Developer Atlus confirmed that sex-themed thriller Catherine will in fact reach western shores, and will see a US release on both PS3 and Xbox 360 this summer. Rumors about the game’s western release started popping up almost immediately after Atlus said that the game might not be released outside of Japan. Of course, since the game has received so much attention from the press over its strong sexual themes, it’s no wonder that the game had to be released here eventually.
Helmed by Persona 4 director Katsura Hashino, Catherine tells the story of Vincent, a man who gets caught in a love triangle with two women; Katherine, his girlfriend, and Catherine, a mysterious woman with who he finds in bed with him one morning. As his relationships progress, Vincent’s anxiety creates a psychodrama that may, or may not, be cause by a psychotic break. Of course, the game will force players to moral decisions regarding the potential affair; “should I tell my girlfriend or not?” “Should I find out more about this new woman?” and so on.
Atlus has always been able to maintain popularity with niche JRPG fans, but rarely has break out hits. Catherine is a major departure for them, both in terms of the type of game they’re releasing and the attention the game is getting. In America, “sex sells” is a rule of thumb, but it hasn’t translated into critic or financial success in the world of video games. The question is: will Catherine break the mold, or be dismissed as foreign and/or perverse?