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A Hail Mary for Devil Survivor 2 in Europe

UK publisher Ghostlight isn't seeing much retailer interest, so it's throwing profits to the wind and looking towards fans for help.

It might come as a shock, but companies are still releasing games for the original DS. That includes UK publisher Ghostlight, a company focused on distributing Japanese RPGs to Europe.

Its next release, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2, hasn’t seem much interest from retailers, and the company is throwing the publisher equivalent of a hail mary to save the game.

“Basically, the DS is sort of coming to the end of its life,” said Ghostlight community manager and public relations representative Ross Brierley to me earlier today. “The 3DS has been out for a few years now, hasn't it? Retailers, understandably, can’t concentrate on that and the Vita, to some extent. There’s just not much room on the shelves for DS games, which means we haven’t had anywhere near as many orders as we need to actually make the game viable.”

If Ghostlight receives 1,800 pre-orders for Devil Survivor 2, it’ll make the game. 1,800 pre-orders would cover the cost of manufacturing Devil Survivor 2 and that’s about it. At this point, Ghostlight isn’t hoping to turn Devil Survivor 2 into its most profitable release, and has turned its focus to finding a financially viable way to have the game released in any capacity.

“We’ve done the work,” said Brierley. “We’ve tested the game, we’ve got it all approved, we’ve had it go through the ratings board, and rather than just have it sit on our computers forever, we’d like fans to be able to play it. It’s a bit of a shame otherwise.”

Devil Survivor 2 was late bloomer, no matter how you slice it. The tactical RPG was released by Atlus in Japan in July 2011, and showed up here in February 2012. At this point, we’re talking about a full two years since the game’s native release date, and more than two years into the lifespan of 3DS. It’s no surprise retailers have mostly moved on by now. Strangely enough, Atlus is even releasing an updated version of the game, Devil Survivor 2: Break Record, with new content on 3DS later this fall.

But Ghostlight announced the game, and, admirably, doesn’t want to give on its fans.

“We get comments on our blog, we’ve had emails asking for it,” said Brierley, “and it just seems a bit of a shame to go to people and say ‘no, it’s not coming out’ without trying pretty much everything we can to get it out.”

And so this is that last ditch effort. If this doesn’t work, Devil Survivor 2 isn’t coming out. If it doesn’t hit 1,800 sales, Ghostlight isn’t going to sink the company in pursuit of a game most people don't want. The campaign launched early on Thursday, and its fate remained murky. Brierley didn’t have sales numbers in front of him, but said the website had been up and down all day. Having the website go down is, at least, one good sign.

“The hamsters that run it are suffering,” he said. “We’re trying to get more, at the moment, but they are suffering, at this point. Hopefully, we can the website more equipped to cope with this level of traffic while people are still excited about it. It’s not great timing at the moment. [laughs]”

Orders close for Devil Survivor 2 on August 31. There are two bundles available, and the total needs to hit 1,800 orders. If the quota is hit before, the game will go into manufacturing sooner.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
76 Comments
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Posted by Partial_Paralysis

Can not wait for this game!

Posted by huser

Good luck, the works been done so hope they can at least break even.

Posted by iAmJohn

Atlus did a really similar thing with Persona 3 FES in America where they did a 5,000 unit print run (or as few as they could make to break even) to make the game for the people who really wanted it. It went on to sell more than double that. More companies should be willing to do things like this with the aim of breaking even off the people who really care; more often than not, if your thing is good success will follow.

Posted by ElementsofTony

Seems like they should make it an eshop download on either 3DS or Wii U.

Edited by CaLe

Never been interested in this type of RPG but I'm surprised they had to resort to this kind of thing. I thought they were pretty popular games.

Edited by Amafi

I've heard of this crazy thing they got now...I think it's digital distribution? You basically just throw bits down through a series of tubes right into people's gaming machines, like a ghost cartridge or some shit.

Might be an idea for games that probably won't sell enough units to ever turn a profit considering the cost of making actual physical carts. Especially if the localization work's already been done.

Posted by totheteeth

Ghostlight did so poorly with Devil Survivor Overclocked. I'm surprised they're still working on Atlus games at all.

Edited by iAmJohn

@cale: They do well for their niche and because Atlus is typically very conservative with their budgets and print runs, but make no mistake: they're still very niche. Just to give you an example: the first Devil Survivor was an unexpected success for Atlus USA because it sold 40k copies when they were only expecting to sell 25k.

@amafi said:

I've heard of this crazy thing they got now...I think it's digital distribution? You basically just throw bits down through a series of tubes right into people's gaming machines, like a ghost cartridge or some shit.

Might be an idea for games that probably won't sell enough units to ever turn a profit considering the cost of making actual physical carts. Especially if the localization work's already been done.

Pray tell, who is going to do the work to port Devil Survivor 2 from DS to an eShop-compatible 3DSware game? Do they even have the right to do that based on their deal with Atlus?

