Catherine is a puzzle action-adventure title for the PS3 and Xbox 360 from Atlus, developed by the team responsible for Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 and Persona 4. It is the first Atlus game designed specifically for HD-capable platforms and was released on February 17, 2011 in Japan and July 26th in North America.
Catherine's main menu is composed of four sub-menus: "Golden Theater", "Babel", Colosseum" and "Configuration".
- Golden Theater consists of the story mode and it is also the name of a television program that appears within the game.
- Babel is composed of additional, more difficult puzzle segments compared to the ones in Golden Theater. These puzzle stages are randomized so the blocks are arranged differently each time players attempt at completing the stage. There are four stages in Babel which are unlocked via the player's progress in the story mode on "Normal" difficulty or higher and there are single player and two-player options for this mode. Players will also be able to take part in online rankings where they will compete to finish the stages in the shortest amount of time.
- Colosseum is a multiplayer competitive mode where two players will locally go through the games' action segments at the same time. Players will assume the control of sheep as their characters and the player who wins two rounds the first wins the match. Players must have cleared Golden Theater Mode in order to unlock Colosseum.
Catherine follows the story of a man named Vincent, an uninspired thirty-two year old software engineer who discovers that his childhood sweetheart Katherine may be pregnant. While trying to figure out what to do, Vincent runs into a girl by the name of Catherine, a stylish twenty-two-year-old. Vincent is plagued by nightmares shortly before he has a one-night-stand with Catherine; nightmares in which he's climbing a never-ending stairway and must reach the top in order to awaken and survive. Some of Vincent's friends also experience the same recurring nightmares.
The game is largely split into three distinct parts: story, adventure and action. The story part mainly consists of conveying the game's story by anime and in-game event scenes.
The adventure part generally takes place at the Stray Sheep, where, as Vincent, players will trade text-messages with Catherine and Katherine as well as other individuals. Players will be able to choose preset sentences as a reply to the messages sent to them and the characters will react differently to different replies and could even send pictures depending on the reply. Vincent will also be asked to capture cell-phone pictures and send them to various people. At the Stray Sheep, Vincent will also be able to talk to his friends, drink alcohol and participate in various mini-games. New customers will visit the bar occasionally and their facial expressions and conversation options will change daily. Players can miss important conversation if they miss the opportunity to talk to a character at a certain moment.
In the Stray Sheep, players will find a jukebox that allows them to change the background music to other music featured in other parts of the game. The bar also features an arcade game by the name of Rapunzel that resembles Vincent's nightmares. In Rapunzel, players will guide a character up a tower of blocks and push them in order to create a stairway to reach the top, rescuing Rapunzel from the evil witch. Rapunzel, has over 50 stages with the difficulty rising with each one. Other customers of the Stray Sheep play the game too in addition to Vincent and if the player beats their high scores, more conversational options could potentially be unlocked.
During the action part that consists of Vincent's nightmare segments, Vincent will have to run from ghoulish monsters while avoiding them, avoiding obstacles and dodging other obstructions to get by. These stages are designed to resemble a giant flight of stairs composed of huge blocks and the goal is for Vincent to reach the top before the monster chasing him captures him.
Vincent will be able to push the aforementioned huge blocks in order to create pathways or steps. There are different types of these blocks, two of them being: "Trap Type" and "Bomb Type". The "Bomb Type" blocks explode when stepped on, destroying nearby blocks, while "Trap Types" deploy spikes from their top. Over time, the floor collapses so players are required to be quick and efficient as they climb the stages. If Vincent falls off the level or gets captured by a monster, it's game over. The level designs during these sections will be an apparent mix of 2.5D and 3D.
During these action sequences, sheep will sometimes block Vincent's path in order to make themselves survive. Vincent will need to push them away either by using his main weapon which consists of the pillow he carries or with the use of various tools (attacking the sheep with electricity, for example).
After ascending the stairs in these stages, Vincent will attain a sort of lobby with a large red carpet where Vincent will be able to speak with sheep men in order to get new information and learn new skills to use in
the stages. Players will also be able to exchange coins in order to purchase tools. At the end of the red carpet is a room called the "Confession Room", where Vincent will hear a mysterious voice that asks him strange questions. There, players will be asked a multiple choice question and the player's response will determine how they will progress through
the game. If the player's connected online, they'll be able to see graphs showing how other players responded to the question and they'll also be able to see how players of different genders responded.
