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Interview: Atlus Online Talks Steampunk MMO Debut

Atlus announced its first U.S.-distributed MMO title for its recently formed Atlus Online division, the Korean-developed steampunk game Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent, and Gamasutra talks to the firm's Jamie Ortiz about the announcement.

Mathew Kumar, Blogger

February 23, 2009

4 Min Read

Atlus announced its first MMO title for its recently formed Atlus Online division, the Korean-developed Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent. Developed by JoyImpact and licensed by HanbitSoft, the title will be given "the same style and caliber of localization that Atlus has been known for over the years," and will be published by Atlus Online in North America, South America, and the rest of the world with the exception of Europe. Set in a "steampunk"-esque world, Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent features two nations battling over a resource known as "Neo Steam", from which players choose their allegiance before selecting their class. Each player in Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent also begins with a pet. More information about Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent’s beta and launch dates will be released by Atlus Online in the near future, and we’ve talked to Atlus Online’s head of operations, Jamie Ortiz, about the company's decision to make the title its first MMORPG, the localization, and the potential monetization. Atlus' official site for the game can be accessed here. Why make Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent your first MMORPG? Jamie Ortiz: For our first title, we were looking for an immersive MMORPG with that distinctly unique Atlus flavor. We wanted to publish a game that would appeal to a hardcore Atlus fan, while at that same time attract a broad range of online gamers. After looking at a number of titles, we felt Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent really fit this mold. The game is set in a steampunk-fantasy world, filled with elements of magic and technology, and it has amazing art and great gameplay. The history behind the world is deep, and we hope players will enjoy all the mechanical inventions. Are you going to work to avoid the thankless grind and incomprehensible-to-a-westerner setting/story that infects some Asian-developed MMORPGs? JO: We’re all gamers here at Atlus Online, and we are well aware of the disappointment that comes with games that feature long grinds, odd settings, and incomplete storylines. We’ll be working closely with HanbitSoft to ensure a balanced leveling experience so that adventuring won’t feel monotonous. There will be plenty of content for all ranges of levels, in addition to quality end-game content. As for the setting and storyline, since Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent takes place in a fantasy-steampunk environment, we’re confident the game will be accessible to players with imagination and an appreciation for an "anything can happen" world. Do you have a plan in place over how you're going to monetize the title? JO: Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent will offer a robust hybrid-subscription payment model that includes a microtransactions option for those users who would like to take advantage of our premium items. We’ll also be encouraging user participation and community involvement with our Atlus Online loyalty program. How is running MMORPGs going to fit into the Atlus Online community? Will the gamers most interested in your console titles be an important part of the community? JO: Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent will be only one facet of our overall vision. The Atlus Online portal will be a daily destination for a global community of users seeking a new and exciting interactive entertainment experience. We’ll be bringing additional content to the portal that we feel will really resonate with our existing Atlus Faithful, as well as our new fans. Can you discuss the partnership with HanbitSoft? JO: We have a great working relationship with HanbitSoft. They have been fantastic in providing us with art assets, answering any questions we have, and supporting us in all facets of production. We’re localizing the game as we speak and are putting our signature Atlus touch on it: carefully crafted dialogue, with attention to every detail. Now you're publishing MMORPGs, is there any chance you'll perhaps retain the rights to publish Shin Megami Tensei Online in North America? JO: In 2008, before we were in a position to consider bringing a title to Atlus Online, Aeria Games licensed Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine Online. But we are really excited that Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent will be Atlus Online’s first offering, and you can be sure that we’ll be bringing additional forms of online entertainment to the portal.

About the Author(s)

Mathew Kumar


Mathew Kumar is a graduate of Computer Games Technology at the University of Paisley, Scotland, and is now a freelance journalist in Toronto, Canada.

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