On April 16th, Atlus is releasing the 3DS version of Soul Hackers. But my history with Soul Hackers goes back to over 15 years ago.
In the late 90s, I was just starting college & was very interested in learning Japanese. Persona had come out a little while ago and was a true revelation – a dark RPG set in a modern setting with a heavy focus on psychology & philosophy. Most Saturn RPGs weren’t being released in the US at the time so when I heard about Devil Summoner 2: Soul Hackers, I thought why not import it? I’d get a game that sounded very cool that had a very slim chance of ever coming out over here and I’d get a chance to improve my Japanese.
Soul Hackers was indeed very cool although with my limited Japanese ability, I missed much of the nuances with the story & characters. I played a bit of the game and then decided I’d wait until someone wrote a FAQ before continuing. After it became obvious that no one was interested in writing an English guide for the game, I decided to write one myself. Thus began my first and only major FAQ/Walkthrough which you can still read on GameFAQs here.
My guide covers most of the game, but I never actually finished it due to a rather large annoyance with the Sega Saturn hardware. The Saturn was one of the first home systems with built-in storage for saves and they hadn’t quite worked out all the kinks yet. Specifically, the Saturn’s storage was powered by a lithium battery and if the lithium battery died, all of your saves went with it. Now playing through a game in a language that you’re not exactly fluent in is slow going and it’s even slower when you’re simultaneously writing a guide for the game that you’re playing. I wasn’t playing Soul Hackers full-time – I’d maybe go through a dungeon or two, update the guide, and then play some games in English before going back to it a few months later. Well, you can imagine what happened. I made it pretty close to the end of the game and then lost all my progress. Losing all that time & effort I had invested in the game was so annoying that I never went back and finished the game.
As you might expect, I was rather shocked and pleased when it was discovered that Atlus was creating a 3DS version of the game and even more excited when the US branch of the company announced that they were actually going to release it in English. The timing is rather poor (we’re right in the middle of finishing up our new game & I’d still like to complete Etrian Odyssey 4 before moving onto another dungeon crawler) but I can’t wait to finally get a chance to play Soul Hackers in English after all these years.