‘Persona’ publisher Atlus in danger as parent company nears bankruptcy

Dragons Crown

Index,  the parent company of noted Japanese role-playing game publisher Atlus, is careening toward bankruptcy and due for restructuring under Japan’s Civil Rehabilitation Law, a press release confirms (via NeoGAF). The announcement is written in Japanese, but a GAF poster’s summation points out that “the game division is clearly the most desirable and functional part of Index’s business, and that’s one area they plan on expanding on specifically.” The next step for Index involves finding “a sponsor as soon as possible to conduct a business transfer before the situation further damages the value of this core business.”

Another poster in the same GAF thread offers an explanation of Japan’s Civil Rehabilitation Law, designed to help struggling debtors work toward recovery. Index will continue to conduct business, with the aforementioned sponsor(s) coming in to assist the existing management. It is possible that the company will fold at some point, and that its assets will be liquidated, but that point has not yet been reached.

To put it more simply: Atlus may eventually be sold off, but that isn’t happening yet, or even soon.

There is a possible hitch, however. As Crunchyroll pointed out earlier in June, Index is the subject of an investigation by the Japanese Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission. The regulatory body suspects the company of having engaged in fraudulent business practices aimed at giving industry partners the impression that all is well and stable. This allegedly includes the inflating of mobile and video game sales numbers.

Atlus is best known in the United States for its many JRPGs, including the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series’. The publisher also put out From Software’s notoriously challenging action-RPG, Demon’s Souls, though Namco Bandai stepped in to publish the follow-up, Dark Souls (and its upcoming sequel). Dragon’s Crown is the next big release for Atlus, a 2D action-RPG that heads to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on July 25 and August 6, for Japan and U.S. audiences, respectively.

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