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Shin Megami Tensei IV Developers Talk Difficulty, Multiple Routes And DLC


It’s been a month since the release of Shin Megami Tensei IV in Japan, and Atlus have kept a few things to themselves until fans have had a chance to play through the game. In a recent Dengeki interview they discuss some of these subjects now that the game is out. We’re staying away from spoilers in this report, so feel free to read on without worry.


The Shin Megami Tensei IV developers that participated in the interview are director Kazuyuki Yamai, character designer Masayuki Doi, and sound composer Ryouta Kozuka. The three shared their opinions on various aspects of the game, including some tips for current and new players.


The game has been out for a month, but there are still a lot of new players jumping into Shin Megami Tensei IV. A lot of newer players have voiced their opinions on the game’s difficulty, which Atlus touched on.

Shin Megami Tensei IV features Novice and “Cadet” difficulty settings. The difference between the two difficulties is said to be quite vast, as the Cadet mode is much easier, and once you get a knack for the game, it’s fairly simple. As previously detailed, this mode appears after you let Charon resurrect you twice. Atlus mentions that there are no demerits for changing the difficulty, as they’d like people to play according to what they feel comfortable with.


According to Yamai, there were many on the development team who felt that the Novice mode was still a little too tough, so they prepared the Cadet option for players that would prefer something easier. However, he believes that RPGs should have a good level of difficulty, so he personally recommends playing on Novice instead.


“The game actually has multiple endings, and I ended up getting the Chaos Route on my first try, without changing the difficulty,” says sound composer Ryouta Kozuka (more info on endings and routes here). “There is some content which can only be seen in specific routes, so it’d make me happy to see players who’ve already beaten the game try out and enjoy all the other routes.”


Director Kazuyuki Yamai adds, “I also didn’t change the difficulty, and the playthrough was pretty tough. By the way, I  got the Neutral Route on my first try. This route doesn’t give as many indications on where to go next, so I struggled.”


“In regards to the Neutral Route, there were parts that were made to be extra difficult,” adds Shin Megami Tensei IV character designer Masayuki Doi. “In this reality, I think the hardest part was to put things into moderation. There are even times when everyone is your enemy, so we had to keep things balanced at all costs. We wanted to make a route that lets you feel the difficulty of being in such situations.”


“However, it doesn’t mean ‘Neutral Route = true ending’ or anything of the sort,” he continues. “There are no rights or wrongs for the choices the players make, so we wouldn’t want any of you to have that misunderstanding. The goal was to have something different for each route upon completion.”


Doi also mentions that there are still many mysteries for players who clear just  one route, so even clearing the Neutral Route alone will leave a lot of unanswered questions in the air. There are even some characters that only appear in certain routes, and some mysteries that won’t go solved unless you talk to certain NPCs.


Yamai weighs in on the subject, adding, “I believe that a lot of games as of late don’t actually require you to speak to NPCs. In addition, most routes you take (for those games) have the same content, so there isn’t a lack of games where you can see the whole picture after beating it once. This may be a trend in today’s busy age, but it’s something we never want to do for Shin Megami Tensei.”


We’ve reported on multiple pieces of DLC for Shin Megami Tensei IV, which varies from features that allows busy players to have an easier time leveling up to new boss fights for players who’ve beaten the game and are in need of a new challenge. The sixth wave of DLC will be available on the Nintendo eShop on July 4th. Dengeki asks their reasoning for releasing so much DLC in such a short span of time, and whether all the additional content will be making it a title that boasts the most volume of the series.


“Honestly, I believe that the main game alone has a considerable amount of volume,” says Yamai. Yamai then jokingly goes on to add that it may indeed have been a bit too soon to begin rolling DLC out for the game.


Dengeki then asks about what kind of downloadable content we can expect to see in the future.


“To an extent, there will be some downloadable content that is connected to the main story, but we made it to where everything essential is concluded with the main story alone,” Yamai replies. “There aren’t any direct answers to some mysteries, but for example, there will be hints that will get you thinking about information A and B, which will conclude with information C when you put the two together.”


“Furthermore, I believe that using downloadable content to complete a story for a game that the players paid for, is quite rude, and something we wish to never do.”


Finally, Yamai shares a few tips for players who’ve yet to finish the game and to those who are about to start their Shin Megami Tensei IV journey:


“As for strategic tips, take advantage of the Demon Fusing feature. It might be hard to fuse a demon you’ve grown attached to, but find a way to overcome that and please continue making plenty of new demons. It’s been designed so you can win properly, as long as you put consideration into your demon’s level and affinity against a boss. Also, I believe that there are some people who forget that they’re Samurai from the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado during their playthrough. (laughs) I hope that some of you guys will occasionally return to your hometown.”


Shin Megami Tensei IV will be released on July 16th in North America.


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