This article is about the Japanese video game company. For its American subsdiary, see Atlus USA.
Atlus Co., Ltd.
Native name
Kabushikigaisha atorasu
Industry Video game industry
  • April 7, 1986 (1986-04-07) (as Atlus Co., Ltd.)
  • September 5, 2013 (2013-09-05) (as Sega Dream Corporation)
Headquarters Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan
Key people
Akira Nomoto (president)
Owner Sega Sammy Holdings
Number of employees
121[1] (2014)
Parent Sega Games Co., Ltd.
Subsidiaries Atlus USA

Atlus Co., Ltd. (株式会社アトラス Kabushikigaisha atorasu) is a Japanese video game developer, publisher and distribution company based in Tokyo, and a subsidiary of Sega. It is best known for developing the Megami Tensei, Persona, Etrian Odyssey, and Trauma Center series. Its corporate mascot is the Shin Megami Tensei demon Jack Frost.

Atlus was founded in April 1986, and existed until it was dissolved in October 2010 by Index Holdings (later Index Corporation). After the dissolution, the name Atlus continued as a brand used by Index on video games until 2013. Atlus, in its current incarnation, was founded as Sega Dream Corporation in September 2013, a new shell corporation established by Sega. In November 2013, Sega Dream was renamed Index Corporation, following the bankruptcy of the original Index Corporation. In April 2014, the contents and solution businesses of Index were spun off as a new company called Index Corporation, while the rest of Index Corporation (formerly Sega Dream) was renamed Atlus.

A North American branch of the company, Atlus USA, was founded in 1991 to focus on publishing and localizing games in that region. Atlus does not have a branch for PAL regions, resulting in the company partnering with multiple third-party publishers including Ghostlight, NIS America, Square Enix, and Deep Silver.


Atlus began in April 7, 1986 as a video game developer of computer games for other companies.[2] Atlus developed its first console title for the Family Computer in 1987, Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, which was published by Namco. In January 1987, Atlus started selling amusement equipment.[2] It expanded into the sale of karaoke equipment in March 1989.[2] Atlus released the first video game under its own name in 1989: Puzzle Boy for the Game Boy.[2]

Atlus started in the arcade industry in the 1990s by manufacturing its first arcade video game, BlaZeon, in 1992. Atlus entered Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1997 listing on the JASDAQ. In its goal to further increase its presence in the amusement industry, Atlus acquired the manufacturer Apies from Yubis Corporation in 1999. In 2000, Atlus formed a joint venture with Kadokawa Shoten to distribute and sale games. Atlus suffered from deficit financial results in both 1999 and 2000. To address the issue, Atlus established a management reform plan in 2001. In its restructuring efforts, Atlus sold two subsidiaries (one of them being Apies) to their respective employees as part of a management buyout.[3]

In October 2003, Japanese toy company Takara acquired Atlus.[4] On 21 November 2006 Index Holdings announced the acquisition of Atlus, effective on 30 October, and purchased 7.7 million shares (54.93 percent; 77,000 votes, or 54.96 percent of the voting rights) on 20 November 2006. Atlus became an Index Holdings subsidiary on 29 November 2006.[5]

On 30 August 2010, Index Holdings announced its merger with Atlus, with Index Holdings being the surviving company, effective on 1 October.[6][7][8][9][10] After the merger, Index Holgings would continue to operate the Atlus brand.[11] Although fans were concerned about the company's future, CEO Shinichi Suzuki said that Atlus would continue to provide the "finest quality game experiences possible" and the merger "further strengthens the foundation of Atlus, both in Japan and here in the United States."[12] On 9 November 2010 Index Holdings announced its renaming to Index Corporation, to be confirmed at the shareholders meeting on 25 November 2010 and effective on 1 December.[13][14]

From 2010 to 2013, Atlus, as an actual company, ceased to exist and the name became a brand of Index Corporation for video games in Japan. However, Atlus USA remained active and was renamed Index Digital Media, serving as the North American subsidiary for Index Corporation. Much like in Japan, video games continued to be released in that region under the Atlus name during this period.

