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Chat with Soul Hackers 2 Producer(s) & Director(s) – What Does Soul Hackers 2 Have to Offer? 

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner was first released on the Sega Saturn in 1995 as a spinoff of the Shin  Megami Tensei series. There are themes that persist throughout the series, some of which are its dark  atmosphere and the race of Devil Summoners, who investigate incidents involving Demons and can also  summon them. It is in this setting that the many stories of the various characters within it unfold. 

Two years later in 1997, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, which stayed true to SMT’s  signature themes and concepts, was released. Back then everyone was infatuated with the rise of the internet  and the ever-increasing reach of modern technology. It is in this context that the intense battles fought by  Devil Summoners unfolded. This is a story of friendships and drama that captured the hearts of many fans. 

Soul Hackers 2 is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows 10/11 on August 25, 2022  (JST) and to Steam on August 26, 2022 (JST). 

*Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC versions will be digital only. 

Left: Producer & Director, Mitsuru Hirata (game design) 

Right: Producer & Director, Eiji Ishida (main concept, scenario, character design)

Interview with Soul Hackers 2 Producer(s) & Director(s)  

■ About the Soul Hackers Series 

Ishida: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner is a spinoff of the original Shin Megami Tensei series and was  released in 1995. Following that, 1997 saw the release of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul  Hackers. The immense world concept and background of the series stays true to the original Shin Megami  Tensei series. There’s our human society that we are all too familiar with, but there are also Demons. There  are many deep layers to society, but the layers to the Demon world are too deep to comprehend. This is  where the story of Soul Hackers begins to unfold. It is a story of humans and Demons. 

In the Shin Megami Tensei series, the player sees the destruction of the world from a wide point of view.  However, In Devil Summoner and Soul Hackers, this point of view is narrowed down. Society and individuals  are now the focal point and the events of the story unravel in just a single town. The Devil Summoners get  together to rescue the town, playing the role of investigators. 

Furthermore, Soul Hackers revolves around three key elements: people, technology and the occult. When  SMT was released 25 years ago, the internet was just taking its first baby steps. Back then, thoughts of how  the networking industry could become the cornerstone to facilitate modern development and play a vital role in  our lives captured our imaginations. The concept of summoning Demons with a device dates back to the 90s.  This relatable theme of the occult and technology is what made the game so appealing.

■ Depicting The World of Soul Hackers 2 

Ishida: It’s been 25 years since the release of the last Soul Hackers game. Nowadays, technology is a normal  and essential part of everyday life. That’s why I thought portraying technology as a threat to the humanity is  somehow inappropriate in present times. Although I tried many ways to steer the storyline based on the  evolution of technology, all my efforts soon came to a standstill. That’s why we decided to put the characters  and dramatic interactions between humans at the heart of the story. 

That’s when I thought, what if the main character isn’t a human, but some kind of intelligent form of technology  that transcends all existence, such as a lifeform that is born to observe the human race? How’s that for a  story? 

Hirata: There are so many films and stories out there that heavily revolve around the question of whether an  artificial intelligence has a soul. Although the subject is rather philosophically intriguing, we decided to not go down that path because we wanted to give our audience a taste of something more unique. The theme we  went with for Soul Hackers 2 is rather different. 

Although Devil Summoners have the power to summon Demons, they experience feelings such as regret and  worry, just like normal people. How does an AI judge these beings? This is the theme we wanted to focus on. 

Ishida: The protagonist is a clone of the player. Although the protagonist in Soul Hackers 2 is a form of technology that transcends life, letting players immerse themselves into characters who lack any kind of  emotion would be pretty much impossible. Therefore, we created the concept of avatars and that’s where  Ringo and Figue come in. They have personalities and can speak from their own perspective. These next generation lifeforms were born from Aion. They are not like those characters who are smart and give orders to  the players, but rather draws closer and closer to the characters of the story. The way they speak is, however,  rather cheeky. (laughs) 

Ringo and Figue contrast each other. Ringo’s outlook on life is rather philosophical, whereas Figue can  sometimes be overly empathetic. As the story progresses, their outlooks change, which is an important part of  the storyline. Although you would expect them to have the same personality, since the same AI created them  so that it could make a variety of decisions, they are completely unique from each other and have been  dispatched as different avatars of the same entity. It is from this point that the story unfolds. 

The main character is female. This is quite uncommon for the Shin Megami Tensei series. Along with the  setting of the game, we want to keep switching things up on Atlus games and try things we have never tried  before. We hope our players enjoys these changes to the game.

■ Key Points of Creating Characters 

Ishida: Another important detail is the beliefs and backgrounds of characters. We wanted to touch on the  opposition between the two Devil Summoner organizations Yatagarasu and the Phantom Society. 

Up until now, the series always showed those who had already become Devil Summoners fighting for the  sake of fulfilling their duties. But why did they become Devil Summoners? What beliefs led them into battle?  These are the areas we hadn’t touched upon. 

Although the plot depicting crushing one side as a symbol for evil seems interesting, it is not a modern-day  story. The story of Soul Hackers 2 focusses on the attitudes that the Summoners have towards life and is a  drama involving friends. This is precisely what makes this more than just a sequel to the series and elevates  Soul Hackers 2 to being a completely new work in itself.

