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Shin Megami Tensei Online: IMAGINE

女神転生IMAGINE プレミアムパッケージ (Premium Package)
Official Website:
Official Developer Journal:
Japanese Release: 2007
Retail Price: ¥ 5,229 (or a free version for download)

Backstory Into the Present

Shin Megami Tensei Online has gone through a rather tumultuous development period. As the first Megaten title in MMORPGs form, there was a certain amount of anxiety attached to it. Early news on the title was scarce. It was believed that the game somehow grew out of the original online plans for Shin Megami Tensei Nine (a Japanese Xbox exclusive title) that were later dropped. Whether or not this was true, the game initially creeped up for the PC quite a while back in 2004.

At some point in this stage of development, the game was in some sort of playable form. Screens crept out and it made an appearance at at least one Japanese trade show. Even a video card was released with SMT Online related imagery emblazoned on its packaging. Early buzz for the game, however, really felt like anything but positive. The small amount of screen shots most people would see were not impressive, appearing largely barren and generic. Information on a closed beta test for this version of the title was extremely scarce, but apparently ended on January 30th, 2005 according to RPGFan (via Game Watch). As time went on, news on the title seemed to die off completely.

shin megami tensei online imagine in 2004

Many months later, on July 13, 2005, the game was given new life. It was revealed that Japanese developer, Cave, would be forming a new subsidiary. This new company would be known as Cave Online Entertainment. This new company's president was to be existing Cave president Keiichi Takano, while former Atlus director Hideo Yoyokama was to serve as vice president. The company came into existance days later on July 15th.

Cave Online Entertainment announced that it would be working on three titles, one of which would be Shin Megami Tensei Online: IMAGINE. Yoyokama would be acting as director of the project and the team itself was made up of many former Atlus employees. It seemed the game was back to life, but what was being kept from the initial phases of the project was anyone's guess. Was it scrapped? Were certain components being kept around? Was what was in the works just an evolution of the previous code?

As time went on, small bits and pieces came out about the title. Cave put up a short Flash video on their website that showed off concept art for the title. was registered, largely acting as a placeholder at the time. Eventually a Developer Journal was added to the site. It saw semi-frequent updates, many including concept art, photos of the development process and so forth.

On July 14th, 2006, Cave Online Entertainment issued a press release about the title. It stated a couple of interesting items about the game: First, it would be using network middleware from Community Engine (also known as CE-Labs), called VCE. Second, beta testing for the title would begin some time in the Winter of 2006.

Website Unveiling

On July 24th, 2006, Cave Online Entertainment opened up the official website for Shin Megami Tensei Online: IMAGINE. It unveiled the first details on the story of the game, the character creation process, demon fusions and so forth. A new batch of in-game screens from the latest version were also released (although one had been present on the Developer Journal for quite a while). They were a departure from previous screens released during 2004/2005, further pushing the point that this seemed to be a restart for the title.

Extremely Basic Story Information

Tokyo was destroyed in 202X (essentially sticking it between SMT and SMT II). The survivors, under the guidance of seven wisemen, begin the construction of a massive tower. This tower is to be known as Shinjuku Babel and will be massive in construction.

shin megami tensei online imagine map

Other areas surrounding the tower include Nakano and Suginami. The game itself starts in an area known as "3rd Home", which appears to be near the tower itself.

General Gameplay Information

Shin Megami Tensei Online: IMAGINE retains a lot of the qualities more recent Megaten games are known for. Graphically, the game uses a texture style similar to Digital Devil Saga and SMT: Nocturne, giving it an almost animated feel that nicely replicates Kazuma Kaneko's artwork for the series. It also appears to use a glow/haze effect, similar to the one in place within Nocturne, although a bit more polished in execution.

Like most MMORPGs, players are required to create a player character, or avatar. Players choose between male or female forms. They are then allowed to alter the appearance of their character in a manner they deem fit, by trying out different face and hair combinations. Beyond this, as the character progresses, the player will happen upon more than 200 different kinds of clothes and accessories. In addition, the game contains a multitude of weapons, including blades, blunt melee weapons, spears and guns.

