No, it's not Persona/SMT-related. EDIT: It is! Kinda! Hype!
Early reports indicate that the latest Famitsu reveals a new Atlus game. They're finally getting their hands dirty with their first internally developed title on HD consoles. 'Catherine' is being described as a horror-tinged action-adventure title, with apparently an "erotic taste to the art". It does have some key staff working on it from the Persona team however. The game is scheduled for a Winter 2010 release date in Japan, so a localised NA/EU release would be hitting in 2011 at the earliest, if at all, though it seems pretty likely.
It's obviously early days, but how do you guys feel about this? As much as I want to see Persona 5, that game has to be in the works, and Atlus are capable of developing multiple projects simultaneously. It may be a good thing for Atlus to develop their tools and get used to the new platforms beforehand. Perhaps more importantly, it also gives hope of persona showing up on the 360.
I'm guessing we'll see more of this come TGS as well as other projects, but for now i'm waiting for a press release.
THE PLOT THICKENS!
So some mysterious ' Vincent' guy in P3P was a secret/easter egg. Not sure about the specifics of that encounter (I never played that version) but some people do. Regardless, he looks to be a central character in this new game.
Nice little summary from GAF:
-Talks about rumors that you die in real life if you die in your dreams before "hitting bottom"
- His back story is that his relationship is on the rocks after cheating on his girlfriend, but after hearing that he knocked her up, decides to get back together.
- Is only referred to as "Man drinking alone" in game, but has several character portraits after you talk to him enough times.
- Data mining the UMD revealed his portraits to be labeled "Vincent"
- In the final scene, he promises to tell you more about his story, but that it has nothing to do with your problems, with that line highlighted in Plot Relevant Red.
Updated report from andriasang:
"Game Jouhou has posted a bunch of additional details on Catherine, Atlus's new PS3 and Xbox 360 action adventure game.
As detailed below, Catherine is the first HD game from Atlus. It's being made with key members of the Persona staff. Included in the staff list are Katsura Hashino as producer and director, Shigenori Soejima as character designer, and Shouji Meguro as sound composer.
While the game's name is Catherine, the main character is actually a 32-year-old salaryman named Vincent (voiced by Koichi Yamadera). Catherine (voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro) is a stylish 22-year-old girl who apparently has the charms of a young girl.
The game begins when Vincent, a vegetarian who has no ambition in work or love (I'm not sure if he's literally a "vegetarian," or if the term "vegetarian" is some sort of metaphor for his personality) runs into the mysterious Catherine one day. At night, he has nightmares.
The nightmares serve as an action component for the
game. Set in a world with an unending stairway, Vincent has to make it to the top of the stairs, or he will not be able to awaken.
Based off Game Jouhou's summary, it's a bit unclear how the game will progress. However, it does seem that even during the nightmare action parts, you'll end up working through the story and encountering events.
During a staff interview, Hashino said that as their first HD game, rather than trying out a true RPG, the team was excited about trying out something new. It looks like Catherine will be just that, as Hashino said it will be more adult oriented than past titles from the team. It's not all style, though. Hashino promised a deep play experience with plenty of gameplay for players to sink their teeth into.
Soejima said that there are some shockingly adult scenes in the game. When you play these scenes, they'll be even more stimulating, although in a difference sense.
Meguro confirmed the adult leanings of the title, saying that the keywords for the game's music are "classic," "adult oriented" and "erotic." He also promised 5.1ch sound.
Meguro also made a comment that has Persona fans excited. He said that due to Catherine, he believes for the time being the staff won't be asked about their next title. However, at some point next year, perhaps he'll be able to respond "Regarding the RPG, Hashino and I are..."
A hint at Persona 5?"
"New From Atlus: Catherine (added 11:09)
Atlus is taking that long awaited step into HD with the new multiplatform title Catherine. In development for Xbox 360 and PS3, Catherine is an action adventure game with a horror taste.
(update, after having seen some pics): Uhh... yeah, it definitely has an erotic taste to the art. The main visual on the first page of Famitsu's reveal shows a nearly naked girl spreading her legs apart. The only thing blocking us from seeing too much is the head of some dude with balling eyes.
Catch copy in the Famitsu article says somethign to the effect of: "The man who continues to rise every night in his dreams."
Atlus has key Persona staffers working on the game. Katsura Hashino is the game's producer and director, Naruki Fukushima is character designer, and Masahi Meguro (OP NOTE: It must be Shoji Meguro) is sound composer."