In June 2013, it was reported that Index Corporation filed for civil rehabilitation proceedings, facing bankruptcy with debts of ¥24.5 billion. An Atlus USA spokesperson said that Index Digital Media and the Atlus brand were unaffected by the proceedings.[15] On 18 September 2013, it was reported that Sega Sammy Holdings won a bid to acquire the bankrupt Index for ¥14 billion.[16] All Index operations, including the Atlus brand and Index Digital Media (Atlus USA), transferred to Sega Dream Corporation (a new subsidiary of Sega Corporation) on 1 November 2013.[17] That day, Sega announced that it would change the name of Sega Dream Corporation to Index Corporation.[18]

On 18 February 2014, Sega announced the separation of Index Corporation's contents and solution businesses into a new subsidiary, Index Corporation, renaming the old Index Corporation and its remaining digital game business division to Atlus effective 1 April 2014. The new Atlus would include the foreign subsidiary, Index Digital Media, which would revert its name back to Atlus USA at the establishment of the new Atlus.[1]

Former subsidiaries and activities

On 17 September 2009, Index Holdings announced the separation of Atlus' amusement facility and related business into a subsidiary, New Entertainment Waves,[19] effective on 1 December. One hundred seventy-two shares of the subsidiary's stock were also transferred to Chushoukigyou Leisure[20] on 1 December.[21]

Atlus published the Growlanser series, a real-time strategy role-playing game from Career Soft, creators of the Langrisser series. After the success of the first game they acquired Career Soft, who developed the second through fifth installments in-house. In March 2009, Atlus and Sting Entertainment announced a publishing partnership making Atlus the only publisher of Sting-developed games in Japan.[22]

Atlus USA

Main article: Atlus USA
Advertising display at a trade fair
Atlus USA booth at E3 2006

Atlus U.S.A., Inc. established in 1991 and based in Irvine, California, is the American subsidiary of Atlus and publishes games created by Atlus and other developers. It was formally called Index Digital Media from 2010 to 2014.

A number of Megami Tensei games have not been released in North America. During the 1990s, Jack Bros. for Virtual Boy, Revelations: Persona for PlayStation and Revelations: The Demon Slayer for the Game Boy Color were the first three games in the series to have a North American release. The 2004 release of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne was the first main-series video-game release in the U.S.[23] Since then most of the series has also been released in the U.S., including Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey.

Atlus USA has localized cult classic Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, created by Nippon Ichi Software.[24] The company have also published the tactical role-playing game Tactics Ogre and Game Boy Advance remakes of the Kunio-kun and Double Dragon games for Million (a company composed of former Technōs Japan employees). Other notable titles include Snowboard Kids and Snowboard Kids 2 (for Nintendo 64) and Odin Sphere and the Trauma Center series. Atlus USA released Riviera: The Promised Land, a role-playing video game for the Game Boy Advance previously released for the Wonderswan Color, in 2004 in collaboration with Sting and Bandai. In 2006 Atlus USA and Sting released Yggdra Union, a strategy role-playing game (RPG) for the Game Boy Advance.[25] After Working Designs' publication of Growlanser Generations, they released Growlanser: Heritage of War in 2005 and Growlanser Wayfarer of Time in 2012.

The company established an online division, including the Atlus Online portal which is servicing Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent and Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine.[26] On 31 March 2013, Index Digital Media's Atlus Online Division was purchased by Marvelous AQL and transferred to XSEED Games.[27] Atlus USA has published games under the Marl Kingdom name, beginning with Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure in 2000.[24] On 18 February 2014 Sega announced that Index Digital Media would revert its name back to Atlus USA.[1] In March 2016, Sega announced that all the future localized products from Atlus for North America will be published by Sega.[28][29]

