From Atlus To Index, And Back To Atlus Again

By Ishaan . February 18, 2014 . 6:15am

Atlus, developers of the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games, have been through quite the ride these past few years. A ride that, as of this morning, has come full circle. Below is a rundown of the events to help you get caught up.


From Atlus to Index:


In 2010, Index Holdings, the company that owned Atlus and Japanese animation studio Madhouse, announced that it was dissolving “Atlus” as a separate entity, and merging the company with “Index,” their internal mobile content division.


While Index Holdings would continue to use the Atlus label to publish games, “Atlus” as a company would not be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and would be part of Index Holdings instead. Shortly after this development, Index Holdings went on to change their name to “Index Corporation”. Alongside these events, Atlus USA was renamed to “Index Digital Media”.


Unfortunately, at the end of this saga, Index Corporation filed for bankruptcy in mid-2013, owing to 2.45 billion yen in outstanding debt and other factors.


From Index to Sega and Back Again:


Late last year, Sega Sammy acquired Index Corporation, the Atlus brand, their I.P. and studios. At the time, Sega established a subsidiary named “Sega Dream Corporation” to acquire and handle all of Index’s business operations.


Prior to this acquisition, Sega were already a distributor for Atlus’ games in Japan. You may recall that Sega hosted a trailer for Shin Megami Tensei IV at their Tokyo Game Show booth in 2012. Additionally, Sammy, Sega’s sister company, held 5,280 shares in Index already.


Following their acquisition of Index Corporation, Sega then changed the name of “Sega Dream Corporation” to “Index Corporation,” which essentially meant that Index Corporation—now operating under its previous name once more—was a direct subsidiary of Sega Sammy, instead of simply being part of Sega Dream Corporation.


From Index, back to Atlus:


This morning, Sega announced yet another change to their business structure, which will affect Index. On April 1st, Sega will separate “Index” from “Atlus,” splitting the console game development branch off into a separate entity once more. Index will be renamed to Atlus and Atlus USA—currently referred to as Index Digital Media—will go back to being “Atlus USA”. Atlus has 121 employees in total.


Meanwhile, a newly-formed Index Corporation will focus on content distribution, systems development, Internet advertising and other related industries. The goal of splitting the game development branch off and establishing a separate branch for these aforementioned industries is to encourage the development of new businesses. Index has 166 employees at present.


Yukio Sugino will now serve as the new representative for Atlus. Prior to his new position, Sugino was on the board of Index Corporation and was Sega’s managing director in addition to being the director of Index. Meanwhile, Yasuhiko Hamada, who serves as executive vice president of Index Corporation will now be Index’s new representative.


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  • ecoutercavalier

    Fatlus everywhere, rejoice!

  • Terraforce77

    121 employees in TOTAL! Did I read that right?

    • DAT Bird From DAT Cage

      To the 121 employees working on Persona 5. You have my thanks.

      • Pyrofrost

        121 employees are not working on Persona 5.

        Atlus has 121 total employees. That means a portion of them are team maniax, persona team, the atlus sound group, the team that makes etrian odyssey, team career, and etc (various other positions).

        All of these teams are also working on separate projects atm:

        Persona Team: P5
        the team that makes etrian odyssey: PQ
        Team Maniax: unannounced project
        Team Career: Devil Survivor 2 Record break

        Then there is the Atlus Sound Group, they have their hands in every slice of the pie.

        • natchu96

          Normally I’d say the persona 3&4 milking is going to far, but this time there’s a reason I actually want persona Q to come out: I got into Etrian Odyssey only this year, and since it’s essentially usually an annual release franchise I did not want to buy 3 EO games in one year XD

          Come on, Q, get on with it so we can have Mini Akihiko executed, protags stealing each other’s harems, and Teddie getting shot and move on!

        • neocatzon

          To the Atlus Sound Group, I worship you.

        • Barrylocke89

          Just think about this for a moment. All of that Atlus goodness that we know and love is coming from 121 employees. ALL of it. There’s individual game teams that have employee counts that are way higher, in both the east and west.

