Megami Tensei
Image: Atlus

Japanese author Aya Nishitani — most well-known for writing Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, the first of a trilogy of novels that the whole Megami Tensei series from Atlus spawned from — has revealed that the director of Nintendo himself once approached the novelist about adapting his novel.

In a detailed thread on Twitter, the author shared how he came up with the first novel in the trilogy and how he struggled to write a novel about a hero. Then, once he settled that the premise of the book — "A high school student who summons demons because he is dissatisfied with the status quo" — meant that the lead character shouldn't be written as a hero, Nishitani submitted the manuscript to the editors. His friend, then, matched Nishitani with the director of Nintendo. As you do!

Ninshitani revealed that the then-director of Nintendo — who is not named — read the novel and said that he was interested in the book. Unfortunately, it never happened, as you can see from Nishitani's anecdote:

"He [director of Nintnedo] read my novel and said that it was interesting and that he would consider whether my company could adapt it into a game. I'll see if my company can adapt it into a game," he said, and took the manuscript with him. A week later, however, he called me and said he was sorry.

"I think it could work, but there's a strong opinion that a demon-summoning game couldn't be released under the Nintendo brand.
Why don't you try something other one?
He suggested another creation, but I refused.
" I couldn't do any other title because I was fixated on 女神転生" [Megami Tensei]

So in another world, we could've seen the SMT series through the lens of Nintendo. It would've probably been a bit different, mind you, but this is a hugely fascinating insight into the history of this franchise. We want to thank Nishitani-san for sharing this anecdote with the world! We highly recommend reading the whole thread as the author gives the world a fascinating insight into what has become a hugely popular RPG series worldwide.

The Megami Tensei series — which is more commonly known internationally as Shin Megami Tensei — started in 1987 on the MSX as a Gauntlet-clone, with the Famicom version — a more traditional RPG — releasing a few months later. (Editor's Note: We initially had the incorrect release date for Megami Tensei as 1986, when it should have been 1987. We've since updated this and clarified that the first game was actually an MSX title. Thanks to KingMike for spotting.)

Atlus was the company that eventually adapted Nishitani's trilogy of novels, and the developer still works on the franchise today, which has birthed numerous spin-offs and sub-series, the most famous being the Persona franchise.

The most recent mainline game in the franchise is Shin Megami Tensei V, which launched on the Switch in 2021. However, Soul Hackers 2 — the fifth entry in the Devil Summoner sub-series — is the newest game in the wider franchise, debuting on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in 2022. Shin Megami Tensei, the third game in the series and first to use the more commonly-used title, is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, and there will be a concert at this year's Anime Expo.

What do you think of this revelation? What do you think a Megami Tensei game from Nintendo would look like? Summon your thoughts in the comments.