Shin Megami Tensei IV Director Says Series Is The Antithesis Of JRPGs

By Sato . May 15, 2013 . 1:30pm


In our previous report on recent Famitsu snippets, Shin Megami Tensei IV director Kazuyuki Yamai talked about the game’s protagonist and his unique view of Japan. In the same interview, Yamai also mentioned fan feedback of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey as a “punk production”. Now, we have more insight as to what this means.


Masayuki Doi, known for his work on the Trauma Center games, is the man behind the character design of Shin Megami Tensei IV. According to Yamai, Doi was called upon for his talent of being able to design simple characters who also have a strong sense of presence. Along with composer Ryouta Kozuka (Persona 4 and Trauma Team), the two were told to keep a “punk” mindset while doing their work. Yamai says:


I told him [Doi] to draw something with a punk mindset. Kozuka, too. I told them, “When players get to see and hear the game, I’d like to have elements that will bring out a feeling of curiosity, rather than relaxation.” For example, the design for the Samurai—we had Doi sketch plenty of drawings while sharing various opinions and trimmed out elements accordingly; which resulted in a simpler finish. Even for the color of their clothing, we looked through several options and settled for blue and white. It’s one of the things that we actually put a lot of thought into.


The development of Shin Megami Tensei IV began when Atlus finished Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. After listening to fans and their wishes for a new main numbered title, Atlus also felt that it was due time for a new one, 10 years after the release of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.



Famitsu asked, “What kind of game did you have in mind for the finished product?”


Yamai replied: “Definitely something simple, yet distinct. I wanted to make something with a ‘punk production’. 20 years ago, fantasy-style RPGs were the standard of the genre. Shin Megami Tensei on the Super Famicom was something like an antithesis when you compared it. That’s what I call ‘punk-minded’. There are many games these days that focus on being enjoyable while relaxing. We’d like to have people enjoy the game and maybe even a shocking feeling towards their views on life and values.”


Shin Megami Tensei IV will be released on May 23rd in Japan and July 16th in North America. Europe is getting the game, too, but a European release date hasn’t been announced yet.


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  • Haseyo

    I need this in my life. Can’t wait.

  • riceisnice

    Ya feelin’ lucky Punk?


  • Akuosa

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    • Shane Guidaboni

      Who are you talking to?

      • Slayven19

        I have no idea either, but maybe he’s talking about the word antithesis.

        • Akuosa

          I’m talking about their liking with the word “punk” :P Sorry, I see my comment wasn’t easy to get now.

          • Shane Guidaboni

            Certainly you could say SMT has a punk aesthetic compared to most fantasy RPGs. Heck, most of the games in the series are classified as Cyberpunk.

          • Testsubject909

            Speaking of Cyberpunk…

            Oh ProjektRed… May the Cyberpunk game you build be a great one…

  • ShawnOtakuSomething
    • Testsubject909


      Sorry… Sorry… Was thinking about Ghost Trick.

  • RoxasTheUnknown1

    That’s what I’ve always liked about SMT and all it’s brethren. The ability to make the player think about the events that occurred and how that applies to life. you don’t get that from anything else.

    • Keima88

      Yeah thats true. I appreciate all the small stuf in life thanks this incredible series. It also gives me more like how you say that wisdom/knowledge to view things from all kinds of sides of life.

      The one that stick the most to me is Persona 3.

    • Testsubject909

      Go play Shadow Hearts.

  • ragingmerifes

    I dunno. As much as the theme is more mature, the gameplay is as punishing and rewarding as any other JRPG. Still, I’m hyped.

    • “the gameplay is punishing and rewarding UNLIKE any other JRPG”

      Fixed. You’re welcome!

      • ragingmerifes

        Like Breath of Fire, Final Fantasy Tactics, Rogue Galaxy, Suikoden and Shadow Hearts… wait.

        • cj_iwakura

          Punishing doesn’t come to mind when I think of any of those games. Shadow Hearts, maybe.

          • Testsubject909

            Mind’s Eye + Sense of Timing = Shadow Hearts Easy Mode.

          • ragingmerifes

            Punishing != hard.
            And SMT is punishing if you lack attention, just like any of these games.

            Thinking SMT is tremendously harder than any other RPG is delusional.

        • Testsubject909

          Breath of Fire? It’s not that hard…

          Final Fantasy Tactics… eh… maybe. Depends how you proceeded forward.

          Rogue Galaxahahahaha ah… Ah Rogue Galaxy hard… Ah… that was a nice laugh…

          Suikoden… eh… Hmm… Maybe Suikoden Tactics?

          Shadow Hearts… Kinda if you have no sense of timing. Otherwise you should be doing fine. Especially when you get Mind’s Eye.

          • Skye Johnson

            I will say the lack of healing spells in Rogue Galaxy made me want to hit somebody a couple times, but that’s about it : p.

        • 128bitigor

          Rogue Galaxy wasn’t punishing at all… game just had retarded AI that’s all

  • Makira

    ahh I need to pre-order soon. I still can’t believe all the bonus goodies we get for only $49.99??? I’m gonna cry (tears of happiness obv) if this becomes a trend for Atlus.

    • Its a mainline SMT, and its first print copies. All you get for pre-ordering is some DLC the retailers had them draft up

    • Testsubject909

      Dragon’s Crown gets you a bitching awesome artbook.

      Atlus has always been there for spoiling it’s fanbase in a way that we usually appreciate. NISA too.

  • WyattEpp

    When I think MegaTen, I tend to think “Failure” or “Death” more than “Curiosity” or “Relaxation”.