Posted by CottonWolf

@cale: It's coming out a year after it was released in the States, and DS games are region free, so most of us Europeans who cared that much probably already imported it. And an enhanced 3DS port with an extra campaign has already been announced, so if (like me) you haven't played it yet you're probably better off waiting. There's basically no reason to buy this game now.

Posted by patrickklepek

For those asking about eShop distribution, I've asked and am awaiting clarification. Most likely the DS eShop has size restrictions.

Staff
Edited by Putemonsteret

Just put it on the eShop. Nintendo/Atlus always seems so reluctant to do internett distrebution here in Europe for some reason. You don't need to do risky and costly shipping and retail to release something anymore, just put it on your e-Store. It's 2013, I though we were supposed to live in the future here.

Posted by steelerzfan101

Well, it will definitely get 1,800 pre-orders. It seems like there is enough interest and enough fans to get it into distribution. I still don't know why they wouldn't make it for the 3DS though. The DS has lost all interest whatsoever!

Posted by Hailinel
Posted by metalsnakezero

I wonder how limited it is in UK with Atlus games since it hard enough with North America release, even if it is in the 100,000+ (Usually) sales which is a profit for Atlus. Thanks for this artical @patrickklepek, and if their any chance in finding more info on Atlus status in Japan with their parent company going bankrupt that would be cool.

Edited by Atwa

The worst part of this is that the 3DS remake of this game is coming out in Japan this year. Ill preorder it though, not only do I want to play it but I want to show my support for Shin Megami Tensei games over here.

Edit: I also wanted to thank Patrick for posting this, and getting some attention to something that only relates to us Europeans! cool move dude.

Edited by Nictel

Thanks for sharing this @patrickklepek! Going to pre-order this, I wanted to get in the series anyway passed Persona, and this seems like the best way to do this. Really like these kind of initiatives.

Edit: Well done I think you crashed their site ;)

Edited by Slaegar

Makes sense that Devil Survivor 2 is coming to the 3DS. It would feel weird for me to play the original on 3DS and then play the sequel on the DS.

Its cool that they want to put it out at all, though.

The DSi eShop limit is 16 MBs so that's obviously no go. Converting it to a 3DS game for the 3DS 2GB eShop would be silly because they aren't in the business of rebuilding a game. This seems like the only option other than wait for the 3DS version from Japan.

I've heard the second Devil Survivor is inferior to the original, though. The anime remake is certainly unremarkable.

Posted by brehonia

Japanese game, European release... American football terminology, haha

I'm getting in on this as soon as the website finds its legs. If Overclocked is anything to go by, we won't get the new version of DS2 until the 3DS is on its way out anyway. I'm sure these problems aren't Ghostlight's fault - every other Atlus game has kind of a crap release over here too (if any).

Edited by Eribuster

If this campaign doesn't pan out, there is always the option of waiting for the 3DS version of Devil Survivor 2, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 - Break Record.

Hope they get the game; having to wait for all the Operation Rainfall games was... something.

Edited by eccentrix

I signed up for the website, but it says I'm using the wrong details to sign in, so forget it.

Posted by DeF

Just put it on the eShop already. Get it together Nintendo/Atlus, It's called the internett. You don't need to do risky and costly shipping and retail to release something anymore, just put it on your e-Store. It's 2013, I though we were suposed to live in the future here.

This is Europe. Also has nothing to do with Nintendo and only little with ATLUS. Ghostlight is publishing this in Europe. And it's a DS game, they can't put it on the 3DS eShop.

Posted by FrostedMiniWheats

@putemonsteret: This is a Nintendo DS game. The Nintendo DS doesn't have any sort of digital distribution of retail titles. This is a full retail title. What you demand is impossible.

Edited by ervonymous

I wish they'd done this with Devil Summoner 2. This is a really nice gesture after the kerfuffle with Overclocked.

Edited by MichaelEM3

I admire their desire to not go back on their word, but I honestly think they'd be better off just waiting on the 3DS port at this point.

As a fan of MegaTen games that lives in North America, and as someone that missed out on the game when it was new, I rather just wait for the 3DS version with added voice work than go on Amazon and order the DS game. I loved the DS, but I'm done with it new releases-wise. I could see lots of European fans feeling the same.

Posted by lord_canti

well there going to struggle to get the pre orders they need . retail chain grainier games got dam tired of waiting and imported American copies and selling them in there stores i got one for £20 4 months ago. this is the problem you get when you wait so long to by the sounds of it start the European localization.

Edited by Zeik

@michaelem3: I think the issue is more that they I've already put time and money into the DS version, so not releasing it means they pretty much did all that for nothing. If they could directly translate the work from the DS version into the 3DS version that would be a no-brainer, but most of the work that would have gone into into localizing it for the DS would have to be done again for the 3DS.

Edited by Winternet

There are 17 people in Europe that are STOKED!

Posted by Enigma_2099

In addition to its own software, the Nintendo 3DS is backward compatible with Nintendo DS software, including DSi software.

