Earlier in the summer, Nintendo and Atlus announced a new HD remaster of one of the PlayStation 2’s most cultiest of cult classics. In early 2021, we’ll see the release of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster, for both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. This release will mark the return of the core Shin Megami Tensei series to home consoles, as it comes just before the next true sequel, Shin Megami Tensei V. One of the more memorable aspects of the original PS2 release was the meme-preserved “Featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry Series” sticker leveraging a Capcom cameo to help sell the game in Europe.
Why is Dante Paid DLC in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster?
When Nocturne first appeared in North America in late 2004, Dante was included in the game as part of the story (sort of). He didn’t contribute much, but you couldn’t really miss him. Still, despite the collab being related to the infamous Devil May Cry 2, Dante’s brief stop in the MegaTen universe is a fan-favorite moment. But as we saw in the announcement trailer, Dante was nowhere to be seen. Later, we learned Dante is DLC this time. But why is that? Is Capcom nickel and dining the fans now that Devil May Cry is a big deal again? Or is there something else going on?
The truth is a little more complicated. The version of Nocturne we got was actually the second edition, called SMT 3: Nocturne Maniax in Japan. This version made several updates to the game, but also added Dante. So technically, Sparda’s pizza-loving son wasn’t part of the original story. But it doesn’t stop there! After all, why remaster the oldest and creakiest version of a classic game? A third version came out a few years later in Japan, this time branded as Nocturne Maniax Chronicle Edition.
That last version was a pack-in with the limited edition of a different Atlus game, Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abbadon. This version was nearly identical, but Dante was replaced with Devil Summoner 2’s protagonist, Raidou Kuzunoha. And sure enough, that’s who we see in the Nintendo Direct announcement trailer. The HD Remaster is based on the most recent version of Nocturne, which conveniently features an Atlus-owned character, likely making the project more easy to greenlight. So what’s with the DLC?
At least in Japan, the DLC is called the “Maniax Pack.” It costs around ten bucks, and basically converts nocturne back to the “Maniax” version of the game. So, Raidou is removed from the equation, and the Dante sequence is restored. The game even changes to the title screen and opening movie of the older version. The DLC creates a new menu option on the title screen, so fans will be able to check out both iterations of Nocturne if they want.
Ultimately we don’t know the exact reason for this choice, although just based on how it works it’s easy to make some educated guesses. For one thing, the Shin Megami Tensei brand is more popular than ever, and that includes the Devil Summoner games, which were also localized in English. It’s also likely that bringing Dante back in had to involve legal maneuvering with Capcom. We can also see that with the way the DLC retrofits the whole game back to the Maniax version, that’s extra labor involving a brand new function.
It’s a fascinating end result for such an insular sort of game release, but as far as North American MegaTen fans are concerned, it’s a net gain in terms of content. After all, we never saw the Maniax Chronicle Edition over here, so the Raidou parts are seeing localization for the first time. It’s a bummer you can’t just have both characters at the same time, but that would probably be counterproductive from a gameplay perspective.
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In sum, it seems like Dante is paid DLC because you aren’t just getting Dante inserted back into the game, Atlus has actually implemented a toggle of sorts to swap between two different Nocturne variations, with all the relevant assets. What say you, readers? Do you think this little bit of historical context puts the DLC in context for you, or do you still have misgivings about paying extra to make this party a little crazier? Let us know what you think over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels!