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Persona 2 Coming Fall 2011 To North America

It’s official, folks. Turns out that the email Atlus sent last week dated 1999 was hinting at a North American release for the PSP remake of Persona 2: Innocent Sin. Up until now, Persona 2 was the only title in the Persona franchise which had not made it to western shores.

Check out the official trailer, here:

This version of the game will host a bevy of new features and improvements. To list a few: the visuals and audio are remastered, the UI has been improved and there are new quests.

”In a world in which rumors are coming true, an unlikely team of citizens must discover and harness a hidden power dormant within each of them if they’re to have any chance of getting to the bottom of this dangerous phenomenon and stopping it before it gets out of control.

The official website can be found here.

I Don’t Want To Save the World

I don’t want to be the chosen one. I don’t want to get the girl. I don’t want to make kingdoms rise and fall on my whim. I don’t want to dictate who lives and dies. Most of all, I don’t want to save the world.

I want small moments instead; they mean more to me. Getting stood up at dinner. Figuring out how to deal with a student that’s being bullied. Deciding whether or not you’re going to use the swingset or toss a ball with your son. Perhaps, even, dealing with the death of a parent. Hey, that’s an actual game! Well, actually, all of these are. But, we’ll get to this specific game–Winter Voices–a bit later, after I explain my rationale a bit.

Basically, I don’t want games to act as an extension of masturbation. Wish fulfillment. Escapism. ‘Power fantasies‘, as Leigh Alexander would put it. Frankly, I’m tired of it. I want something new, something that challenges the entitlement we experience as players–the power that comes with god-like control. Perhaps then, choice and morality would actually mean something, instead of being just another thing you have have authority over. Perhaps then, relationships with other characters can feel more genuine–they are not simply pawns that we can manipulate how we see fit. Perhaps then, I’d be put in my place–and this could be a valuable experience.

I think back on that now that I’m playing through Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. Day 3 happens, and an immortal demon called Beldr arrives and is slated to kill us all at a predetermined time and place. Of course we happen to find the singular item that will slay the supposedly immortal being (not really a spoiler, considering the game takes place over 7 days and so it would follow that you do not die on the 3rd day). My party rejoiced, only to find out there’s three or four other beings like him. Of course, they’re supposed to be crazier and more powerful (than an immortal being?) and  we have to take them out if we want to survive.

No problem. ……right?

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New Catherine Trailer Showcases Split Second Of Gameplay

What it does showcase in spades, however, is the drama. Sure, we can’t understand what is specifically being said, but we already know the context so it’s not completely unintelligible. Andriasang has some lines of choice, if you’re interested, though.

Things this video confirms: time will definitely be a mechanic, not just in the dreams, but outside of them, too. It seems as if the things Vincent sees in his dreams start haunting him in real life, too…the trailer carries an air of ‘horror game’ to it, actually. And there’s a new track snippet, too–confirming, once again, that the soundtrack for this game will probably be excellent.

Also note that Catherine is a creepy mofo in bed. Why Vincent, why?

Brief Look At Catherine’s “Stray Sheep” Segments

As you might’ve heard by now, Catherine has 3 gameplay segments: nightmare, drama, and stray sheep. We can probably guess that the ‘nightmare’ sequences will house most of the traditional action gameplay, and that the “drama” sections will be mostly narrative (think how, the Persona series does in its outside-of-combat segments, perhaps?).

The last part, called ‘stray sheep’ (hmm, commentary, much?) is not a segment we know much of anything about aside from it being the name of the bar that Vincent and his friends frequent. We do, however, have a video of this segment…which is also in Japanese. Sorry, folks, we just gotta work with what we’re given, no?

Still, can you drool over the silky-smooth presentation, since the characters/environments are downright palatable. I’m gushing, clearly, at Atlus in HD. Vincent is also down in the dumps, it seems. It’s probably not a stretch to assume this might just be the very first thing(s) we see when we start up the game, since the murder has just happened and it’s one ‘day 1.’ Like other Atlus games, ‘time’ seems to manage some aspect of the game…while you have to navigate your way out of your nightmares every night, it would be interesting if the timeframe for your girlfriend to have a baby has any effect on the game.

Speculations!

Persona 2: Innocent Sin? More like Eternal Punishment!

Now on the list of games we give a shit about: the PSP remake of Persona 2: Innocent Sin.

I mean, it’s not like we care too much about the Persona series or nothing. In fact, there are times where Nightmare Mode might as well be a Persona fan site. And yet, neither myself nor Patricia have played Persona 2. Well, I’ve played parts of both games, but gave up for…mysterious, forgotten reasons. But, soon, that will be no problem, because Persona 2: Innocent Sin (the first half of the series; Eternal Punishment is the second, released in America half) is getting a PSP remake. And we are excited.

Well, I’m excited. And I don’t even own a PSP. Understand that, gentle reader! Anyway, it looks quite snazzy, so it’s something worth keeping on the radar.

Saying Goodbye

I’m leaving today. Leaving for the city on a train I knew would be waiting for me the moment I got to this small town. Yes, I knew it would be taking me away before I even got here. I knew that I’d only be spending a small portion of my life here, knew that any people I met would be people I’d be saying goodbye to in just a year’s time. I’d been through this many times before; my parents like to travel around a lot. I thought I’d be able to deal with it.

My friends, they won’t say that they know me as an emotional type. I’m usually the stoic, quiet one. Serious. On things that matter, anyway.

And so I keep the straight face while my friends all run after my train, one by one, telling me that they’ll never forget me, that they’ll love me forever, that I shouldn’t leave. I keep the straight face–because that’s what leaders are supposed to do, right?–until they fade away from my view. The truth is, I’m just as torn.

