Oy. It seems things haven’t really improved for Atlus proprietor Index Corporation – a recent report from the Japanese wing of Bloomberg is suggesting that there are as many as 20 companies now interested in or actively bidding on the outfit’s remains. Of the twenty, Sega Sammy was named as a leading contender, though others were not mentioned.
What does this mean for Atlus? Well… I have no idea. Joystiq says the company has assured them its upcoming release schedule will not be impacted in any way, which is great news. Dragon’s Crown has been amassing sizable acclaim from critics thus far, and in general, Atlus’s own fortunes have never been better. Unfortunately, when your owner has no money and is accused of fraud, you don’t really control your own fortunes.
The prospect of a Sega buyout is a little bit scary to me. I mean, who knew Sega even had cash to throw around to begin with? The bidding has reportedly gone as high as 20 billion yen (about $203 million), and it would be a shame to see Atlus’s internal studios fall upon hard times down the road due to mismanagement. We all know how well Sega promoted the projects of Platinum Games, for example (read: they didn’t). At the same time, Platinum was given ample freedom under Sega, so it may not be all bad.
The last point of concern is this – where would a Sega acquisition leave Atlus as a publisher? Ideally the company wouldn’t interfere with Atlus-developed series like Shin Megami Tensei and Persona, but that’s not all that Atlus does. They just published Dragon’s Crown – would games like that be listed as Sega-published going forward? Does it even matter?
The road ahead for Atlus seems a bit cloudy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s grim – we just don’t know yet. What do you think about a potential Sega buyout? Is doom on the horizon? Let us know.