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Kazuma Kaneko, longtime Atlus artist, departs after 35-year run

Atlus' famous Demon Artist is working on a brand new property at COLOPL.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 23, 2024

2 Min Read
Key art for Atlus' Persona 3 Reload.
Image via Atlus/Sega.

At a Glance

  • During his Atlus tenure, Kaneko touched everything from Persona to Shin Megami Tensei and Soul Hackers to even Devil May Cry.

Persona developer Atlus has recently lost studio veteran Kazuma Kaneko. The artist has jumped ship over to COLOPL, as revealed in a translated interview from his new employer.

Oft known as the Demon Artist, Kaneko joined Atlus in 1988, with one of his first projects being King of Kings. Since then, he's designed characters and monsters for plenty of games, including Devil May Cry 3, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and nearly every mainline Persona entry.

Having been so deep in the Atlus system for so long, his final game with the company is Persona 3 Reload.

Older developers leaving their studio draws attention, especially when their work is synonymous with its output. Kaneko's art has helped define both Persona and Shin Megami Tensei, particularly with their rising popularity in the West.

A specific reason for Kaneko's exit wasn't given, but he said he'd joined COLOPL after applying at multiple studios throughout 2023. He's already designing characters for the studio's next project.

Founded in 2008, COLOPL is best known for titles like Shironeko Project and Meow Meow Star Acres. Of the new project, he called it a "good match that lets him do something he hasn't done in a long time: make a new property completely from scratch.

Right now, no one on staff knows what type of game this project will become. But Kaneko's hope is to make the project eventually fit into the RPG mold, in turn leading to an anime adaptation.

If that sounds at all familiar, that's happened with the Persona series over the years. Both Persona 4 and Persona 5 were adapted to anime not long after their releases, helping the franchise stay relevant between installments.

Kaneko may have the right idea, given the current transmedia wave of game adaptations lately. But to get there, he and the rest of COLOPL will have to figure out what their game is first.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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