          It just goes to show as long as your teams have solid ideas and aren’t afraid to reuse assets from older titles or trim other types of fat, you can make magic happen on a fairly slim budget. I salute Atlus for that.

          EDIT: It also helps that they often develop games that appear on portables, which are well-known for having lower dev costs.

          • Pyrofrost

            Agreed, and that’s part of what makes them so great.

            They focus on creating an engrossing experience with some of the best music and writing that Japanese gaming provides.They are capable of doing this with both a small budget, and a small staff.

            I couldn’t be more grateful for their existence.

        • Kaetsu

          And a part of Atlus is working on SMT x FE. They’ve got there hands full.

        • Ash_Riot

          It just blows my mind that the company still has so few employees to other RPG devs out there and STILL manage to one up the competition in every category.

          • Mike Pureka

            Well, they DO take bloody forever to release games. ;)

            Which is proof that you don’t have to rush things to an annual release schedule, and that people prefer quality/completeness over hitting arbitrary release dates, but..

          • Ash_Riot

            True, but at least you know you’re going to get quality at the end of the wait. They always deliver, to me.

  • LM009

    lol P4 images reference was pretty funny

    • Gekokujou

      ikr, especially the last two.

  • Five and a half… That’s how many times my head spun-[Urp] @[email protected]

    • neocatzon

      I believe you’re an owl.

      • That would be this person, not me.

        • neocatzon

          I spent 15 secs figuring out what do you mean, then I click the link. Hyperlink in black? Geez, Disqus.

  • KingGunblader

    So, in an attempt to sum this up (someone please correct me if I have it wrong), Atlus is now… still owned by Sega, but will resume their normal operations under the name Atlus USA…?

    • Freud_Hater

      Sounds like it… kind of a pointless announcement ‘-‘

      • RickyMack

        Not really, it’s a restructuring of the company. Atlus was absorbed into Index. So after Index was purchased by Sega, the structure was Atlus reports to Index which reports to Sega. Now, by splitting Atlus into its own entity, Atlus simply reports to Sega rather than having to go through Index first. In chart form, A -> I -> S. Now it’s just A -> S. It’s promoting the division in the corporate structure like giving a squad leader his own platoon and letting him bring his squad with him.

    • Pyrofrost

      This is more or less to separate Atlus, as a company, from Index to make operations more effective.

      Atlus is owned by, and will operate as a subsidiary of Sega; in contrast to how Index actually made Atlus part of themselves and used the Atlus name for brand familiarity.

  • Raze

    Thank you for the lecture Ishaan sensei….

  • SobriK

    I lol’d at that last screenshot – nicely done!

  • DemonShadowX

    Welcome back!

  • Ghoul_Aid

    Any chance Atlus EU might someday emerge from this craziness? Still waiting for SMTIV here :(

    • BitBoy

      think it should get an EU division by now… digital downloads aren’t as widely used (plus most people would rather get a physical box!) so launching games digitally really doesn’t do ATLUS any favours!

    • klkAlexar

      But I don’t think even Sega has an EU branch.

      • Altin

        Well, it had one.

      • Shady Shariest

        It’s sad that there aren’t that many EU branches. It tends to often leads to half-arsed business in the said region :x
        (Sometimes i am so happy to be a NIS-guy, Yupo! :3)

      • pekikuubik

        Technically it does… in the UK. The Creative Assembly and Sports Interactive are under Sega Europe, for example.
        They just closed the offices on the continent.

        • Ghoul_Aid

          So, I take it they have no say in what gets localized and what doesn’t?

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      soon bro, if this doesnt work idk what will

      • Ghoul_Aid

        No choice but to keep hoping, I guess.

    • Alestaos

      You and me both mate :( I cant afford to buy a NA 3DS, us europeans have been devily screwed over with IV. I bet we dont get the 3DS enhanced port of Devil Survivor 2.

      Persona is a series i have loved of theres P3 onwards…but i wish they would bring out those localizations between NA and EU closer and not months away. Like every other popular game company.

  • Kenny Loh

    i just wonder what happend to Madhouse now?

