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According to a Cake, Catherine Sold 200,000 Units its First Week

Atlus tweets out a shot of its celebratory cake, and gives up the opening week numbers in the process.

Whenever I have a conversation with someone about Atlus and the games the notoriously niche publisher puts out, the conversation always devolves into some permutation of, "Yeah, but how do they make money?" For as great as many of Atlus' titles are, the company almost exclusively deals in oddball Japanese role-playing nonsense that treads pretty far off the beaten (mostly beaten by Square Enix) path of games that American audiences acknowledge the existence of, let alone actively want to play.

The elucidating cake in question.

After reading today's news that Catherine, the Q*Bert-meets-anime/mumblecore (animumblecore?) game Atlus mostly recently brought to American audiences, sold 200,000 units in its first week of retail, I may have to stop asking that question. Now, to be fair, this information comes from Atlus' Twitter feed, and specifically from a picture of a cake. In celebration of the milestone, this cake had the sales numbers emblazoned in icing for all to see.

Unfortunately, as we all know, cakes are by far the most unreliable of all dessert treats, known for providing consistently apocryphal information and constantly double-dealing for the pursuit of their own nefarious gains. Perhaps if this information had come on some manner of pie, or spelled out in chocolate chip cookies, then we could rely upon it. But a cake? They're like the Robert Ford of desserts.

Seriously though, whatever you may have taken away from the experience of Catherine, it's always good to see games outside the mainstream norm of "shoot that guy" and "stab that dude" find success. Given the massive retail disappointments that were Child of Eden and Shadows of the Damned, this does at least give us some hope that Japanese weirdness can still succeed in America. Especially if there's marketing for it.

Alex Navarro on Google+
253 Comments
Posted by Blackout62

So this news isn't coming from Sacramento folk/rock/country band CAKE? Alright I'm not interested.

Posted by RoyCampbell

Other than the 24,000 sold for Shadows of the Damned, do we have an updated number for that?

Posted by Mesoian
@mutha3 said:
@Mesoian said:


Well yes, the question is what GAME is similar to Catherine. Catherine is, inherently, a block puzzle game, so other block puzzle games will be brought up in comparison. I really don't know if I would go about calling it a platformer either; it's a platformer in the same way that intelligent cube is a platformer. Replace the main character with a cursor and it completely returns to being a straight puzzle game.The story beats the game has factor in very little to how the game actually plays, which seems to be the biggest complain people have about the game. Everyone universally keeps saying how the puzzle elements get in the way of what they're really interested in, the story.

Huh, what? No, intelligent qube is a straight puzzle game.   In Catherine, you are Dodging spikes,navigating your way around ice blocks, use jump blocks to get to different segments(etc. etc.)-- Replace Vincent with a cursor, and it would still be a puzzle-platformer. Did you play it?
Wait, what am I thinking of? I'm thinking of the Ps1 game where you were a guy who navagated spaces on a cube attempting to elimate slowly appearing blocks and various obstacles before it crushed him or made him slide off the edge.   
 
@Resident4t said:
@Mesoian: So I have to ask because well I am quite curious actually, I haven't played either  Q-Bert or Snake Rattle n Roll but I have played Catherine. By the sounds of it you have at least played one of the games that you mentioned. Now aside from blocks, moving over said blocks, and possibly the perspective. What similarities do the games share? The biggest part of Catherine is using techniques to push and pull blocks and ultimately create a path for yourself. In Catherine the blocks fall continuously beneath you. Catherine doesn't have much of any enemies on blocks (Other people in your way aren't much) and the biggest enemies can either be the boss of a stage or the blocks themselves. While navigating the level( Similarly to the games you mentioned) is important, creating a path for yourself to navigate in the first place is arguably just as or more important. Catherine also has items that you can use to say, create a block, or get rid of other people in your way. Again I haven't played the games you mentioned and I have only seen clips so I just want to know what exactly it is that the games really share. It is just curiosity, I am not trying to start an argument.

Qbert basically has you flipping the colors of each square you jump on until they're all one uniform color, then you escape through the open door at the top. More points in the least amount of jumps, avoid the baddies, the number of enemies and block types increase the farther you get. 
 
