New details have emerged regarding the world and characters of Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei IV. We’ll delve into the world before we take a closer look at the newly-released character profiles.
Mikado is a walled castle town, located amongst rolling green fields in the far eastern reaches of the country. Law and order in the city is maintained by a group of samurai warriors known as the Crowd Samurai, who are constantly driving off the demon-summoning group known as the Gauntlet.
There are two distinct classes in the city of Mikado. Individuals in the upper class are said to belong to the “Luxury”. The people of this class are wealthy, and comprise the politicians and the intellectuals of Mikado. The lower class is known as the “Casualties of War”, or simply “Casualties”, and these are the farm workers, labourers and merchants of the city.
Those belonging to the Casualties are rarely able to ascend to the Luxury class of citizens as they are expected to continue running their family business. As such, they hold great contempt for those born into Luxury. However, there is a way for the Casualties to escape their undesirable lifestyles. Anyone with enough skill can be accepted into the Crowd Samurai, regardless of class, giving the Casualties a place of exit. As a result of this, the Crowd Samurai are revered by the lower class. The player will take on the role of a young man who has just joined the Crowd Samurai.
Tokyo is ruled by some sort of evil god and his underlings in Shin Megami Tensei IV. The districts of Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Ginza have all developed their own underground districts in an attempt to escape their demonic tyrants. Food is scarce here, and times are hard.
The Board of Ashura has its headquarters in the Roppongi district. The Board evolved to coexist and negotiate with demons so that the human race may be protected and justice may prevail.
The Gaia cult, on the other hand, has a firm belief in “survival of the fittest”. They oppose the Board of Ashura from their headquarters in Ginza, stating that justice is merely a means to protect the weak and that those who are strong enough to rise to power should be permitted to do so, without fear of “justice”. They are known to be quite hostile.
At this stage I feel it’s worth noting that Mikado was meant to represent a city covered in light, and Tokyo a city consumed by darkness. This may explain the game’s logo; the top, light half is probably representative of Mikado, while the lower, darker half stands for Tokyo.
Seven of the characters in Shin Megami Tensei IV have been discussed, three of which are totally new. I’ll begin with those.
Tayama is the head of the Board of Ashura, and the man who has the most contact with the demons. He negotiates with them in order to protect the people of Tokyo. How he manages to safely complete these negotiations, though, remains a mystery.
Kaga is a member of the Gaia cult. A bold woman with a strong personality, she is constantly at loggerheads with Tayama as their beliefs and respective organisations clash.
Samurai Kuroki is a mysterious stranger who will appear before the protagonist and his troupe many times. The samurai seems to know a great deal of the happenings in Tokyo, and will initially be met in the area around Mikado.
Walter was born into the Casualties class before he ascended to samurai status. He is a free-spirited young man who feels that his purpose in life lies on the battlefield.
Jonathan is a polite, well-behaved lad who believes that everyone should receive equal treatment, regardless of which class they were born into. He himself was born into Luxury, and has a profound respect for nature, order and discipline.
Navarre is a samurai born into Luxury who dislikes Walter for his class of birth. He has a distinct pride in his own origin.
Izabo is a well-behaved samurai who was born as a Luxury. She is quiet and almost completely inexpressive; so much so, that Walter has taken to calling her “Iron Mask”.
Shin Megami Tensei IV is set to be released for Japanese 3DS’ sometime this year.