European and Oceania distribution

Atlus does not have a dedicated division, like Atlus USA, for distribution of titles within the European and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) region. Instead, up to April 2016, many of Atlus' titles were published in these regions by Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) and its American division NIS America. Following Atlus's acquisition by Sega Sammy Holdings, NIS found that it became more difficult to work between Sega and Atlus for distribution and in April 2016, formally ended its distribution partnership with Atlus.[30] In July 2016, Deep Silver announced that it had come to agreement to become Atlus' distributor for Europe and Oceania, and would begin to publish titles including Persona 5 in both retail and digital form.[31]


Smiling, waving cartoon face next to the word "Atlus"
Jack Frost in a version of the company logo

Jack Frost is the Atlus mascot.[26] Resembling a snowman, he has teeth, a tail and no nose, and wears a joker hat, collar, and shoes. His catchphrase is "Hee-Ho". He has appeared in several games in the Shin Megami Tensei series, as well as the Jack Bros. games. Jack Frost is a hidden character in the North American and Japanese versions of SBK: Snowboard Kids, with a larger role in the Japanese version. He has a family; more relatives were created since Shin Megami Tensei II, including King Frost, Frost 5 Senshi and Ja-aku Frost (Black Frost). The character makes a cameo appearance as a button on the clothing of the gunner class in the Atlus game Etrian Odyssey II.

Games by Atlus

Main article: List of Atlus games

Animations and films based on Atlus games

See also


  1. 1 2 3 連結子会社の分割(新設分割)及び商号変更に関するお知らせ
  2. 1 2 3 4
  4. 沿革:株式会社アトラス IR情報・会社情報
  5. "Regarding tender offer results and subsidiary companies" (PDF). Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  6. 当社連結子会社の吸収合併に関するお知らせ (簡易合併・略式合併)
  7. インデックス・ホールディングス、連結子会社の吸収合併に関するお知らせ ~グループ価値最大化を図りインデックス、アトラスの2社を吸収合併~
  8. "Atlus Dissolved by Parent Company". 1UP. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  11. 【補足】インデックス・ホールディングス、連結子会社の吸収合併に関するお知らせ アトラスブランドについて
  12. "Atlus Reassures Fans Of Its Future After Merger". 1UP. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  13. 商号変更および定款一部変更に関するお知らせ
  14. "Index Holdings to Change Company Name". Reuters. 9 November 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  15. Emily Gera (27 June 2013). "Atlus at risk after parent company announces bankruptcy (update) Index". Vox Media. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  16. Shigeru Sato & Takahiko Hyuga (18 September 2013). "Sega Said to Win Auction to Buy Bankrupt Japan Gamemaker Index". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  17. "Notice of Conclusion regarding Business Transfer Agreement of Index Corporation" (PDF). Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  18. 当社子会社の事業譲受に関するお知らせ (in Japanese). Sega Corporation. 1 November 2013. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  19. 株式会社NEWS 訂正臨時報告書 2010年10月08日 - 投資関係をなんとなくわかった気になる
  20. 当社子会社(株式会社アトラス)における 会社分割によるアミューズメント施設関連事業の分社化、並びに新設株式会社株式譲渡に関するお知らせ
  21. 株式会社NEWS(ニューズ)設立
  22. "Atlus Partners with Sting". IGN. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  23. "Megami Tensei/Shin Megami Tensei". Archived from the original on 11 May 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  24. 1 2 "Nippon Ichi". Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  25. "RPGFan News – E3 2006". 2006. Archived from the original on 18 September 2007. Retrieved 10 September 2007.
  26. 1 2 "Atlus Online Open For Business". Kotaku. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  27. 当社子会社によるIndex Digital Media,Inc.(米国)のオンラインゲーム事業取得に関するお知らせ
  28. Jarvis, Matthew (1 April 2016). "Sega finalises purchase of Persona developer Atlus". Develop. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  30. MacGregor, Kyle (25 April 2016). "NIS will no longer publish Atlus games in Europe, Oceania". Destructoid. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  31. Carter, Chris (6 July 2016). "Deep Silver enters publishing agreement with Atlus in Europe". Destructoid. Retrieved 6 July 2016.

External links

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