Snake Rattle and Roll is more complex, requiring you to devour a certain amount of enemies before making your way towards the exit, which is usually located at the top of the mountain like stage. There are various block types that have various powers that can aid or hinder you. There's a big emphasis
on completing stages as quickly as possible as, if you take too long, the game kills you. It's a lot like Catherine's gameplay. Again, not a bad thing, but these types of games have existed before. I remember playing the SHIT out of Snake rattle and roll. When I was 6. And much like Catherine, it was balls hard.
 
@Marokai said:

To dismiss roughly half the game (the character interaction and story beats) and boil it down to such a simplistic level as to only call it a "block puzzle game, like all those others!" is selling the game short. Catherine is a block puzzle game blended with, basically, the social link system of the Persona games, and (sometimes quite dark) themes of adult relationships and infidelity. It's easy to pick apart disparate elements of a game and find where they're rooted in, but it's the final product of what all those elements come together to create that is what matters. 
 
Also I find it a bit amusing that you point to games like Qbert and Snake Rattle & Roll as examples of why Catherine is incredibly derivative. Q*bert, a game that originally came out in the early 80s, and Snake Rattle & Roll, a NES game. So what you're basically standing here telling us is that there hasn't been anything like Catherine in multiple video game generations and that it's actually fair in any way to compare a modern video game to a NES game when video game development has reached such a more complex state that such a comparison is outright laughable.  

 
the only one who said this game was derrivative was you. I simply listed 2 games that were similar to Catherine's gameplay, you were the one who got upset.
Posted by FCKSNAP

@iAmJohn said:

@avidwriter
I assume 200K is good for a game like this. However I don't see it breaking 500K, or possibly even 300K. This kinda game seems like Atlus fans boys only, and 200K sounds about all of them, :P
Atlus is a company that can sell 25k copies of a game and still be in the black. Even if you're right (and there's nothing that proves that), hey're gonna do just fine.

Also, Atlus notoriously only prints as many as they need to for any game. Demon's Souls had to be reprinted twice in its first six months because it was way more popular than they were anticipating.

Posted by Animasta

@ryanwho said:

People with anime avatars love this game.

I previously didn't have an anime avatar before playing the game, and the game was so good that it made me switch to an anime avatar.

BOOM.

Posted by swomar

Whether you like their games or not, how can you anyone not root for Atlus?. Unless they are cheating customers or committing some kind of a crime why would gamers wish anything but success for a game company?, especially smaller ones.

Posted by JonDavis

@Rolyatkcinmai: So I was the only one who caught the error in the original post?

Posted by Chop

Cool. 
 
I'm not a fan of the game but I still love to see it doing so well for Atlus. 

Posted by I_smell

@DonutFever said:

@I_smell said:

Obv Persona needs more sex.

What doesn't?

... Soul Calibur.

Posted by Neonie

The key to Japanese game success is women, ladies, and a moe. 

Posted by Chadster

HEY GUYS DID YOU PLAY PORTAL

Posted by Axelhander
@DonutFever said:
@Napalm said:
Or I can just read the fucking wiki and save my hard-earned twenty hours on something far more compelling.
That's right, reading about a game and playing it are pretty much the same.
Giant straw man. He didn't say reading the game and playing it are the same.
 
@Marokai said:
@BenderUnit22 said:
Some of you people are retarded, this game isn't about tits at all.
^ What this person said.  I'm proud to have been one of the people that bought it. Supporting unusual games is one of the most important things people can do in today's video game market, which is consistently dominated by the same old FPS hits and safe brands. Catherine is a great game, and Atlus deserves the success.
Without making this about Catherine specifically, this is a flawed argument. Unusual does not necessarily mean innovative and/or well-made. I would modify this to say that it's important to support unusual, well-made games... and, just as important, to support well-made games that don't necessarily take chances but do feature strong mechanics.
Posted by DonutFever
@Axelhander said:
@DonutFever said:
@Napalm said:
Or I can just read the fucking wiki and save my hard-earned twenty hours on something far more compelling.
That's right, reading about a game and playing it are pretty much the same.
Giant straw man. He didn't say reading the game and playing it are the same. "  
He was judging the game without playing it, and said that his argument is just as valid as someone who has played the game because he read the wiki.
Posted by Addfwyn

Awesome to hear, I'm glad to see a game like this do well. Of course not everyone is going to like it, as noted by this thread, but that's more a matter of taste (everyone's is different) than actual quality of the game. There are games you don't like because they are bad, and there are games you may not like because they don't fit your specific taste. This is most certainly the latter category.