Hey, retailers... what's the problem?

Posted by Vessel28

Is there anyway they can get the 3ds ports done quicker so that it releases around the same time in North America. It must hurt sales releasing these games so long after release. It's a huge shame.

Posted by Eojay

I don't see why they're even bothering. It's cheaper to just import the US version of the game, since DS games are region free.

SMT games in Europe are, and always have been, a complete farce.

Posted by Petiew

@vessel28 said:

Is there anyway they can get the 3ds ports done quicker so that it releases around the same time in North America. It must hurt sales releasing these games so long after release. It's a huge shame.

Doubtful. To be honest the problem seems to lie more with Atlus than the European publishers.

Posted by Atwa

@cwjoe said:

I don't see why they're even bothering. It's cheaper to just import the US version of the game, since DS games are region free.

SMT games in Europe are, and always have been, a complete farce.

Eh, its getting better.

Shin Megami Tensei 4 and Soul Hackers are both coming out over here.

Posted by zerdune

DS is region free, most people who care about this game have already imported it.

Posted by BlackLagoon

@patrickklepek: There are plenty of issues making a digital release impossible, it would have to be converted to a 3DS game and even if that was a feasible idea they wouldn't have access to the source code to do that.

Most of the time localization companies just do the translation, and have to wait for the original Japanese programming team to actually put it into the game and deal with any issues that causes. XSeed's release of Grand Knights History for example, was actually canceled after translation was done because Vanillaware was to busy with Dragon's Crown to do the localization programming.

Edited by Fawkes

It was pretty stupid to put Devil Survivor 2 out on DS after making Devil Survivor Overclocked for 3DS which had voice acting and was easier on the eyes than the original game. I'm not sure why anyone would want a DS version at this point.

Posted by selfconfessedcynic

@zerdune said:

DS is region free, most people who care about this game have already imported it.

Yup, I imported this game aaaaages ago : /

I wish stuff like this was done while the games were still relevant.

Edited by alwaysbebombing

Damn, Patrick. You are going to run out of topics to write about, and people to interview.

Posted by Aleryn

Good luck European SMT fans, it's a good game worthy of release. The story and characters aren't the best but the battle system is fun and another good option for Tac-RPG fans.

Posted by PropaneJoe

As with others, I imported a US copy ages ago. And the cost of the game plus shipping was less than UK RRP, too.

Posted by JamesJeux007

I imported the first game because of the DS being region-free, but I never bothered to buy the second one because, to be honest, I never finished the first one (that last boss is ridiculously hard) even though it was a really fun game.

Thank you Patrick for this news. I didn't want to buy this game to be completely honest, but as a European, I say it's time to put my money where my mouth is. If I want European releases of games, I need to support initiatives like this, and buy the game in EUROPE, not the US. So I pre-ordered.

Also, for people on the edge, Ghostlight are offering a bundle including Devil Survivor 2 and Devil Survivor Overclocked with a £10/€10 discount. And even if DS2 doesn't get enough pre-orders, you'll still get DSO with the discount. Think about it :')

Posted by zerdune
Posted by SatelliteOfLove

Their stretch goals include getting a good artist to redo the visuals. BOOM.

Posted by Sooty

These games are rather niche, and the 3DS is region free for original Nintendo DS games. I don't see the point in them even bothering to release it at this point.

Edited by Swifdemon

Hope they succeed. I'm not gonna buy this twice, though

Posted by MonkfishEsq

Ghostlight don't deserve to translate or release anything ever again after the botched job they did with Devil Survivor Overclocked for the 3DS.

It came about 2 years later than the US version and it was 100% identical in its translation. The only thing they did was put in game breaking bugs which took them & Nintendo MONTHS to fix and pass through cert.

Atlus need to get an EU publisher so badly it's not even funny.

Posted by BadSniper52

Wish I had a nds so i could play Devil Survivor, miss the first one.

Edited by MarkDarkness

If anybody is in doubt in terms of the actual game's quality, let me just take a few words here: it is goddamn amazing. I've beaten it 4 times and I'm still looking forward to two more runs to 100% it. It masters SMT:DS1's formula to a level I sincrely didn't think was possible.

Posted by skooks

Ghostlight don't deserve to translate or release anything ever again after the botched job they did with Devil Survivor Overclocked for the 3DS.

It came about 2 years later than the US version and it was 100% identical in its translation. The only thing they did was put in game breaking bugs which took them & Nintendo MONTHS to fix and pass through cert.

Atlus need to get an EU publisher so badly it's not even funny.

This, so much this.

I'll still be buying a copy of DS2 from Ghostlight to support the localisation, but I really hope Atlus get their shit together here at some point. The wait for all their games to come here is ridiculous. We want to give you money, Atlus! Let us give you money! You kinda need it.

Posted by walterbennet

I really, really tried to get into the first Devil Survivor and just couldn't. Everything but the actual combat annoyed the piss out of me. Good luck to fans of the series though!

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