A liquor bottle icon at the bottom left of the screen indicates how drunk Vincent is. There are three levels of drunkenness that Vincent can reach. In order to get drunk, players will have to go to the Stray Sheep bar and order drinks among four types: beer, cocktails, whiskey and sake.
As players drink, Vincent gets hot and the liquor icon on the screen will be engulfed in flames. In the real world, this causes him to suffer from drunkenness which makes him to stumble around when trying to leave the bar to go home. Things change however when Vincent enters the dream world. In the dream world, on the other hand, how drunk Vincent is determines how powerful he is. The higher the level of the drunk meter, the faster Vincent moves.
In an interview in Famitsu, character designer Shigenori Soejima stated that Catherine will feature some "shockingly adult scenes." Composer Shoji Meguro stated that the title is indeed adult-oriented and describes the music as being "classic," "adult-oriented" and "erotic."
Catherine has been in development for two years. The game will be fully voiced and will have multiple endings as well. These endings will each have their own respective animated sequences. Atlus estimates that it'll take players about 20 hours to finish the game during their first playthrough. There will also be difficulty settings but it has not been said if they will alter the story in any way.
Catherine has been through some major changes in relation to its theme as well as its visuals. Originally, Soejima wanted the game to follow a war theme but, following discussions with Hashino, they decided to go with a theme revolving adult love.
Hashino did research for the depiction of the love triangle of Vincent, Catherine and Katherine in the game by asking the Atlus staff who have lived through similar romantic experiences. One of these interviews, incorporated into the first trailer for Catherine, was a woman who instead talked about the fact that she's only seen herself killing other people in her dreams as opposed to herself being killed.
All of the anime cutscenes within the game will be created by the Japanese animation studio: STUDIO4°C . The studio has spent approximately a year working on that aspect of Catherine and there will be more than the usual 30 minutes worth of anime cutscenes which can be found in the Persona games.
The game's composer Shoji Meguro has stated that the game's music can be split into four different categories: classical arrangements (one of which can be heard in Catherine's first trailer as Bach's Little Fugue) for the action segments of the game, original jazz music for the event parts and string music during the anime cutscenes. The other category will be songs with currently unannounced elements.
Atlus have incorporated manual lip-syncing to the game's animation that differs from both the Japanese version and the English version as most of the game revolves around believable character interaction and drama.
The engine that the game uses is primarily the Gamebryo engine.
The game's existence was first hinted at in the PSP game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable. In this game, Vincent appears in the bar Club Escapade on certain days, though in the game he never reveals his name and is simply referred to as "Man Drinking Alone" in his dialogue boxes. (His name was later discovered by people looking at the game code where the name "Vincent" is attached to the character.) In conversing with Minato Arisato, he reveals hints related to his problems, though also states specifically that they are nothing that Minato needs to worry about.
It was cleared up in an interview preformed by Shuukan Gēmu no Shokutaku that Catherine is not considered part of Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei franchise, or has any specific ties to the Persona sub-universe outside of "fake" Vincent's cameo in Persona 3 Portable. The mole that the Vincent in P3P wears was said to be a sign that this is not the exact same Vincent as the one in Catherine.
Vincent Brooks made his first appearance in Persona 3 Portable as a cryptic alcoholic without a name who told the player about his problems. Vincent is a 32-year-old software engineer who is a smoker and also drinker. He is unmotivated romantically, though he does have a girlfriend named Katherine whom he was childhood friends with. He is described as a "herbivore" figuratively, which in Japanese culture means that he cares more about his appearance and social projection than relationships and money. After meeting the Catherine, Vincent starts having vivid nightmares.
Vincent is modeled after Vincent Gallo from the movie Buffalo '66. The team also decided to preserve the name.
Catherine is a 22-year-old woman with a "charming face" and an amazing figure. She is described as being Vincent's type of woman. She and Vincent have a one-night stand after meeting out of the blue one day. She seems to be initially unaware of Vincent having a girlfriend as she lets Vincent know that she will not let him cheat on her.
In relation to her design, she represents a young and "healthier" love interest compared to Katherine. For technical purposes, her bust size was augmented in Catherine's 3D model compared to Soejima's initial drawings.
