Do you hear that? It’s the sound of returning competition! JRPG developer Atlus was on fire for a few years there, taking advantage of the shrinking niche while Square Enix was busy exploring the AAA Western market. Now that those plans have proven not to be as lucrative as it had thought, Square Enix has jumped back into the driver’s seat of the JRPG genre with Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy Type-0, and Atlus needs to respond accordingly.
And what does Atlus do but announce a brand new game in its second most popular series at the moment, Etrian Odyssey. The company teased two new releases with websites similar to the upcoming Etrian Odyssey Untold II: The Knight of Fanir, and one of these panned out to be the next true entry in the series, Etrian Odyssey V. The reveal trailer doesn’t show too much in terms of gameplay, but just knowing that it exists makes me a happy boy indeed.
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan is one of my favorite games on Nintendo’s handheld, finding a perfect balance between accessibility and that unforgiving difficulty found in old-fashioned first-person dungeon crawlers. The first Etrian Odyssey Untold game, along with the incoming second one, do a great job retelling the events of the first and second game with new set characters and a revamped graphic engine.
The team behind these games also scored big in Japan earlier this year with Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, and this successful experiment with Atlus’ most popular RPG series launches this week in America. Expect our thoughts if I ever get around to beating both it and Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Between Persona 5 and more Etrian Odyssey games, Atlus seems ready to rumble with Square Enix on both handhelds and next-gen consoles. Granted, Atlus rarely sees the kinds of sales figures that Square Enix does, but there is little denying that the Persona games have set the tone for the JRPG genre over the last half a decade or so. Their universal acclaim trumps the mixed reviews of Final Fantasy XIII.
It’s going to be interesting to watch, and the rewards will be great for us with an onslaught of potential great games from these two classic developers.