Japanese game developer Atlus may be well-known in the RPG community nowadays for their “Persona” games, but they have also been hard at work reminding these gamers that “Persona” was originally a spinoff of their darker, more mature-themed series “Shin Megami Tensei.” The latest main installment of that franchise has recently attracted the attention of the company’s fans in the Philippines and the global Filipino diaspora. That is because “SMT V” is apparently the first entry to include a Filipino supernatural creature, the Manananggal. While introduced two weeks ago as game art, the Manananggal finally made its debut this week as a featured “SMT V” demon in an introductory video.
IGN reports that Atlus has released a new video feature on YouTube showcasing the Philippine Manananggal as a new addition to the in-game Demon bestiary of “Shin Megami Tensei V.” Said video has a short narration with a basic description of the Manananggal according to lore consulted by Atlus, along with game footage of the creature, designed by Atlus artist Masayuki Doi, in action. The sight of the originally-stationary art for the Manananggal being in motion has captured the imagination of commenters online, including plenty of very impressed Filipino gamers.
The Atlus brief on the Manananggal as it appears on “SMT V” is as follows: It is described as a witch, living in the island province of Siquijor in the Philippines, which arguably fits the profile. The narration also describes its ability to detach its upper body from the lower at the waist, to then sprout wings and fly through the night, attacking humans by sucking up their blood and internal organs through her long tongue. Accompanying gameplay shows the Manananggal as a Demon roaming the game world and encountering the player character “Nahobino,” then depicted as a recruited character using her tongue in the “Sanguine Drain,” damaging an enemy Demon while healing her HP.
Also shown is a gameplay segment where Nahobino is verbally interacting with the Manananggal in traditional “SMT” Demon negotiation mechanic. The female Demon teases Nahobino by offering to let him touch her, with Nahobino selecting (from three given options) to refuse her entreaty. In response, the Manananggal assures him that she just wants to give him pointers in kissing, but her planned demonstration, which involves tearing Nahobino’s head off, is a grim reminder that she is still a flesh-eating Demon.
Manananggal as interpreted by Atlus for “Shin Megami Tensei V” has again piqued the interest of Pinoy gamers due to this video, which is ironic considering few dedicated video-gamers in the country could probably afford or avail of a Nintendo Switch, the only system the game will be released on, this coming November 12 worldwide.
Image courtesy of Reddit