2022 Could Be Atlus' Year

When it comes to the best games studios based in Japan, competition is extremely high. From Software struck gold when it created the mainstream Dark Souls formula that the games industry can't seem to get enough of, while Nintendo has an extremely tight grip on the market with both its hardware and massive library of classic hits. When it comes to JRPGs, however, two studios shine extremely bright: Square Enix and Atlus.

While Square Enix as a corporation is an absolute giant thanks to its work as both a major publisher and studio, Atlus has begun making a name for itself over the past several years, proving that it isn't to be overlooked when it releases games. Looking ahead to what's coming in 2022, it seems like this might be Atlus' year to shine brighter than it ever has before.

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The Future of Atlus in 2022

The company has already started the year on the right foot with Persona 5 Strikers being free to download for all PS Plus subscribers. The game was one of 2021's best, flying under the radar for many JRPG fans as it was sandwiched between Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, the PS5 version of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and Bravely Default 2. Now that there's some time before the major releases of February and March, plenty of fans who missed it last winter are picking the game up and once more enjoying the continuation of the Phantom Thieves' story.

In March, Atlus is keeping the Persona train rolling with the rerelease of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, a remastered fighting game follow-up to the events of both Persona 3 and Persona 4 that fans have been asking for since the previous console generation started. While some might view it as a simple spin-off fighter, demand for more content surrounding Persona 4 has been high since 2020's widely successful PC port of Persona 4 Golden. On top of that, rumor has it that Atlus will be announcing and releasing a remaster of Persona 3 later this year which would help continue the franchise's rise in popularity that started with Persona 5's launch in 2017.

Atlus does far more than develop the Persona series, however, as it proved with 2021's release of Shin Megami Tensei 5, a mainline title in the franchise that Persona originally spun off from. Fans can likely expect to see some sort of additional DLC content for the game coming sometime later this year in the form of new story quests, DLC demons, and plenty of extra challenge quests. While there isn't anything officially announced for SMT 5 yet, it takes one look at the post-launch support that Shin Megami Tensei 4 received to piece together that Atlus is interested in supporting the franchise.

In addition to everything listed so far, Atlus stated recently that it's hoping to release a title that will be a "pillar" for the company. Fans have taken this in many different ways, with some thinking that this means that Persona 6 is on the near horizon. That doesn't seem very likely given the fact that there's been no official announcement for the game yet, but there's plenty of other franchises that Atlus could be working on that could be viewed as a pillar.

Series such as Trauma Center, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, or Catherine could be receiving sequels, but the most likely title that Atlus was referring to is Project Re Fantasy, a game that's been in development since 2016 and could be the newest pillar IP for the company. There's not a whole lot known about the game, but given its lengthy development cycle, it could be ready for release sometime soon. No matter what's in store, the year ahead is looking extremely solid, which means that fans of Atlus will have plenty to be excited for in the coming months.

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Peter Hunt Szpytek (540 Articles Published)

If you're looking for him, Peter can usually be found dropping hot in Apex Legends with his friends. A fan of games of all types including JRPGs, third-person shooters and survival horror, Peter is a journalism graduate of North Central College and can be reached at [email protected] Twitter: @PeterSpittech

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