Shin Megami Tensei: Satan Summoner: Soul Hackers is among the many Shin Megami Tensei spin-offs that takes the collection in a distinct course. Whereas the Persona video games put the SMT system into a up to date faculty setting, Soul Hackers 2 takes place in a extra technological period. The unique Soul Hackers put know-how, the occult, cyberpunk, and The Goonies right into a mixing pot stuffed with demon essence and birthed a loving cult following.

Regardless of its cult-classic standing, the Soul Hackers sub-subseries (complicated, I do know) didn’t get something greater than a 2012 3DS remake till now with Soul Hackers 2. Very like the latest Shin Megami Tensei VSoul Hackers 2 goals to maintain what longtime collection followers love whereas making the expertise welcoming to come newcomers with a revamped artwork type and accessibility options. In an interview with Digital Developments, Soul Hackers 2 administrators Eiji Ishida and Mitsuru Hirata highlighted how the sport caters to followers of the old whereas it brings within the new.

Opening the demonic gates

The Shin Megami Tensei collection is plagued with the conception that its obstacles to entry are too massive for newcomers to get pleasure from it. Many missed nice video games like Shin Megami Tensei 3 due to fixed discuss of how troublesome methods are to kind and how unfairly robust bosses could be. Atlus’ latest RPGs are extra cognisant of those points and take steps to rectify them and take away obstacles to entry. Because of this, Persona and Shin Megami Tensei are extra fashionable than ever. The builders of Soul Hackers 2 need to proceed the momentum of this progressive period of SMT.

“This was an necessary idea from the start, however we actually needed to make this recreation accessible to those that didn’t have prior information or familiarity with the unique recreation system, setting, and characters,” the administrators answered collectively. “As a result of it has been 25 years for the reason that authentic Soul Hackers, we figured it could be a big ask to have followers to re-familiarize themselves by enjoying by means of the primary recreation again. As well as, we really feel lots of people have discovered about Soul Hackers extra lately.”

“We needed them to play this title as a very new and accessible expertise.”

Nonetheless, the staff made certain to embody loads of parts to reward followers of the unique who waited patiently for a follow-up. “After all, we included loads of easter eggs that gamers of the unique recreation may spot, in addition to small particulars which will draw speculations between how the 2 video games could also be related,” they mentioned.

A battle against two demons in Soul Hackers 2.

Certainly one of Soul Hackers 2′s most intriguing points is what the administrators name “mechanics that we felt match the fashionable period.” How would gameplay stack up with the unique Soul Hackers whereas preserving issues fascinating? Ishida and Hirarta introduced up the 25 years for the reason that launch of the unique as an apparent purpose for gameplay changes in Soul Hackers 2. After all, advancing the basic “press flip battle system” performs an enormous half on this.

Within the first Soul Hackers, the characters had been displayed primarily in 2D. With the characters now being 3D, we really feel it offers a wider breadth of choices to create much more immersive and convincing cutscenes. As well as, we seemed to elevate the press flip battle system — a staple in Atlus titles since Shin Megami Tensei III — to actually broaden on the advantages of putting enemy weaknesses.”

Influences and Inspirations

One factor that’s instantly noticeable in Soul Hackers 2 is the deviation from the standard look of SMT titles. From the look of the characters to the world’s design, that is considered one of Atlus’ most vibrant video games. After I requested in regards to the affect of this new design and new artwork type, the Administrators’ influences shocked me.

Ringo speaking to Jack Frost in Soul Hackers 2.

“We referenced video games like NieR: Automata as we felt it shared some comparable parts with this title,” the administrators mentioned. “It’s a narrative that follows a predominant protagonist who’s each feminine and non-human, residing in a futuristic society on the verge of decline. Specifically, we studied how that recreation achieves a classy search for the protagonist, because the digital camera tracks them from behind in a third-person perspective. Additionally, as a enjoyable reality, the key areas known as “Realms” that solely Satan Summoners can enter are loosely primarily based on the Continental Lodge from the John Wick movie collection.”

Even with these stunning inspirations set in stone, the administrators consider the visible designs wouldn’t be what it’s with out Artist and Character designer Shiro Miwa. They acknowledged that “the visible type of the general recreation is constructed out to praise Miwa’s distinct strategy to character design, which makes use of stylized textures and shadows.” In addition they leaned into the “city nightlife” aesthetic “to match each the demons who lurk within the shadows of this cityscape, in addition to the human characters who stay covert lives within the underground scene.”

Wanting to the previous

Whereas Soul Hackers 2 takes the Soul Hackers collection in a new course, the builders nonetheless did lots of wanting to the previous to develop this contemporary entry. Hirata particularly appears to see the sport as the following vital evolution in his very lengthy historical past with the Shin Megami Tensei.

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I really feel all of my previous experiences throughout my time at Atlus performed an element within the improvement of this recreation,” Hirata mentioned. He then broke down what he discovered from among the most notable video games in his gameography. 

“Throughout Shin Megami Tensei III, I used to be lucky to be concerned in constructing out the battle system. Throughout Unusual Journey, I felt I gained a deeper grasp of the worldview of the SMT collection having been concerned from the challenge proposal section in a task supporting the sport’s course. Radiant Historia marked my directorial debut and was the place I gained a deeper appreciation for how interconnected the story, world, and recreation techniques of titles are. In Tokyo Mirage Session #FE, I really feel I gained additional information relating to the event of HD titles and how to elevate battle techniques even additional. I really feel all the abilities and experiences I gained from these previous titles had been vital in the course of the improvement of this recreation.”

Whereas there’s a lot Hirata discovered from each recreation he’s labored on, he boiled all of his experiences down into one lesson. “I believe the primary lesson I discovered is the significance of approaching issues holistically, at all times fascinated by how to give the very best immersive expertise to customers quite than viewing numerous points of a recreation, just like the battle system or story, as remoted parts.”

Ringo exploring a bright city in Soul Hackers 2.

Soul Hackers 2 follows the pattern of different latest Atlus video games by taking steps to entice new audiences whereas nonetheless preserving issues acquainted to the present lovers of the demonic worlds Atlus created over the previous a number of a long time. Ishida and Hirata make it clear that it is a huge problem, however time and time again Atlus has proven that it’s up to the duty, similar to its hardcore followers are prepared to tackle probably the most troublesome enemies in all their video games.

Though releasing RPG titles in 2022 definitely comes with a sure set of expectations, there’s little doubt in our thoughts that we really feel this recreation lives up to them,” they concluded.

Soul Hackers 2 launches for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Collection X on August 26.

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