NIS America, the company responsible for publishing a wide range of Atlus games in Europe, has formally cut ties with Atlus. Due to a strained partnership following Atlus’ takeover by Sega Sammy Holdings, NIS America will no longer publish Atlus titles in Europe, nor will Atlus aid in American distrubtion of NIS titles.
“Atlus became very picky about selecting the European publishing partner after it was bought by Sega. It always cherry picked its EU 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.”
– Takuro Yamashita, NIS America Managing Director
Due to the lack of a European branch, Atlus often outsourced the localization of their titles outside of the American market. NIS was one of the major contributors, publishing titles such as Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold and Persona 4 Golden, among many others. This split approach to publishing often lead to lengthy delays, much to the disappointment of Atlus’ many European and Australian fans.
The departure of NIS leaves a bit of a void in Atlus’ arsenal, and will force a change in approach for the developer. While it’s not known how this change will affect upcoming titles like Persona 5, it’s likely that another publisher will step up to fill the gap. It’s certainly possible that Sega’s own European branch will handle localization going forward, but this will likely be determined on a case-by-case basis.
As for NIS, the loss of Atlus as an American publisher is a significant blow. Their niche titles were well-suited to the key demographic that Atlus serves, so it was certainly an appropriate partnership. Whether this means that NIS will shift to self-publishing, or seek out a more beneficial partnership remains to be seen.