I’ve never had trouble saying goodbye. Not to a video game, anyway. The idea sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? I mean, here I am, talking about Persona 4 as if it involved real people and events. I even feel slightly embarrassed talking about this, about virtual people who were written for me. People who are there to be taken advantage of, a means to an end, a way to further my power in-game. Bits and pieces of information meant to relay a human relationship. And yet there I was, watching that cutscene, with actual tears running down my face. To an onlooker, there’s nothing special about what I’m watching. Typical goodbye sequence involving a train.

Not that it’s that simple. Me and my crew, we’d been to hell and back together. We fought all sorts of crazy japanese monsters together. We saved the world together. Christ, we even ate watermelon together.

Let’s not kid ourselves though. There’s nothing that’s actually unique in this regard: how many times had I saved the world with a motley crew of teenagers? I’ve lost count. It’s all par for the course, as far as video games go.

So why do I feel like this?

We don’t have to say goodbye, do we? I can come visit anytime. It’s just a train ride away. It’ll be like I never left. We can do this again. It’ll be just like before.

Of course, that’s not true at all. We do have to say goodbye. The game is ending. We already saved the world. I’m watching the credits roll right now. Whatever could’ve been doesn’t matter, because this is all i get to see. Maybe the idea that everything will be alright was supposed to satiate me, except it isn’t. I don’t just want to know what happens afterwards, I want to experience it. I want to be a part of it.

That’s the clincher, though. There’s a reason I don’t get to experience it. After this moment, our lives will never be as meaningful, interesting or important as the year we spent unravelling mysteries and saving the world. We might never be as close as we are right now. I’ve already maxed out all your relationship ranks. Our worlds are all squared out at age 16. And, maybe, that’s why we have to say goodbye. It’ll never be as good as it was before, and we can’t go any further, so I’d best get going while it still makes sense to. We spent dozens of hours fighting for our right to live out ‘normal’ lives, free of evil or injustice or what have you, but in the end I don’t get to experience the happily ever after because that’s not the part worth playing.

And so I turn the console off, power off the lights, go upstairs to my room. I lie in bed, I stare at the ceiling in the dark. I can’t fall asleep. A year from now, I’ll be graduating college. I knew the date before I ever set foot on campus. But, I don’t want to think about that now. Tomorrow, I’ll start a new game plus in P4. Tomorrow, we’ll pretend I don’t have to leave, hell, we’ll pretend that we haven’t been through this before, that I can still hold on to that fleeting feeling. Tomorrow, I can pretend I don’t have to say goodbye.

Catherine with a K is his girlfriend

My favorite author is Haruki Murakami, the preeminent voice in Japanese literary fiction. He writes books that are half real, half imaginary; the main character might be a normal guy from Kyoto, but he runs into some very abnormal things. Like talking sheep or goblins living underneath Tokyo, or an alternate dimension where unicorns suffer for the good of humanity.

This is relevant because I get a very strong Murakami vibe from Catherine, Atlus’ upcoming game for actual HD consoles. A man lives a normal life in Tokyo, has a girlfriend, is living a normal existence, when he meets a strange, oversexed blonde haired lady with the same name as his girlfriend. And then starts having nightmares where he has horns and is chased by a lady with scissors and sheep. This sounds like the plot of a Haruki Murakami book made into a video game. Which sounds like the best thing ever. Considering America’s obsession with space marines, this looks like Japan’s chance to come through and deliver a thoughtful, mature game centered on adults instead of plucky youths.

Check Out Catherine’s First Trailer

Unless you speak Japanese, you won’t really understand what’s going on, but who cares? It manages to look interesting, somehow, anyway. If there’s one thing I would note about this, it’s that even though there is some erotic flair here, the “adult” part of Catherine may be grounded more in a creepy, mature theme. Certainly welcome in my book! Plus, it’s Atlus in HD. ATLUS IN HD. From the people behind Persona! C’MON.

But if you want to be BORING and know what’s going on in that trailer, then head on down to Andriasang: they’ve broken it all down for you.

Forget About Saving The World, You’re Dead, Kid

Wake up at 6, and, within seconds, I’ve already screamed at both my mom and my sister. No breakfast. Get to school two hours before it starts, maybe do homework I couldn’t do last night. Listen to people talk, in this almost detached way. They’re going to college, it’s right here in the state–it’s a dream come true, isn’t it? They don’t have to change a thing. Eh…they’re not my friends, not really. Go to class, maybe take notes–hey, I’ve still got that last exam coming up in a few weeks. Maybe it’s soccer season, maybe I’ve got practice. Go back home, nothing changes. And the next day, I do it all over again.

I’m leaving, soon.

To say I led a trite life back in high school would be an understatement. I had to go.

Here I am, years later, playing Persona 3…at first, I was annoyed by how close its portrayal of tedium and routine hit to home. During the day, you’re just a normal high schooler. Go through the motions, the routine. Go to class. Make friends, listen to them rant about their daily lives and problems. You’re top of your class, going out with the most gorgeous girl available….but there’s so much more, than this, isn’t there? This is a game, I’m supposed to be the bloody hero, aren’t I? And sure enough, during the night, nobody knows it, but I’m saving the goddamn world.

So, yes, I didn’t appreciate its school sim aspect at first. There’s a reason I left this life. I hate it. I dread the thought that one day I might work in a cubicle in an office, leading a completely mundane life. Why do I care about what these pixellated and simplified representations of friendship, the details of their lives? Hell, why is any of this worth saving?

Spoilers following the cut.

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