A recent Atlus employee interview, conducted by the Japanese job-placement information website Mynavi, hints at an unannounced title, as well as Persona 5 development.
Mynavi—whose primary functions include “providing workplace articles that show the attractions of actual corporations”—recently interviewed two new Atlus employees who both graduated in 2013 about their experience at the company.
A sense of fulfillment from the interesting work I have been longing to take part in. (H.I)
The first interview is of a programmer with the initials H.I. who works for Atlus’ Creative department 1st Production. He states that he has been familiar with Atlus games since his elementary school days and, having a dream of working in the video game industry, the company he wanted to join the most was Atlus. He found the dark atmosphere of Atlus RPGs compelling, and he is glad his wish to join the company came true.
He says that since he joined the company, every day has been fulfilling. His opinion is sought, he can freely discuss with seniors and veterans, and all for the purpose of developing a new game.
H.I. continues by stating that there are several distinct teams in game development, such as the UI (user interface) team, the battle team, the field team and an organizational team. H.I. belongs to the field team, which he says involves working with the basic screens the player interacts with, such as going to a shop or entering a battle. He works closely with the UI team to make sure the visual elements related to his job are well implemented.
H.I. states that even though he graduated as a student studying programming in the field of video game development, his education hasn’t ended, with every day being a form of study, as he learns new skills and improves. When he first joined, he was hesitant and nervous due to being scared of failing, and because those around him were older than he is. But he soon realized that he was given a good amount of freedom to think and work the way he wanted and, if he was going in the wrong direction, he could simply start over without issue.
H.I. finishes by saying that, since game production goes over a long period of time, he is still involved with the the game he started working on since he joined Atlus two years ago. It is an unannounced RPG, which he states will be rather innovative, and he hopes fans will be receptive to it, as it is different from previous titles the company has developed.
I’m glad the games I’ve been involved with have such a great reputation with the fans! (N.K.)
The second interviewee is a woman identified only as N.K. who works for Atlus’ Creative department 2nd Production, aka P Studio. She is most likely Nanako Kobayashi, who worked as an event planner for Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth.
After graduating, she was looking for video game production related jobs. She had a particular interest in Atlus since the start because of Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, and other unique games they make. Also, because “planner” positions were divided between ‘scenarios’ and ‘system’, it was an appropriate venue to apply to as a literature graduate.
After joining the company, she has been assigned to scenario related work, involving story and settings. A game’s main scenario will be written by a senior, but there are many other segments of text which several people are involved in realizing. The main goal that N.K. keeps in mind relating to her work: make it interesting. She has to keep the player’s perspective in mind. Each distinct scene can arouse a player’s interest, and pacing is very important. The writing must be done in a way that it can sustain tens of hours, unlike a novel which is generally a shorter experience.
It’s helpful to look at the text seniors have written. It’s also helpful to look at the story structure of certain movies, and use it as a foundation for certain scenarios. “During some of our meetings, I’ll get good ideas by discussing certain movies and going: “…like in that scene.””
N.K. says it’s rewarding when the feedback for text that she wrote is “this is interesting!” When the first game she was involved in since joining Atlus—Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth—was released, she paid close attention to how it resonated with players on the Internet.
N.K. states that, currently, the development of Persona 5 is progressing steadily, and that her work on it is approaching its end. When the game was unveiled on February 5th, she was bracing herself for the expectations and reactions of the audience.
Addressing those potentially interested in her type of position, N.K. concludes by saying that, while it only involves writing text, they should try ‘moving’ the screen by coming up with a simple script for themselves. It’s a prototype, and one that can be used when applying for the job. While gaining experience, it is fun to try several different kinds of writing, across a large range. “In the future, I would like to have a large variety of skills, and I would like to be involved with a new game as a leader.”