The latest issue of Weekly Famitsu magazine #1805 (the July 20, 2023 issue) includes an interview with Yukio Sugino, the President and COO who oversees Sega Sammy’s entertainment business. He joined Sega in 1993, and has served as Atlus President following the company’s acquisition in 2014.
The interview included several questions about the impact of COVID on game development, global marketing, and other big Sega franchises. Below are the questions and answers relevant to Atlus games.
The Global Market
How do you view the Japanese market in the context of your global expansion?
Sugino: Looking at the consumer packaged goods business exclusively, overseas sales now account for more than 80% of the total sales. However, this does not mean that we do not value Japan. Japanese customers do not only buy our games, but attend live shows and concerts, buy the merchandise, and participate in various events.
Additionally, Like a Dragon and Persona are beginning to sell well overseas because Japanese users recognized the value of these games in the first place. In that sense, Japan is an important market, and I believe it is a prerequisite to create games that Japanese people find interesting.
So you are saying that you don’t make games with a particular consideration for the overseas market. On the other hand, do you have a strong consideration for the Japanese market?
Sugino: We value users around the world equally. We may change promotional images depending on regional tastes, but the games themselves are made with the aim of satisfying people globally. In the past, we sometimes focused too much on the overseas market, and at other times on the Japanese market, but we now have the ability to produce games with an equal focus around the world.
Atlus Flagship IPs
I think Atlus fans must have been surprised to see three new titles announced in a row.
Sugino: Metaphor: ReFantazio is a completely new title that the Atlus team is developing under the new “Studio Zero.” The goal was to create an RPG from scratch that would be a milestone for Atlus for generations to come. Ever since I saw the initial plot, I’ve been waiting impatiently for the day that we could announce it.
It has been a long time since the announcement of the project in December 2016 to the official announcement last month.
Sugino: The idea for this project came up right after the development of Persona 5 ended, so it’s taken quite a long time. It will not be released for a little while, but it’s a game unlike anything seen before, so I hope you’ll look forward to it.
Two new titles in the “Persona” series were announced.
Sugino: Persona 5 Tactica is a game packed with enjoyability. Also, when Persona trainsitioned from Persona 2 to Persona 3, many people had felt that the series had changed! We’re developing Persona 3 Reload in order to not betray everyone’s memories. Even though it’s a remake, we’ve spent so long developing it that it could have been a whole new Atlus RPG, so whether or not you played the game back then, I hope you will enjoy it.