    • Those NES days haunting ya bud?

      • “NES” days? Have you played Nocturne?! The series managed to keep making you its bitch all the way to the PS2 era.

        • He dun said Mega Ten fool. This aint no SHIN mehami TENZEI MRR KAY?

          • 愛憎

            Calm yourself. That was unnecessary.

          • You should talk to Donnel’s Pap bout that

        • 128bitigor

          nah Nocturne is difficult but more than anything it taught you to play carefully and focus instead of going into the dungeon guns blazing. It (and the whole series) was all about exploiting weaknesses , getting extra press turns and using buffs and debuffs wisely. Once you remembered what demon is weak to what I was flying through the game. Just needs to be careful and learn that escaping the battle is also a valid tactic

      • Testsubject909

        It’s a horrible night to have a curse.

    • Jirin

      Dying twenty times in a row is so much more relaxing to me than coasting through battles where I only have to cram the X button.

      • Testsubject909

        I take it I’m not the only one who, upon getting Nocturne, looked at the description of Hard mode, plunged right in and had no regrets whatsoever?

        Of course I’m not the only one.

        Ah. It’s good to be with my kin.

        Edit: On another note… Not sure how to feel about the whole Fiends aren’t random battles in Nocturne… Then again, not sure how to feel about the whole Fiends are random battle in the older games…

    • Testsubject909

      I don’t know… I tend to think of all those words blended together.

      Refailurioseathion or something…

  • SaveTheDay

    And meanwhile, in Europe…we wait.

    Hope it doesn’t get delayed as much as P4 arena has been though.

    • Testsubject909

      Best of luck….

      I wonder how Australia’s doing…

  • Pokahontas McGuigan

    I hope they translate the new persona game as fast as smtiv

  • cj_iwakura

    As cool as this sounds, in an interview here(, Yamai said they deliberately had Doi design the cast with a more approachable design in mind.

  • Kelohmello

    There’s one thing I really really really wish this game had. And that’s music by Shoji Meguro. His music is really what got me interested in the SMT series because of the atmosphere it brought to Nocturne. That game had a great mix of stuff with a newer feeling, plus music that felt like a throwback to the classic SMT games, and I really liked that.

    Still, planning on picking this game up day 1.

    • LightZero

      The thing is Meguro only did Nocturne and SJ. He didn’t do SMT1, 2, and if…

      Personally I’m glad it’s someone new. I have nothing against Meguro and he’s pretty good but his music is getting bit repetitive in style. So I appreciate the change.

      • Kelohmello

        Yeah, I know he didn’t do 1 and 2. But that’s precisely why I’d like him to stay on for 4. Like I said, 3 had a good mix of old and new in its OST, and it seems like 4 only has old right now. Feels more like a step back.

        • Testsubject909

          Well, wait till we see how it all blends together.

  • MonsieurEek

    That headline really misrepresents what was said in a weird way.

    • Testsubject909

      It does since SMT isn’t an Antithesis to JRPGs and more of a prime example of your a-typical JRPG… That is to say, non-typical. Since the majority of well known JRPGs don’t actually follow an all-too-similar build and are actually quite diverse in themes, setting and even gameplay elements.

      Rather it was the antithesis to the commonly associated themes to RPGs, not just J but W as well… But that doesn’t make for a very gripping article title does it?

  • Schezo Wegey

    Curious: What started that JRPG saying anyway? I remember years ago people just called any RPG an RPG like FF7 was just some “Random RPG from Japan that came after Wild arms 1.’ Now its labels: RPG, JPRG, APRG, etc. Maybe I’m getting old -shrugs-

    Anyway I would buy anything from Atlus SMT/Persona wise because lately unlike other companies they haven’t been coping out.

    • Testsubject909

      No idea myself.

      On another note, when someone randomly went and said that Persona was just another JRPG.

      It got me to ask him, and ask myself in turn.

      “What the hell is just another JRPG?”

      There’s this general misconception and stereotypical idea of what’s “Just another JRPG” going around but it’s a very vague idea… In the end I have to ask a lot of people… What JRPG out there is “Just another JRPG”?

      Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest seems out of there too since within themselves they actually hold a lot of innovations across the times so they were pushing boundaries back when and still holds that experimental gene for better or worse. Plus if a game is a beacon of excellence, does it fit within the “Just another JRPG” area? Because from the statement, Just another JRPG is more a statement of mediocrity and overplayed themes.

      To which… I’ve asked before and I ask again.

      What the hell is “Just another JRPG”? Concrete examples folks… That’s all I ask because when I start to think about it.

      Lufia. Golden Sun. Earthbound. Parasite Eve. Secret of Mana. Chrono Trigger. Wild Arms. Grandia. Suikoden. Breath of Fire. Lunar. Legend of Dragoon. Shadow Hearts. Valkyrie Profile. Tales. SaGa. Star Ocean.

      There is so much that… Doesn’t fit in the idea of “Just another JRPG”….

      Edit: Now, I was suggested that Lunar might fit in this “Just another JRPG” but if it does, I feel that this would in turn also bring Golden Sun and Lufia into the category of “Just another JRPG” and the kicker is, neither of these three titles are actually bad, they’re excellent and beloved titles, all three. So they just cannot be “Just another JRPG”…

      • Armane

        Golden Sun is pretty much the poster child for “Just another JRPG”. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great game, but it’s so utterly generic and full of stuff people (who don’t play JRPGs) hate about the genre.

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