If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Hooray! Sexy Fun Dreaming Times for All! It appears that Atlus has finally heeded all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth and announced that Catherine is going to be getting a North American release. Well that's a relief. Catherine is the latest game developed by the Atlus Persona Team and it's had a pretty bizzare history.
When the PS3 was originally released a large segment of the gaming population had their eye on Atlus to see when a new Persona game was going to be released on the system. The Persona games are a series of RPGs released mostly on the PS1 and PS2. They usually involve a group of teenagers who discover a world of demons and deception and have to fight against these powers using spiritual 'Personas'. I mostly played Persona 3 and 4 and they are very unique when it comes to RPGs. In Persona 4, for example, the player is limited to a certain number of actions per day. Whether the player chooses to go into a dungeon and battle monsters to power up or study for class, hang out with friends, get a part time job, etc, is completely optional. The most interesting thing about the game is that developing relationships with friends and getting a job are just as important in the long run as how high your level is or what kind of sword you're using. Let me put it this way, if you've ever wondered what it's like to be a Japanese High School student who fights demons in their spare time, Persona's got you covered.
Catherine's opening cinematic.
Given the wildy popular nature of these games, when the next generation systems came out, everyone was chomping at the bit to see what Persona was going to be like on the PS3. Then Catherine was announced and ... wha? So it appeared that instead of a wholesome High School demon adventure, we're getting a super-sexy sleepytime drama ... puzzle game? Ooookayyy. Then the weirdness began. The first strange item was that a demo was released in late January on the Japanese PSN and then pulled down in early February. Apparently Atlus had intended the demo to be a limited release and it had been downloaded the maximum number of times in about two weeks. Unfortunately Atlus didn't actually TELL anyone that this was the case, so gamers were taken a bit off guard by the news. Eventually the demo was put back up, but it left us all a bit ... wha? Next came the strange news during the Japanese release of the game that Atlus was going hardcore with keeping the game unspoiled for those who hadn't played it yet. They released a statement that said that anyone posting livestreams or footage of the game after the eighth level would have their account with Youtube or wherever suspended immediately. It's surprising in today's day and age to see a developer so rabid about keeping their game secrets secret, so good job Atlus.
So Japan had Catherine, and what did they think? They thought it was too damn hard. Apparently, after its launch, the news was that players in Japan were extremely frustrated with the difficulty level of the game. Reports had it that 'Easy' was the equivalent of 'Hard' for any other game and some players were flat out unable to finish the game due to the murderous challenge. Hearing the downtrodden cries of the masses, Atlus put out a patch to get the difficulty ironed out for the more casual player. This news on its own is very interesting. Can you imagine what it would have been like if something like Battletoads or The Adventures of Bayou Billy could have been patched to make them more accessible back in the day? The final bit of news came not 24 hours ago, and made me a sad panda. In response to an inquiry about the Catherine's North American street date, Atlus' US PR had this to say about the game:
“Catherine is a Japan-only game and there are no plans for a NA release at this time. Sorry about that!”
But, but, but ... I want it! Fortunately, not more than a day later we finally have confirmation that Catherine is coming to North America this summer. Damn right it is! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to deciding which super terrific sexy time Catherine I like better. Glasses or no glasses? Glasses or no glasses? I'll get back to you, just, uh... wait outside for a bit.
I would put a spoiler warning here, but I have no idea what I'm looking at.