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Atlus Key Person Naoto Hiraoka Discusses Catherine's Success, Shin Megamitensei IV, and Platform Choice

No chance for a Catherine kart racing game, it seems!

Famitsu has a lengthy interview this week with Atlus consumer software head Naoto Hiraoka. Hiroaka, who joined Atlus in 2001 and worked as project manager on such games as Persona 3 and Persona 4, discussed the success of Catherine, the thinking behind platform choice, and also shared a few precious bits about Shin Megamitensei IV. Here are some of the key points from the interview, based off Sokuho's summary.

Catherine was well received in 2011, said Hiraoka. The game's success on the worldwide stage gave the Atlus development staff confidence in their future developments.

Despite the success, it looks like we won't be seeing an anime conversion or a spinoff for Catherine. These types of developments would be difficult, as Catherine was itself a difficult game to make.

Social gaming will play a major part in Atlus and Index's future. We can expect Shin Megamitensei and Etrian Odyssey social developments this summer.

Summer will also see Persona 4 The Golden, Etrian Odyssey IV, Persona 4 Arena and Devil Summoner Soul Hackers -- all consumer (portables and consoles) games. Hiraoka assured that despite Index's plans to make social gaming into one of its pillars, they won't be decreasing their consumer output. They're developing over 10 consumer games simultaneously right now.

Persona 4 The Golden was originally planned to be released prior to what ended up being the final date. However, PS Vita is in some sense a "monster machine," so making additions that would have been difficult on their own ended up taking longer because the staff kept on feeling that they could do additional things. In exchange for this, they ended up with a better product.

Hiraoka touched briefly on Shin Megamitensei IV, a game which has been shown only in teaser advertisement form. He promised that the game's selling point will be the proper evolution/advancement of the elements that make up the previous Megaten games. They won't let down current fans, he assured. The battle system will also inherit from the past titles.

Hiraoka discussed some of what goes into their decision for a game's platform. They select the system that has the most users who want a particular title. They also weigh in the strengths and weaknesses of the hardware. For overseas developments, it's a requirement that they consider Xbox 360, so for games that are developed with plans for North America and Europe, they hope to develop for consoles.

There have been cases where they've changed a game's platform midway through development though. An example can be found in Persona 4 The Golden. Development on this started on PSP, Hiraoka revealed. After the Vita's announcement, they felt it would be a perfect fit for the game, so they restarted the project.

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