NIS America will no longer publish games developed by Atlus, nor will it allow Atlus to distribute its games in the West. A representative for NIS America confirmed that the partnership had ended following recent comments about the termination made by the company's managing director.
Atlus and NIS America's publishing and distribution deal ended under two weeks ago, NIS America managing director Takuro Yamashita told MCVUK. As for why, Yamashita pointed fingers at Sega, which recently finalized its acquisition of Atlus. Sega of America will now handle publishing of all Atlus titles going forward in North America. European distribution of Atlus games, however, is a different story.
"Atlus became very picky about selecting the European publishing partner after it was bought by Sega," Yamashita said. "It always cherry-picked its [European] publishing partner based on who offered the highest minimum guarantee on a title by title basis. I noticed that it was very difficult for NIS America to establish an equal partnership with Atlus."
NIS America frequently published Atlus games in Europe, including high-profile releases like the Persona games, Etrian Odyssey series and others. Atlus also helped distribute games developed by Nippon Ichi Software, NIS America's parent, in the United States prior to the founding of NIS' American branch. The most notable of these was the first Disgaea game on PlayStation 2.
"We've always valued them as a business partner," a spokesperson for Atlus told Polygon over email, following confirmation of the terminated partnership.
"As far as what it means for future titles, I guess I can confirm that this means they won't be released by NISA?" the spokesperson added. The spokesperson did not clarify whether this means that Sega will now publish Atlus games in Europe too.
Atlus-developed Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir will be the final title to be published in Europe by NIS America. That game launches on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in North America and Europe this June. Check it out below in our gameplay overview.
Update: NIS America has found a new American distribution partner in Koei Tecmo, a representative told Polygon.
"We can confirm that Atlus U.S.A. will no longer be distributing NIS America titles in North America," the NIS America rep said in an email. "This distribution change will not affect the availability of NIS America published titles for any fans in North America as we are transitioning to distribution through [Koei Tecmo] America," the NIS America rep said in an email.
"We have had a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Atlus, and are very grateful for our past partnership with them," he continued. "However, at this time that partnership no longer makes sense for our business."