As far as demons are concerned, the player will be followed by their companions onscreen. The game retains demon conversations and demon fusions. Alignment characteristics also return, being divided up into "Law", "Chaos" and "Neutral". The site itself also mentions something known as the "Gene System", although I am not sure of what this involves just yet.

shin megami tensei online imagine 2006

The battle system, unlike other titles in the series, but befitting of an online title, is completely in real time. Like many other games of its type, this largely involves actvating icons that represent actions. This may include attacks, spells or item usage.

Beta Test and Release

Atlus's Beta Test for the title came and went. While it was obviously Japanese focused, it was possible for people to create accounts to test the title from anywhere in the world. There were small amounts of fans from outside the country that gave the limited Open Beta a try. This is likely where any English impressions of the title you have read will come from and what our Play Guide is based upon.

In 2007 the game released in stores for Windows XP and Vista in Japan. The game does not appear to have a monthly fee associated with it, but rather allows users to use real world money to purchase certain items in the game. This is a method that has been increasingly seen as a viable alternative to traditional monthly fees and we'll likely be seeing more of it elsewhere in the future.

Its chances of hitting the rest of the world, unfortunately, are basically zero. It is unlikely Atlus, or really any company, will be willing to translate a title of this magnitude and handle its servers. In addition, in Japan the game itself appears to have gotten a rather lukewarm reception. Amazon user reviews for the title average 2 out of 5. It's unlikely (a better word is "impossible") that any company involved will find it to be a worthwhile endeavor.

Sources: NeoGAF, RPGFan, Famitsu, Megaten Online

© Tony

the following archival materials may not reflect the present policies of and are not subject to change

20 Responses to “Shin Megami Tensei Online: IMAGINE”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    so yeah… beta testing for the english version from aeria games is going on right now… and it’s pretty damn good… it plays a bit like that newest .hack game… with maybe a little bit of a fantasy star universe feel stuck in, only the good parts though.

  2. username -bizutt Says:

    I just came across a review that IGN had on their page about this game. As far as I can tell, it seems like the game has just started implementing “cash shop” items and have special events that are run.

    Before I go a little too into this, I have brushed up and found a lot of useful information, and yet, have not been able to get some exact information from current players or from old Persona players.

    I am actually curious to know whether or not these special events coincide with special demons or monsters that will be roaming throughout the zones. If so, what would these happen to be and what would the benefit of them be?

    The other big thing that hit my curiosity was the “cash shop” items. Yes I do know that this is a F2P game and that I really do not need to pay for these items, but, how handy are they is more of what I am after. Do a lot of them benefit me a lot in game while others are really great for showing off?

    Any information and feedback on this would be handy to me and to others that are seeking the same answers. And if there are any items that can be shown, they would be great to see! :D

  3. Digital Devil Database Says:

    The way it works with CAVE’s game (served from Japan) …each week is a new event more or less — coinciding with a weekly update / maintenance.

    Typically events consist of a new costume or some such and a change up of the cash shop lottery. Beyond these basic characteristics however there is no real limit for the parameters of each weekly event. Regarding Aeria’s setup specifically, only time will tell. But it will be interesting to see how closely Aeria’s game coincides with CAVE’s, and just how Aeria plans to desciminate the many items IMAGINE offers strictly via these events.

    We hope to have thorough coverage of everything very soon. But for now please hang out in the Megami Tensei Online IMAGINE forums for more in-depth answers to your questions ;D

  4. DrgoFx Says:

    I am playing this game now and it is very good for starting out. You are a DB (Demon Buster) who is in futuristic Tokyo, and you fight the demons from another world. Your trainer is brutally killed as you both fight a powerful demon (which turns out to be extremely weak later on). You are then recruted to a facility and start learning further there. I basic thing about the game, Survive, Fight, and controll demons! Like RuneScape, you can be any class at any time, but you are warnned that there are stats so suggested you stick to your class…There is a Fighter, who control the axe, spear, and sword, where has the gunners controll all shooting weapons. The Mages use magic but melee weapons are daggers and club objects, such as a giant glowing stick, hoorah! There are over 200 demons to collect in the game so far, they are still updating though. The most famous is the Cerberus who you get from your original partner and the Garm, who you get at lvl 9 by fusing or a Brave Garm (much better) From your second trainer, Snakeman…there are plenty of different demons but you will find out for yourself…

  5. DesaMaria Says:

    Ive been playing this game for a while I feel like the cash shop item are more to show off than any thing else I have the cross shot and felt that the plasma rifle even though has 3 less stat point is a better gun. Oh Try fusing demons together you get some pretty good ones.

