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Creator / Atlus

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"We get off on your tears."

Atlus is a Japanese video game developer, publisher and distributor based in Tokyo, founded on April 7, 1986 and a subsidiary of Sega since 2013. While not necessarily having the name-recognition of some larger companies, they have a huge number of quality products, both as a developer and a publisher, and often both at once. The Japanese HQ portion of the company is both a publisher (since 1989) and developer, the North American branch serves as a publisher and localization company that publishes more games than just what its parent company Index Corporation develops and publishes; in the list of games below said games are listed with Atlus being the North American publisher. Atlus is probably most notable for developing and publishing the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games.

Many of their internally developed 21st-century games are really freaking HARD.note  Though good design means they usually avoid Fake Difficulty. Their American branch is also famous for the translation of their games: Woolseyism and Superlative Dubbing abound in games they publish. Atlus is also famous for first exposing North America to Nippon Ichi Software, having published Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure back in the PlayStation 1 era, and later Disgaea: Hour of Darkness game for PlayStation 2. This led to NIS eventually branching out on their own, and to this day the companies share many staff amongst their translation and dubbing teams, as well as an amicable business relationship. In fact, NIS America is responsible for publishing Persona -trinity soul-, the anime based on the Atlus game.


Currently holds the dubious title of "That One Company", due to their joy at making gamers suffer. And we like it, dammit. Funnily enough, even some games they merely published and not developed can be Nintendo Hard, like Demon's Souls and the Disgaea games.

Also note the number of Widget Series below.

Atlus Japan is co-creator (with Sega) of "Print Club".

In June 2013, Atlus' parent company Index Corporation was convicted of corporate fraud, leading to them declaring bankruptcy. Sega eventually stepped in and purchased Atlus for 14 billion yen (approximately $141 million US).

Quite a few Atlus alumni became major players in the game industry after their tenures at the company ended. Kazuya Niinō, Kouji Okada and Range Murata began their gaming careers at the studio.

Its North American rival, Sierra, was known for developing very difficult games and was defunct for years before being revived by its parent company, Activision.


Tropes associated with Atlus:

  • Badass Boast: Its forum staff goes as far as to declare, "We get off on your tears."
  • Friendly Rival: With Nippon Ichi, in North America at least. The fact that many die-hard fans buy most of both companies' games probably helps them getting along.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit / Disney Owns This Trope: Narrowly averted thanks to a resulting backlash. Atlus started it by issuing a DMCA takedown at RPCS3, a PlayStation 3 emulator, and their Patreon page, in late September 2017. Backlash from both the Open Source community and Freedom of Information non-profit organizations quickly ensued. They quickly backed down of their threat and clarified that it was only targeted at the mention of Persona 5 on the site and they weren't actually targeting the emulator itself, and threw in a couple of other thinly justifiable reasons why they don't want Persona 5 emulated. But more than a few feathers have already been ruffled, especially those at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who really loathe the DMCA (Cory Doctrow, one of the most prominent figures of the foundation and the most vocal opponent against the DMCA, was the first to post about it).
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Prior to being bought out by Sega, the other thing Atlus was well known for in the west was small release runs. If it wasn't Persona, (and even that wasn't a guarantee, as the first two games in the series prove!) it got maybe a few thousand copies and that was it. It was actually a BIG deal when Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne got a second printing, for example. This makes Atlus games highly sought after items for game collectors.
  • Poke the Poodle: The Late Export for You case of Persona 4: Arena. A lot of Europeans were rubbed the wrong way when they became the first company to (ab)use region coding on the PlayStation 3 and then settle Europeans with a 10 months delay for a game that's more expensive than the US release. After the ensuing backdraft, Atlus made very sure it didn't happen with Ultimax.
  • Nintendo Hard: Atlus Japan-developed games have a tendency to be quite hard, to the point the trope could be called "Atlus Hard" instead.
    • Not so much when it comes to Atlus USA, as this doesn't always apply to games from other companies that it picks up for a Western release (not that Atlus USA hasn't localized hard games from other companies, which they definitely have).
  • No Port For You: Along with small print runs, Atlus is also infamous for continuing to produce games on single platforms even as Multi-Platform becomes increasingly standard across the industry. They have started to get better about this around the start of The New Twenties, beginning with the PC ports of Catherine in 2019, Persona 4 Golden in 2020, and of Persona 5 Strikers and Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster in 2021note . Still, many of their most high profile games remain exclusive to single platforms, such as Persona 5 on PlayStation 4 and Shin Megami Tensei V on Nintendo Switch.
  • That One Boss: We. Can't. Stress. Enough. that they have their own page for it. invoked

Some of their titles (including externally developed games localized by Atlus USA) include:

Western Developed

Licensed Games

Published/Localized by Atlus USA

1 - developed by FromSoftware
2 - developed by Sting Entertainment
3 - developed by Cave
4 - developed by Flight-Plan
5 - developed by SNK Playmore
6 - developed by Irem
7 - published by LJN Toys in the US
8 - developed by Psikyo