values/ideals and perception of things; like, it adhered to a standard of beliefs that were “punk”.

      • Zeik56

        Must be a Japanese values thing, because nothing about that game comes to mind as overtly “punk”. It’s not even particularly “cyberpunk.”

        • Chiupon

          i didn’t play it so i have zero idea. hahaha.

          I think their idea of punk is generally the same though.

          • Zeik56

            That would be almost stranger.

            I could maybe see Nocturne being called “punk”. I don’t know, that’s a really weird complaint.

          • vileBrenman

            Lol nocturne isn’t punk. It’s METAL!

          • Testsubject909

            Now which subgenre of Metal would it be?

          • It aint emo thats for sure lol.

          • Testsubject909

            Now this is where it gets tough.

            Are we talking old retro emo as in emotional, or are we talking the new more recent goth/punk/metal vapid, empty and purely superficial subculture fad emo?

            And I would like to note that superficial is far greater then everything else. As I’ve met and discussed with my fair share of people who have donned a modern emo appearance solely because it’s “hot”, with absolutely no active involvement in the actual subculture.

            No wonder people are misusing the word emo so often.

          • The music genre of eld. Aka what the people who were trying to steal Trent Reznor’s thunder were smoking.

    • Akuosa

      “Punk-related ideologies are mostly concerned with individual freedom and anti-establishment views. Common punk viewpoints include anti-authoritarianism, a DIY ethic, non-conformity, direct action and not selling out. Other notable trends in punk politics include nihilism, rebellion, anarchism, individualism, socialism, anti-militarism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-nationalism, anti-homophobia, environmentalism, vegetarianism, veganism and animal rights.”

      Well, if you go by this deffinition, and not really the whole cyberpunk theme… yeah, I guess it WAS punk… but so are a lot of games then. Weird way to define it :/

      • Zeik56

        Vegan Punks huh?

        If you go by that definition I suppose you could consider it kind of “punk”, but no more than the rest of the series. The main theme I recall from SJ was basically “humans are destroying the earth”, which I see more as a hippie ideal than punk. Then again, there’s way more hippies around where I live, so maybe that’s why.

        Does Japan even have hippies? >_>

      • Testsubject909

        Makes sense.

    • AJ

      Was this meant as a positive, or a negative?

      Was Strange Journey not enough of a statement on modern Japanese society, or too much of a statement? I do not understand the response to Strange Journey and how it colored the development of IV.

      (For what it is worth, I thought Strange Journey was sort of “punk” in that it criticised a lot about modern culture, but never went beyond that criticism. No solutions. No discussion. Just “consumerism bad!”.)

  • Brimfyre

    Do we know yet if there is any connection to the first three SMT games, or if this is just a Amala Network unconnected universe. It seems strange to me they would put a IV on it without some crazy connection.

    • Wonrei

      We have Steven, Masakado having a bigger role again… this one probably has a bigger link than Nocturne. At least it’s a lot more SMT than Nocturne already.

    • frogurts

      all the number games take place in tokyo while strange journey didn’t, thats why.

      • Brimfyre

        I still don’t buy “being in Tokyo” as the only reason it gets a number. Plenty of Megaten games take place in Tokyo. It has to be something else. Probably to do with Masakado as stated.

        Nocturne might have not had a lot of connection to the first two, but it did establish the Amala network which is important to the universe, and it did have Aleph, which makes it directly connected to the previous game.

        • frogurts

          again, The fact that Steven is in the game proves theres a connection with at least the first 2.

    • Zeik56

      Well Nocturne didn’t have a lot of connections to previous games either. The most overt connections that I can recall aren’t even official.

      • Testsubject909

        Nocturne had the protagonist of the first SMT game still in an everlasting damnation.

        Edit: And possibly Great Pascal during a NG+ when you complete all the time trials.

        • Brimfyre

          When was it stated that the Protag from SMT was in eternal damnation? I think I would have remembered that, but it has been a long time since I played Nocturne.

          I know Jyoji Hijiri is Aleph from SMT II.

          • Testsubject909

            I’ll have to double check a few things.

            There’s a loooot of old conversations I had back when SMT first came out and a lot of information back then was being tossed and shared around.

          • NimbusStev

            According to the MegaTen wikia, the SMT Protag isn’t in Nocturne… though he does make appearances in SMT2 and SMT if…But yeah, Nocturne definitely has connections to SMT2.

          • Testsubject909

            I remember it mainly from a lot of conversations and theorizing.

            Remember the journalist dude that just mysteriously makes it okay?

            Back when Nocturne first came out and people first finished the game, a lot of old veterans gathered together to boil up their knowledge, let it all simmer and see what they could find. A grand majority of them back when seemed to all settle to the agreement that he was the protagonist from an older game.

    • frogurts

      Also Steven from the first 2 games appears in this.

  • Ethan_Twain

    That’s interesting. Well, it could be. Making a point to portray a society from the perspective of an outsider is ripe grounds for social commentary. If this game actually has something meaningful to say about the world we live in, that would be awesome. Really all I was expecting was some loosely assembled philosophical shoutouts to justify their divergent alignments. You know, like SMT 3.

    SMT Strange Journey had something to say though, looking back on it. It wasn’t particularly profound, and they kinda beat you over the head with it, but you went through various strata of hell themed after human war, lust, dis compassionate science, greed, and waste. On a very basic level they identified some problems with modern society and made the gave revolve around them. If SMT IV is able to take that to another level, maybe focusing specifically on the culture of Japan as suggested here, then that’s awesome. I’m on board for that.

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