Katherine Mcbride is the 32-year-old girlfriend and childhood friend of Vincent. She works for an apparel maker in a middle management position and was reunited with Vincent at a class reunion five years ago. She hints that she may be pregnant with Vincent's child but this remains unclear.
She is meant to represent adult charm.
A divorcé and software engineer, Orlando Haddick lives with and is a co-worker and bar mate of long time friend Vincent. He is 32 years old and, after his divorce, he has started to live a free and wild lifestyle. He advises Vincent that he should avoid marriage due to his own personal pitfalls with the subject.
Jonathan Ariga is 32 years of age. He is a friend of Vincent's and he works at his father's used car dealership, where he plans to continue the family business. He has strong convictions about marriage and believes that it's supposed to be had with one's fated partner.
- English Voice Actor: Yuri Lowenthal
- Japanese Voice Actor: Kishou Taniyama
Tobias Nebbins is 23 years old and has had little experience with women and love. He works with Johnny as a used car salesman and is willing to get married the second he gets a girlfriend. Toby has a crush on the bar's waitress, Erica.
Erica is 32 years old and a childhood friend of Vincent's. She waitresses at the Stray Sheep, the bar that Vincent, Orlando, Johnny and Toby frequently drink at. She has a sunny disposition and is the one to go to when looking for the latest town gossip. She enjoys taking advantage of Toby's feelings for her.
- English Voice Actor: Kirk Thornton
- Japanese Voice Actor: Norio Wakamoto
Barkeep at the bustling Stray Sheep, Boss is the man to go to when trying to make new friends and be introduced or familiarized with the other patrons of the bar. He's supposedly seen his fair share of carnage in his day. What this exactly refers to is a mystery at this time though.
Todd, another frequent patron of the Stray Sheep, can usually be found there with his subordinate, Archie. He works at the same company as Vincent's girlfriend, Katherine.
- English Voice Actor: Doug Erholtz
A glasses wearing reporter for a local newspaper who often stops by the Stray Sheep. He was emotionally damaged by an incident from his past.
Morgan is a police officer who visits the bar in uniform. He's been searching for the truth behind a particular crime for the past six years.
Trisha is the host of an in-game television program named the "Golden Play Theater." The game opens with her introducing Vincent and the rest of the major players in the story.
Lindsay and Martha
Lindsay and Martha are elderly identical twin sisters who sit in a booth next to Vincent and his friends at the Stray Sheep bar. They speak in an odd tandem and will gossip about the other bar patrons dropping hints and provide a bit of backstory about the lives of other people in the bar. They also love their beer and pizza.
"Love is Over" Deluxe Edition
A "Love is Over" Deluxe Edition was released for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 systems. This edition contains items that are directly from or inspired by the game world, including: the game itself, a pair of polka dot boxers (Sizing: Men´s Large) like the ones worn by Vincent during his manic nightmares, Vincent’s “Empty Hearts” T-shirt (Sizing: Men´s Large), a pillow case (Sizing: Standard/Twin) decorated with an alluring image of Catherine, a nod to the pillow tucked under Vincent’s arm as he frantically races to escape the terrors that pursue him, and a pizza box for the "The Stray Sheep"; the bar that Vincent and his friends hang out in. In addition to the “Love Is Over” Deluxe Edition, ATLUS also revealed the Catherine Sound Track Disc & Art Book which was available by reserving either the standard or deluxe edition of the game for either platform (Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 system). The 36-page, full-color art book measures 5.25″ x 6.75″ and is packed with the character designs of artist Shigenori Soejima. The 11-track music CD features the best musical themes of the game specially remixed by composer Shoji Meguro.
"Stray Sheep" Deluxe Edition
The "Stray Sheep" Deluxe Edition is an Europe exclusive for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The package apart from the game contains a pizza delivery box that serves as the packaging for the game, two Stray Sheep bar-themed coasters, a seductive Catherine poster that is exclusive to this edition and a replica of the Rave T-shirt that vincent wears in the game. The game launch is set for February 2012 release a full seven months after the USA release and costs £54.99
The soundtrack to Catherine was composed by Atlus veteran Shoji Meguro. It was released February 23, 2011 in Japan.