    • Saphira

      I was wondering about that too

    • pekikuubik

      Nothing? Nippon Television owns Madhouse since 2011.

  • SetzerGabbiani

    It sounds like the whole exercise was intended to give Atlus its independence from Index once again, which is actually excellent news. Sega can effectively sell off Index and keep Atlus instead of an all or nothing like it probably was before.

  • “On April 1st, Sega will separate Index from Atlus”

    T_T <- my face whenever April 1 is involved for big news…

    At any rate, interesting information here. I'm a bit surprised by the number of people working at Atlus; I always imagine way more people working in video game companies these days. I suppose some people outside the company are still involved in various games though? My knowledge level is still quite low…

    "You feel as though your relationship with the video game industry will become closer soon…"
    "You find an old memory card… Eat it?"

    • DragKudo


  • SirRichard

    So will they get their European act together, or should I just stop caring?

    • Mr_SP

      ;_; SMT IV where?

      But if you announce an SMT IV Maniax, and actually release it in a reasonable time frame, all will be forgiven.

  • Tom

    Thank you, SEGA! One more request: Please release Trauma Team in Europe for the Wii. If not for the Wii than the Wii U but that means I have to buy that bastard to play the game :)

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      It’s a really good bastard.

      A real fatherless bastard that works hard.
      Reminds me of my brother from another mother ;_:

      Keep at the fields WiiU, keep at it!

  • All I could think of as I read the article was musical chairs (o.o; ) Hopefully it all ends up well and everyone settled in a nice comfy seat.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Clever article ^_^

  • Isaac Newton

    The placement of the pictures in the article are just great. Love it!

  • Michael Connell

    I wonder if that rumor of Atlus localizing Yakuza 5 has been verified or not…

  • d19xx

    Superior brand… I wait for the eventual “Atlus Sega” announcement…

  • Callonia

    Last screenshot of the article.. well done well done siliconera!

    And looks like Sega is still capable of making smart decisions o.o
    They’re just drunk 90% of the time now. xD

  • Rohan Viajar

    “On April 1st…”


    • Kaetsu

      They’re trolling us!

      • Testsubject909

        Can’t tell if real or early april fools.

  • Kazekage Gaara

    “Developers of the SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI and Persona games and yet the fanboys only use screenshots from Persona…..I swear where is the love for the Main series :(

    • Zero_Destiny

      Hhmmm Ishaan and I totally loved SMT IV. :) Ish even wrote an article/review of it specifically a month ago if you’re interested.

      I remember when he finally beat it. lol Stood up all night talking to him about the ending and the music.

      • Kazekage Gaara

        I actually did read that,a very good read :) Ha while I do love Persona I tend to always prefer the Main series and kind of wish it was more popular lol I think IV did a good job in introducing new players to the series though, just wish Atlus could remake the first two games and get them localized considering the whole religious controversy is kind of a thing of the past nowadays and it isn’t Pokemon levels of popularity so it cant really attract any crazy attention…….Anyway thanks for the reply!

        • Zero_Destiny

          ha ha I know that feel. I was talking to some friends the other day about how much I would LOVE to see SMT 1 and SMT 2 remade with the SMT IV engine. :)

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          SMTIV was the best selling game in the series (Didnt even need Europe) so there is that.
          Really came full circle for me since I remember playing Megami Tensei on the Famicom way back when ( first rpg I played, was reaaaaalllllyyyyy not supposed to be playing that at my age but, eh what the hell, I used to watch horror movies at 3 XD)

    • On the front page in the thumbnail.

  • KoRLumen

    Wow. Props to whomever came up with this plan lol.

  • I am as well sniggering as I read the article. Well done placing the scaps. Especially Shadow Kanji’s. >XD

  • MSJ

    “Your Knowledge has increased”

    LOL, well played.

  • Umm…I think I got that…as long as SMT IV isn’t delayed any longer in Europe (announce a release date already and please stick to it) and Persona 5 isn’t effected, I’m not bothered by what happens to Atlus or Index or whoever they are now.

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