The only thing I have to say to the people who seem opposed to it, is to look past the box art before you judge at least. The game isn't exceptionally sexualized, and isn't using 'zomg anime jerks boobs!' argument to sell games. Yes, it touches on the topic of sex. It handles it maturely. You can have sex as a theme without something being porn. Making that argument off the box art kinda sounds like the Fox Mass Effect 'oh my god, sex with aliens!' snafu.

Posted by dbz1995
@I_smell said:

@DonutFever said:

@I_smell said:

Obv Persona needs more sex.

What doesn't?

... Soul Calibur.

This made me laugh.
Posted by JeffGoldblum

Now Atlus needs to funnel all of that profit into Persona 5!

Posted by DonutFever
@JeffGoldblum said:

Now Atlus needs to funnel all of that profit into Persona 5!

When they announced Catherine, the team said they'd be talking about the RPG they have in development this year.
Posted by Tru3_Blu3

It would've sold more if CoD didn't become famous.

Posted by Napalm
@DonutFever said:
@Axelhander said:
@DonutFever said:
@Napalm said:
Or I can just read the fucking wiki and save my hard-earned twenty hours on something far more compelling.
That's right, reading about a game and playing it are pretty much the same.
Giant straw man. He didn't say reading the game and playing it are the same. "  
He was judging the game without playing it, and said that his argument is just as valid as someone who has played the game because he read the wiki.
No I didn't. 
 
The discussion was in regards to the crazy and weirdness of Catherine, comparatively to that as seen in Shadows Of The Damned. Nothing in what was quoted previously mentioned the mechanics. Go take a look.
 
Stop putting words in my mouth.
Posted by aceofspudz

@Neonie said:

The key to Japanese game success is women, ladies, and a moe.

But what good is a moe without a larry and curly?

Posted by DonutFever
@aceofspudz said:

@Neonie said:

The key to Japanese game success is women, ladies, and a moe.

But what good is a moe without a larry and curly?

Equal to a Moe without a Homer and Barney.
Posted by Lautaro
@Axelhander said:
@DonutFever said:
@Napalm said:
Or I can just read the fucking wiki and save my hard-earned twenty hours on something far more compelling.
That's right, reading about a game and playing it are pretty much the same.
Giant straw man. He didn't say reading the game and playing it are the same. 
How was that not implied by that comment?
Posted by DonutFever
@Napalm said:
@DonutFever said:
@Axelhander said:
@DonutFever said:
@Napalm said:
Or I can just read the fucking wiki and save my hard-earned twenty hours on something far more compelling.
That's right, reading about a game and playing it are pretty much the same.
Giant straw man. He didn't say reading the game and playing it are the same. "  
He was judging the game without playing it, and said that his argument is just as valid as someone who has played the game because he read the wiki.
No I didn't.  The discussion was in regards to the crazy and weirdness of Catherine, comparatively to that as seen in Shadows Of The Damned. Nothing in what was quoted previously mentioned the mechanics. Go take a look. Stop putting words in my mouth.
I never said you were talking about mechanics.
Posted by MooseyMcMan

I think it's hilarious that Atlus is celebrating 200k copies when stuff like Blops sells millions in one day. 
 
Kinda sad too. Oh well, good for Atlus. 

Posted by beard_of_zeus

Glad to hear this game is doing well for them, Atlus is a great publisher.

Posted by UncleClassy

So much hate in this thread. I mean we're all mature adults here. Let's all be mature and go play a mature game like Catherine with its mature themes.
GOD DAMN MATURITY IS AWESOME.

Posted by shadowwolf9

@Axelhander: Personally, I enjoy when great games that aren't the typical run and guns succeed. So this news is great.

