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Interview with Tomm Hulett from Atlus



Early on in E3, RPGamer had the chance to sit down with Tomm Hulett of Atlus and discuss some of the new games they're going to be bringing over here during the next year. We got a chance to take a sneak preak at Riviera, Magna Carta, and Digital Devil Saga 2.

Riviera is a new Gameboy Advance game that is coming out in Summer 2005 dancing the crosslink between classical style RPG action and old style adventure notions with light dating subtones throughout. You play a single hero with four female companions (Serene, Ciera, Fia, and Lina) who help you throughout your quest and, based on your decisions, may leave or join you during it. The dungeons are highly adventure oriented with no free motion as the player is given an environment to interact with and allowed to decide how their character will react and what they should do through button commands. The game, unfortunately, will have no japanese audio track as there was not room for it on the cartridge. The battles include street fighter like button combinations for special moves as well as power bars to add an element of rapid strategy to the game's battles. The game is linear but due to the adventure style, there is many ways to traverse the levels. Atlus promises thirty plus hours of gameplay packed into Riviera.

Magna Carta: Tears of Blood is the first in this korean series to be made on the playstation 2 and is being brought over by Atlus. Our sneak peak showed it having top notch art very similar in style to what was seen in Shadow Hearts:Covenent. The battle system, as described, was somewhere between Vagrant story, with perfects allowing continual attacks, and Shadow Hearts: Covenent style ring button presses to determine how attacks go. Rather than choosing actions, the player dictates styles that the characters follow, from defensive to special attack to aggressive. The game also has minimaps that help guide the player through dungeons. The player can avoid enemies in dungeons by going slowly or by figuring out where the enemies are and avoid them as you run past. It's looking to hit US shores around winter 2005.

Finally, they wrapped up with the excellent looking Digital Devil Saga 2, the sequel to Digital Devil Saga which came out early this year. They've done a lot of work and polish on this series, redoing the skill system to give more optimization as well as allowing plenty of carry over between the two games to reward players with varying events based on how they played the previous game and what they did. Also they've added in equipment systems for further customization of the characters with rings and trinkets found during the game. This game will be concluding the Digital Devil Saga story, so those who've been waiting hungrily to see how it goes will be able to sate themselves on this finale. When asked if new players would be able to pick it up without knowledge of the previous game, we were assured that they worked hard to slowly weave in the elements of the previous one early into the game so that the player could figure out what was going on without being left in the dark or hit with a giant block of background text. The game will have full voice acing and will be out with a mature rating in Fall 2005.

All in all, it's looking like an exciting year from Atlus.

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