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Hirata: Throughout the entire SMT series, many Summoners that are not on the protagonist’s side have had  interesting stories. We wanted to continue with this idea that you don’t just destroy your opponents but dig  deeper into their compelling stories. Therefore, we created a storyline where some members of opposing  organizations cross organizational boundaries and join forces to fight side by side. This storyline enabled us to  elaborate on each character’s background in much detail. 

Ishida: With Ringo and Figue at the heart of operations, Arrow from Yatagarasu, Milady from the Phantom  Society, and the free agent Devil Summoner Saizo put their differences aside and stand together on the front  line to fulfil a certain goal. There are scenes of them sitting around the table together to share a meal or  engaging in some good old banter with drinks at a bar. As they get to know each other, there are times that  they gain a deeper understanding of each other. At other times, they clash heads. Whether it’s someone  missing at the table or someone who decides to walk a different route back than the others, the scenes we  show represent the subtle developments in their relationships. We hope that our players notice these subtle  changes. 

■ Character Designs by Shirow Miwa with Music by MONACA 

Ishida: This is the first new Soul Hackers game in 25 years. The challenge was to uphold the key elements of  the series while introducing completely new aspects. 

Our character designer Shirow Miwa created fan art of Devil Summoner characters before. From hardcore  male characters to the adorable female characters and fierce older characters, Miwa’s designs were very  compatible with Atlus’ themes. Miwa did ask us if we intend the designs to resemble those of previous  installments in the series, however, we did not. We preferred to go with what Miwa had in mind. This is  because the staff working on the previous games had created character designs based on their own ideas  and whatever they were influenced by at the time. 25 years later, if we were to try to copy that style, our  designs would be missing two important things – originality and our soul. 

It was from this notion that Ringo and Figue were born. The main character is a young female and is rather  radiant. I personally believe that these kinds of unique characteristics for Devil Summoners is wonderful! As  the performance of gaming consoles has dramatically improved since the start of the series, I think this  enabled us to really capture Miwa’s character illustrations. We also redesigned the Demons based on Miwa’s  illustrations. 

Hirata: We were totally right to assume that MONACA, the professional music studio, was capable of creating  a wide range of songs fit for anything. We were looking for musical compositions that could portray the 

different themes of the game, for example, storylines that put the spotlight on complicated relationships, the  latest technology and the concept of God and Demons, and MONACA was the perfect fit. 

For the music production, we provided MONACA with information on the theme of the game, scenarios from  the storyline, and characters so that they could get an image of the kind of atmosphere we were looking for. 

■ Game Systems that Players Can’t Get Enough Of 

Hirata: We had to think about how we were going to implement this new drama storyline into the game  system. We wanted this new type of Devil Summoner to fit well into the game system. That’s when we came  up with the new COMP device that lets Devil Summoners summon Demons. In this game, we focus on the  COMP device’s function of managing Demons in various ways. It’s not just something you can equip but also  a weapon with a wide range of uses. 

Luckily, our players seem to really enjoy Atlus’ signature Press Turn System, so we based the battle system of  this game on the same system. This battle system rewards players for targeting the enemy’s weaknesses,  and we thought that sticking to this system would make the experience more enjoyable for Altus game fans. 

Of course, there are also new features in this game, for example, Sabbaths. This is a battle system where you  can summon your stocked demons to deal immense damage. This function was created with the intention of  allowing you to summon all of your demons for a full-scale assault. Our designers and programmers worked  hard to make it come true. After experiencing that exhilarating feeling of summoning your army then  unleashing everything you’ve got, I think we can all agree that it was well worth it! 

Ishida: The battle system of Soul Hackers 2 isn’t about summoning Demons to fight, but rather, Ringo is at 

the core of operations and the other characters join her party to fight alongside her. As this new system does  not involve the player giving commands to Demons, we had to take an extra step to preserve the exciting  usage of Demons in gameplay. We made sure to implement lots of scenarios where you also fighting  alongside your Demons. It’s possible to summon a large number of Demons if you succeed in hitting an  opponent’s weakness, and we put a lot of effort into showing these sorts of aspects to our players. For  example, we even have a scene where Jack Frost rolls around. I’m sure fans will really appreciate these sorts  of animations. 

 

■ Messages for Fans 

Ishida: Soul Hackers 2 carries on from the previous games in the series, but is also a brand-new game released 25 years after Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers. It builds on the foundations set  by Soul Hackers but is also a completely new game. You can enjoy this it even without having played its  predecessors, so please, give it a go! 

Hirata: We’re releasing this as a brand-new game, so keep an open mind while playing. If you are a fan of  Ringo, the game’s visuals, and worlds where you can interact with Demons, this game is definitely for you, so  be sure to try Soul Hackers 2!

Title 

Soul Hackers 2

Release Date 

August 25, 2022  

*Steam version will be released on August 26, 2022.

Platforms 

PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Xbox X|S, Xbox One, Windows 10/11, Steam *Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC versions will be digital only.

Languages 

Japanese/English Voiceover  

EFIGS, JP, KR, CN (Si+Tr) 

Website 

soulhackers2.atlus.com

Copyright 

ⒸATLUS. ⒸSEGA. All rights reserved. ATLUS and SEGA are registered in the  U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. ATLUS and the ATLUS logo are either  registered trademarks or trademarks of ATLUS Co., Ltd. SEGA and Soul  Hackers 2 are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA  CORPORATION or its affiliates.

 

Nmia
Nmia Gaming – Editor Nmia

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