Interview with Atlus

Shortly, Atlus will release two RPGs in North America: Deep Labyrinth, a 3D dungeon crawler written by Masato Kato and scored by Yasunori Mitsuda, and Contact; a quirky, Earthbound-esque RPG.

Luckily, we had the chance to have a Q&A session with Atlus’ Zach Meston recently, where he responded to queries involving the finer aspects of both games, as well the question that’s on everyone’s minds: “How would MacGyver use these games to fend off terrorists?”

RPGLand.comFirst, as always, can you introduce yourself and your connection with Atlus and these games?
Zach Meston, Atlus USAMy name is Zach Meston. I’m the PR Manager of Atlus USA. I was also the project lead and editor of Deep Labyrinth, but my only role regarding Contact is to try and convince the Teeming Millions to love it with the burning passion of a thousand suns.

RPGLand.comSo, to help us learn more about the person answering these questions, what are your favorite DS games (yes, including non-Atlus titles too :p ) released so far?
Zach MestonYou think you can know me by the games I like? You think I’m that easy to read? Because you’re right. My fave DS games thus far are Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (fantastic localization), Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Lost in Blue (despite its many flaws), Kirby: Canvas Curse (despite the fact that no heterosexual male should ever play a Kirby game), and Trauma Center: Under the Knife.

RPGLand.comHow much screen time does David Bowie get in Deep Labyrinth?
Zach MestonNone, but I would much rather have had Jennifer Connelly get some screen time, anyway.

RPGLand.comWhat are the general plot outlines of each of these?
Zach MestonDeep Labyrinth has two scenarios, and thus two storylines. In the first, you’re a young boy who gets pulled into the DL of the title, along with his mother, father, and canine companion. In the second, you’re a young man who gets pulled into the DL while chatting on your cell phone. The first scenario skews toward the kids, while the second skews toward the hardcore.

Contact is a little tougher to describe. It’s about a spaceship-piloting Professor who recognizes the player and interacts directly with him, using the DS. It’s also about a kid named Terry, who helps the Professor round up a bunch of power crystals to power his spaceship. And it’s about a terrorist organization with not-so-nefarious intent. And there’s a crazy monkey in it. Everyone likes crazy monkeys.

RPGLand.comWhat exactly is going on in the Deep Labyrinth box art?
Zach MestonNo one knew what the heck was going on with the painfully kiddy Japanese box art, hence our decision to ditch it. Our box uses the key art that was developed for the original cell-phone version of the game, and while it reminds virtually everyone who sees it of “The NeverEnding Story,” it doesn’t cause most people to scream in terror, as did the Japanese packaging.

RPGLand.comList a game in each blank:
Zach Meston“If you liked [King’s Field] and/or [goat cheese] and/or [The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion], you might like Deep Labyrinth.”

“If you liked [Shining Soul] and/or [EarthBound], you might like Contact.” .

RPGLand.comWhat would Matlock say about each of these games?
Zach MestonI don’t know that I should deign to speak for Matlock, given his propensity for suing the crap out of everyone. Wait-am I libeling him by implying that he sues the crap out of everyone? Oh, great! Thanks a lot, RPGland! Thanks for triggering years of financially and emotionally devastating litigation!

RPGLand.comWe’ve seen the touchscreen used for both good and evil, both innovative and forced-in on the DS. In what ways does each of these games involve the DS’s lower screen?
Zach MestonThey both use the Touch Screen for good instead of evil. You use the Control Pad to move your character in Deep Labyrinth, but everything else is via the Touch Screen. As for Contact, you can use the Control Pad and action buttons if you like, or drive the entire game via the Touch Screen. It’s lovely.
RPGLand.comOkay…be completely honest…none of this PR “They’re both 100% perfect and I can’t love one more than the other!” stuff…which game do YOU like better, and why?
Zach MestonHonestly, I love them equally, but for different reasons. Deep Labyrinth is a very good dungeon-crawler with gorgeous music, and Contact is a great action/RPG with a wonderful old-school vibe.

I will freely admit that Contact is a funnier game, thanks in no small part to project lead/localization superstar/Metal Gear whore Tomm Hulett, the guy behind our totally rockin’ English versions of Shin Megami Tensei and Trauma Center.

RPGLand.comAnd do you think that one will sell better as well, or do you think the masses will feel differently than you on this matter?
Zach MestonContact has more buzz because of its ties to Suda 51 and its EarthBound vibe, so I expect it’ll sell better. Not that Deep Labyrinth will sell poorly; it’s just more of a genre game.

RPGLand.comIf MacGyver’s house were being invaded by terrorists (and let’s face it, this scenario is inevitable), how would he use these games to fend them off?
Zach MestonIt’s a little-known fact that DS Game Cards are filled with volatile chemical compounds that can be easily combined with household cleaners to form powerful explosives. Of course, Mac Daddy would have to destroy the Cards he used in the process of making his Taliban-toasting bombs, so he’d look over his DS collection for a few moments before deciding to sacrifice Lunar: Dragon Song and Elf Bowling 1 & 2. I mean, he was going to trade them into EB for two bucks each, anyway.

A hearty totonka thanks is in order for Zach Meston for talking to us about these two games. Deep Labyrinth will be released on August 8, and Contact will follow in September.


  • Deep Labyrinth website