Posted by SpaceBoat

I liked Catherine well enough, but there was a huge chunk of time where I wasn't good enough at the puzzles to not be frustrated at them that started me thinking of how much I would enjoy an Atlus RPG using that style of animation. Maybe not even Persona 5 and maybe not even Shin Megami Tensei. In the end, I think Jeff was right about the balance between puzzle and story. Personally, I didn't spend as much time on the puzzles, but I did think the story segments were teasingly short to the point that the game felt like it was moving too fast. Then again, I am the kind of layabout who has the time to finish 40 hour games.

Edited by mewarmo990
Posted by FluxWaveZ
Posted by mewarmo990
Posted by Axelhander
@shadowwolf9 said:

@Axelhander: Personally, I enjoy when great games that aren't the typical run and guns succeed. So this news is great.

I bolded the parts of your post that made me bang my figurative head on the proverbial wall.
Posted by admanb

@MooseyMcMan said:

I think it's hilarious that Atlus is celebrating 200k copies when stuff like Blops sells millions in one day. Kinda sad too. Oh well, good for Atlus.

If you think that's sad, compare the sales of Blops to the amount an oil company makes every day.

Posted by theanticitizen
@Axelhander Good thing your opinion matters more than anyone else's right? :)
Posted by shodan2020

@Landon said:

@FluxWaveZ said:
According to Nich Maragos over at Atlus, the game actually didn't sell 200k copies in retail but shipped 200k copies.
Are you saying THE CAKE IS A LIE?!?!?!?!?!?.....I'm sorry...

You should be. :)

Posted by Gul_Pirak

@Axelhander: what does that bother you?

Posted by theanticitizen
@Axelhander Wow you're a spiteful little brat aren't you? What's the harm to you that people like games like Catherine? Here you are trash talking someone else's tastes in games when there is clearly no reason for it? Was your initial post really necessary in a news article about the success of the game? Or were you just trying to act snobbish and get your opinion heard so you could counter with faux intelligence?
Posted by Cybexx

I finished Catherine on the weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit. 200,000 is pretty awesome for Atlus. That is three times the number of copies that Demon's Souls sold in the first week and that went on to sell 700,000 copies in North America, 1.2 million worldwide which was enough to garner it PS3 Greatest Hits status. Catherine has also sold about 180,000 in Japan so far, so to exceed that in the first week is North America sales is pretty cool. Nintendo needs to take note of this.

Posted by Kraznor

"Animumblecore" was the thing that made me go "oh, Patrick clearly didn't write this story...Alex?"

Edited by FluxWaveZ
@Cybexx said:

Catherine has also sold about 180,000 in Japan so far, so to exceed that in the first week is North America sales is pretty cool.

Where did you get that information? From this article, Catherine had surpassed 250k copies sold in Japan in February of this year.
Posted by DonutFever
@Cybexx said:

I finished Catherine on the weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit. 200,000 is pretty awesome for Atlus. That is three times the number of copies that Demon's Souls sold in the first week and that went on to sell 700,000 copies in North America, 1.2 million worldwide which was enough to garner it PS3 Greatest Hits status. Catherine has also sold about 180,000 in Japan so far, so to exceed that in the first week is North America sales is pretty cool. Nintendo needs to take note of this.

Hmm, I'd like to think that this will have a long sales life, like Demon Souls. If that sold 700,000, that this can definitely exceed that.
Posted by atomic_dumpling
@UncleClassy said:
So much hate in this thread. I mean we're all mature adults here. Let's all be mature and go play a mature game like Catherine with its mature themes. GOD DAMN MATURITY IS AWESOME.
Posted by Lind_L_Taylor

Well hell, people liked Portal & Portal 2.  The market is just crying for 
good puzzlers & thus Catherine's hole was filled.

Posted by Tebbit
@valrog
*Reading through the thread* 
Oh George.
Posted by golguin

@Axelhander said:

Bothers me when games like this do well.

Why does it bother you?

Posted by TheDudeOfGaming
@Alex: Slow news day huh?
Posted by Nictel

I have something to say: Europe.

Posted by DrStrangepork

Wow, is that cake accurate?

Posted by Tesla

Variety is the spice of life. Congrats to Atlus and the Persona team for finding commercial success with a risky game. Even if you don't enjoy Catherine, you would be a fool to think this is anything but good for the industry.

Posted by Catolf
@Axelhander: can you just be happy for a small company selling games? Huh?