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.