Total length: 52:48
|2.||It's a Golden Show||3:35|
|5.||Also Sprach Brooks||1:52|
|10.||At More Choice||1:17|
|12.||Good Morning, New Day||1:57|
|16.||Stalked in the Dark||1:27|
|20.||Lamb Game between ♂ and ♀||2:12|
|26.||Act on Instinct||1:36|
|28.||An Die Freude||4:38|
|29.||Battle on Stage||2:58|
|30.||Up Up Up!||2:59|
|32.||Rapunzel -Neme Entry-||1:01|
|33.||Rapunzel -Game Play-||1:21|
|34.||Rapunzel -Game Over-||0:11|
Instead of releasing the complete soundtrack in America Atlus included a selection of songs as a pre-order bonus. The included tracks are as follows:
|1.||Holst - Planets Suite "Mars", "Jupiter"||2:33|
|2.||Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 In C Minor "Fate" 3rd Movement||2:22|
|3.||Bach - "Little" Fugue In G Minor||2:59|
|4.||Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 In E Minor "From The New World" 1st Movement, 3rd Movement Scherzo (Molto Vivace)||3:10|
|5.||Rossini - William Tell Overture Part 2 "The Storm" And Part 3 "The Ranz Des Vaches"||2:19|
|6.||Borodin - Polovtsian Dances||4:37|
|7.||Mussorgsky - Pictures At An Exhibition "The Hut On Fowl's Legs (Baba-Yaga)"||2:28|
|8.||Bizet - L'Arle'sienne Second Suite "Farandole"||2:02|
|9.||Chopin - "Revolutionary Etude"||2:47|
|10.||Handel - Messiah "Hallelujah Chorus"||1:45|
|11.||Chopin - Piano Sonata No. 2 "Funeral March" 3rd Movement||2:31|
- The Japanese voice actor for the character Vincent has been confirmed to be Koichi Yamadera, the Japanese voice actor for Spike Spiegel of the anime Cowboy Bebop. Vincent and Spike both share a vague physical resemblance.
- Catherine and Katherine's names are both spelled the same in Japanese (キャサリン). The two of them romanize out to 'Kyasarin,' leading to some (intentional) confusion in the game.
- In order to show the appeal of Catherine initially, the designers filled the design documents with ''intense visuals''. Of these visuals was a picture featuring Persona 4's Yukiko Amagi. This document was only meant to convey the game's mechanics; Yukiko won't make an appearance in the final game.
- Originally, the two covers for the game were planned to have both characters in nearly naked, identical poses, but the developers feared that Katherine would lose out to the younger, sexier Catherine. Another early cover featured one girl holding a knife and the other a fork (who was holding which was left ambiguous).
- The in-game television program that the story mode of Catherine is told through, "Golden Play Theater," is a reference to the Japanese program "Golden Western Theater" that aired in the '70s and '80s. It mostly showcased American movies. The opening animation to Golden Play Theater is also directly inspired, and nearly identical in style, to Golden Western Theater.
- It was specified in a podcast that the Vincent who appeared in P3P is a Vincent lookalike. That's why he has a mole in P3P and not in Catherine. The Persona series and Catherine have no relation at all.
- There's an easter egg in the bathroom of the "Stray Sheep" bar. If Vincent enters the bathroom and looks on the wall to the right of the mirror, there's a faded poster that has an image of Teddie from Persona 4 on it. Teddie also appears as a plush toy near the end of the bar when Vincent is seated, and a Gekkoukan High School patch is visible on a poster in the back of the bar.
- If Vincent sits at the bar, the player can see a poster that says: "Do Flirts Dream Of Sheep Man?" This is a reference to the book, "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep", a cyberpunk thriller by Philip K. Dick.
- On the 7th Day in the Stray Sheep Bar; if Vincent watches the TV, after listing the deaths of the day, the reporter will give a weather report. She suggests that the audience should bring an umbrella because it's going to rain for the next few days. This is a reference to Persona 4's "weather" game mechanic.
- In the bar, if Vincent goes into the bathroom and look into the mirror they will see a flash of the next boss in the reflection.
- While in the bar, after Vincent orders either beer, whiskey, sake or a cocktail they will receive trivia about the type of drink, ordering the same drink or drinks every time Vincent is in the bar will award the player with an achievement (a possible four).