In line with previous entries in the series, the trailer for Shin Megami Tensei 5 shows scenes in both a contemporary, urban Tokyo and in a post-apocalyptic, demon-infested city. Stories in the series tend to focus on the incursion of these extradimensional threats into modern life, and the latest edition will likely be similar. The setting is much more esoteric than the explicit fantasies of conventional Japanese roleplaying games, which along with its frequently mature and challenging subject matter (violence, and the frequent invocation of religious themes and imagery), may be partly responsible for why the series hasn’t caught on as widely outside of its native Japan. It will also almost certainly include the series’ signature combination of conventional, turn-based battles and “demon negotiation” encounters, in which the player attempts to reason with and even recruit various demons to their party.
Shin Megami Tensei has had a relatively niche appeal in the west relative to its Persona sub-series, but moving to the Switch as Nintendo’s console/handheld hybrid comes to its own may provide the breakout opportunity that the series needs to reach a wider audience. Persona 5‘s release for PS3 and PS4 in 2016 was far and away that sub-series’ largest event outside of Japan, giving hope that Shin Megami Tensei 5 may be a similar watershed for developer Atlus‘ parent franchise. The teaser offered no date or specific time frame for the game’s release, but it does appear to be exclusive to the Switch.
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