All about Shin Megami Tensei 4 and its new medieval setting

Despite announcing the game last month, Atlus is keeping its card close to its chest when it comes to info on Shin Megami Tensei 4, latest in their series of apocalyptic demon-busting role-playing games. A new trailer's getting released this weekend for the Tokyo Game show (a partial version of which is online now), but otherwise, the most info you're getting about this Nintendo 3DS game right now comes from the 12-page preview printed in this week's issue of Famitsu magazine in Japan.

The preview paints a game that aims to be quite different from previous titles, all set in the Tokyo of the modern day or near future. This one begins in a place called Eastern Mikado, a realm that resembles medieval Europe and is policed by a group of "samurai" that have specially-made gauntlets which enable them to control demons. You play a young member of this group, an 18-year old that you name yourself, and the preview introduces a few of the supporting cast: the kind, proper Yonatan; the brash but caring Walter; the prim but spunky Isabeau, and the extremely heaughty Navarre.

For reasons that aren't revealed yet, this group of medieval knights finds itself in a modern-looking Tokyo, one that's dark, desolate, and packed to the gills with demons. The preview doesn't talk much about gameplay, instead filling the pages with character and demon illustrations, but the core SMT tenets - forging pacts with demons, fusing them together to create demons, and driving the story towards virtue or chaos based on player actions - all seem to be there.

"This game retains all the hallmarks of the series, from the immoral, corrupt world view to negotiating with and combining demons together," commented director Kazuyuki Yamai. "It's something that we hope is approachable to all walks of gamer, from longtime series fans to people thinking about using this as their opportunity to join in. It's a really large-scale RPG project, something that goes far beyond the standard for a portable system. It amazes me how much we've stuffed in here, and I can't thank my team enough for all the work they've put in. I'm sorry that you'll have to wait a bit for the game to come out, but I hope you'll be patient!"

Shin Megami Tensei 4 has a tentative 2013 release date in Japan.

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