Interview with Gail Salamanca Marketing Manager for Atlus U.S.A., Inc.

Q: First off, could you please introduce yourself for our visitors?

A: Hey there! My name is Gail Salamanca, the Marketing Manager for Atlus U.S.A., Inc. I've been with the company for about 9 years (virtually unheard of in the videogame industry) and the industry as a whole for about 10. I started out in the industry as a tester for Virgin Interactive Entertainment in Irvine until they went under. I then hopped on board with Atlus U.S.A., Inc. for Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre for the PSOne as a tester/editor. Over the years I eventually learned about the phases of production and publishing

Q: What would you suggest for others that are interested in getting a job in the video game industry?

A: The easiest way to get your foot in the door is to get a job in QA and work your way up from there. The only caveat to that is the waiting list to move into other positions beyond QA is a mile long, so expect to spend some time in the QA dept.

If you're looking to be an artist, programmer, game designer nothing beats a good education in those fields. So, stay in school!

At Atlus, we're always looking for good translators and editors. So fluency in both languages, as well as an English degree certainly helps.

Also, it doesn't hurt to have someone on the inside too.

Q: Could you tell us about some current projects that are being worked on?

A: This year, we're finally bringing our flagship RPG series from Atlus Japan; Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga, both due for release in the fall and winter respectively for the PlayStation 2. SMT: Nocturne is actually the third game in the series and the version that we're bringing out here is based on the special edition "director's cut" that features a guest appearance from one of videogaming's most popular character's, Dante from Capcom's Devil May Cry series.

SMT: Digital Devil Saga (DDS for short) is a spin off from the original SMT series, much like what the Persona series is. The games may feature common themes i.e. demons, but SMT: DDS features an entirely new storyline and game system. SMT aficionados will also notice that the demon negotiation system which has played a large part in the game system of previous games is noticeably absent. Instead of relying on random demons that you recruit into your party the developers have opted for a more traditional party system to allow for a more cohesive story and emotional investment with the characters. In this game, your characters are the demons that have the unique ability to switch between their human and demon forms. You'll have to choose depending on who/what you're fighting as every monster has specific weaknesses to different types of attacks. Leveling up is also handled a little bit differently here as you'll have to devour other demons to gain different powers. In any event, nobody should miss these two very unique entries into the PS2 RPG library.

We are also releasing our first Xbox games this fall with Galleon and Pro Fishing Challenge. As you may know, Galleon comes from Toby Gard, the creator of Lara Croft. Although it's been in development for what seems like forever it will definitely be worth the wait. Pro Fishing Challenge is our Xbox Live capable fishing game and has been regarded by some as the most realistic simulation of fishing out there.

Rounding out our line-up this year is ChoroQ for the PS2, a fun title which we've dubbed a CAR-PG as it combines some very wacky racing as well as a cool storyline and role playing elements. We also have Phantom Brave in August; the follow-up to last years hit Strategy/RPG, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.

Pick out the Nazi in this picture >_< ^_^

Q: What was your opinion of E3 this year in comparision to others?

A: My personal opinion is that with every passing E3 it's turning more and more into a circus rather than a place where to conduct business. Although, its great to see all the cool stuff that's coming out it seems that there are a lot more consumers on the floor than people in the industry. I know that it's effectiveness, as far as the business and the media is being held in question, so it should be interesting to see what companies do next year.

Q: What if anything stood out at E3?

A: Well, the PSP and DS, were probably the standouts at the show as any new hardware usually is. There are a lot of sequels out there, some good some bad and online gaming seems to be making a big push too. Let's just hope that innovation doesn't die with the next-generation of games.