Shin Megami Tensei MMO lawsuit aims for fans

And with it, we continue to question the state of game preservation.

A long 15 years ago, Shin Megami Tensei once had an MMORPG. That MMO was Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, released in 2007 for PC. Despite its critical acclaim, the servers came to a close back in 2014 in the West and 2016 in Japan. Fans didn’t quite want to let go of the game and ended up bringing it back by their own accord. Now, Atlus strikes back with a lawsuit against those fans.

Shin Megami Tensei MMO has to die, says Atlus

In 2020,  Rekuiemu and COMP_Hack revived the dead Shin Megami Tensei MMO to make unofficial fan servers. The fan server, ReImagine, served to launch the original game so fans could continue enjoying it.

However, that came to an end with the lawsuit. Atlus’ lawsuit originally filed in December 2021, but only recently gained more traction by summoning those two fan creators to court. In the court documents, Atlus states that ReImagine and its creators “have caused and will continue to cause irreparable damage to Atlus unless restrained by this Court.”

The ReImagine team released a statement on Discord regarding Atlus’ actions:

We were recently informed that one of our ‘competitors’ was served a court filing, and that Atlus is currently seeking legal action against them and the COMP_Hack team. While ReImagine hasn’t been served any sort of notice (that we know of), Atlus’s decision to outright sue instead of issue a C&D has made us worry about the safety of the users who helped keep the game alive

Atlus now seeks the complete shutdown of ReImagine as well as $25,000 per violation decided by the court. Whether or not they will be successful in this is yet to be seen.

The state of game preservation

With Atlus striking out at people seemingly only wanting to keep a game they love alive, it returns us to the question of game preservation. Back in the day, I remember using a hack to keep playing The Last Story multiplayer on the Wii after Nintendo shut down their services. (And, bonus points to you if you know the game I’m talking about, because it’s severely underrated.) The point being, I loved that game and the servers, so much so I was willing to hack my Wii for it! It wasn’t out of malicious intent, it was to keep playing something that brought me joy.

So, just like my love for The Last Story, the Shin Megami Tensei MMO fans really just wanted to keep playing their game. Obviously Atlus’ concerns are understandable, as it is their product and they couldn’t moderate something unofficial. However, they could easily have sent a cease and desist rather than taking them straight to court.

Is it really such a crime to fine people for loving your content? The question may not be as clear cut as we want it to be, but it is a difficult one.

You can read the full Atlus lawsuit here.

Erin Vieira

Writer, artist, cosplayer, D&D player, Final Fantasy lover, and Bayonetta enthusiast Erin Vieira says that although they were born amongst mortals, someday they will exist as an unknown entity of the void. There will still be video games there, of course.
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