Welp, I figured we wouldn't hear about this until E3 and that a holiday release made more sense, but Atlus ain't messing around. The publisher has launched a North American site devoted to a domestic release of Catherine, the Japanese block-pulling puzzle release that's been getting a whole lot of attention lately.
OK, it's about more than just pushing and pulling blocks.
Though the official site is claiming a simple "Summer" for this "HD adult horror title from the makers of Persona," Amazon is listing a more-specific July 26 launch date on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. There's also a bit of descriptive text...
Catherine is an unprecedented exploration of the pleasures and horrors of love. As Vincent, a man recently succumbed to the irresistible beauty of the game's titular diversion players find themselves swept into a treacherous love triangle. Catherine's core themes-those of free will, of the delicate nature of relationships and the choices we make within them, marry perfectly with the intense, terror-filled gameplay that serves to accurately reflect Vincent's growing sense of anxiety. It is an experience wholly unlike any to come before it. Vincent likes his girlfriend. Katherine is pretty, smart, and successful. Trouble is, she's starting to talk about long-term commitment, which is something Vincent's spent his entire life avoiding. With new complications the furthest thing from his mind, Vincent heads out for his regular night of drinks with his friends. Little does he know that he's about to be blindsided by a beautiful, seductive, irresistible freight train named Catherine. Suddenly, he's hung over in bed next to the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, unsure about the previous night's events. Was it just making out, he wonders, or did something more serious happen between them? Should he tell Katherine? Will he ever see Catherine again? Vincent's about to find that a stumble on the staircase of love can turn into a horrific, fatal plummet.
And a list of "features."
The Horrors of Love: Vincent's waking fears, doubts, pressures, and growing guilt about commitment and fidelity now gleefully follow him into his dreams, manifesting as horribly disfigured monsters and a ticking clock.
Between a Rock and a Soft Place: The player must navigate Vincent through heavy moral decisions. As in real life, hardly anything is black and white. What is the value of honesty? What is the right thing to do? Either way, someone's going to get hurt. Worse yet, someone could die.
The Nightmare of Your Dreams: Famed character artist Shigenori Soejima and master composer Shoji Meguro create sights and sounds unlike anything else. As unforgettable and original as the game's narrative, Catherine's visual direction and musical score define and perfectly complement Vincent's terrifying ascent into the dizzying perils of love.
Escape With or From a Friend: Local competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes, in addition to leaderboards, ensure that the many thrills and horrors of racing through twisted stages can be enjoyed by more than one player and add hours of extra gameplay to the overall experience.
And to think, just last week the publisher was claiming that it had no plans to release it here... don't you just hate that? As someone that imported the game to sort of mess around with it, I'm excited to actually understand what's being said, as without any sort of Japanese language training, the game is just kind of a bland block-pulling puzzle game.