  6. kamikazikyle Says:

    omg desamaria u where in my clan varsity loloolololololololololololololol

  7. Raimaru Says:

    I have played this game for only a week but I have been loving it! It is the best “free” online game I have played (and I was already starting to give up hope!). So, all you people who cannot/will not pay the annoying monthly fees of WoW, try Shin Megami Tensei online! It kicks *ss!

  8. DesaMaira Says:

    Yea It kicks *ss until you finish the acts.
    Then just runs and helping the newcomers.
    Yea Its a good game but some of the clans lets just say watch what you get into.
    Varsity was ok cept a few Aholes Kami knows what I’m talking bout.

    Dragunov Best Gun Ever!

    If ya Ever See me drop a line IGN DesaMaria GEARS For Life AROOO!

  9. yksehtniycul Says:

    FYI: I’ve been working on a new up-to-date IMAGINE page for some time now. It’s still difficult to say when it will be ready for an official publishing, but for the meantime it may be found in the “under construction” pages here(

  10. raimaru Says:

    lol this game id kinda stupid after i became a gm

  11. dfghuytrszxcvbj Says:

    i think so too it kinda sucks after like lvl 30

  12. needhelp Says:

    man how do u get the bloody dragunov ill do anything plz help

  13. DesaMaria Says:

    Anything? Hmmm… No! Be A Good Girl…

    They Can Actually Be Made. The Are Hard To Make Every Once In A While You’ll See One In A Shop For Like 700k Mine Was A Gift From My Old GEARS Clan. I Had Considered Selling it but now I cant Part with it.
    Hadnt played since febuary but now im back. So much has changed The now have a PVP system for lvl 30+ only.

    Man I want to be a GM.

    kamikazikyle do you still even play? Or Have You Had Enough Of Odin Spear?

    They Put 1000 Ap In My Account.

  14. AutumnRose Says:

    Desa Here Lost Ma Old Account In Oct Now I Got A New One
    See Me In Game Feel Free To Say Hi IGN AutumnRose

    The Rambus SVD aka Dragunov Are Like 100k Now…
    Man I Paid 700k For One And Bought The Second For 100k…
    I Quit The Game For A While And Now Im Back
    I Lost A Lot Of Good Firends…Holow,Kami,Cura,Shadow…lots more…(sorry guys)

    Hoping One Day You See This And Come Back… Ill Be In CH4….Babel…

    Oh I Dont Want To Be A GM Or Gs….

  15. markeor Says:

    i have a prablem with this game it says that i’m updataing the wrong version

  16. markeor Says:

    every time i up data a new 1 it says that there is a miss match with data

  17. LisaMMO Says:

    Love this game I wrote a review of it here

  18. BlueStar109 Says:

    Yea i played the game a lot and so far I’m level 39, almost time for inexperienced surt and all. Since I just became a Dd i found out some interesting stuff, like when fighting trolls and your melee, don’t you notice that after your done attacking trolls they hit you afterwords. Well i redid my status along time ago, and i had like 18 speed, and I killed trolls easy before level 19. Apparently i was alot better at fighting to i killed a virtue at level 25 when i had alot of speed, now since i redid my status im stronger but way slower for attacks. So how do i raise my speed without using my regular points from leveling up.

  19. KamoraKun Says:

    @BlueStar109 Speed affects longrange damage it doesnt effect the speed in with you fight. Strenght affects melee damage and magic increase spel damagel. all battle speed is the same for everyone unless you have equips that reduce incartation/cooldown time.

  20. Sports betting sites Says:

    Sports betting sites…

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