Major Shin Megami Tensei Artist Leaving Atlus After 35 Years

A prominent illustrator for Atlus’ long-running Shin Megami Tensei series announces he is parting ways with the developer after 35 years.

Major Shin Megami Tensei Artist Leaving Atlus After 35 Years


  • Kazuma Kaneko, the iconic "Demon Artist" of Atlus, is parting after 35 years, leaving a legacy of dark and eye-catching demon designs.
  • Kaneko is venturing to create his own IP with Colopl.
  • While his departure may shift the art direction of future games, his influence will likely linger.

Beloved Shin Megami Tensei character and monster designer Kazuma Kaneko announced he was parting with Atlus after 35 years as the developer's prominent "Demon Artist." Kaneko has been with Atlus since 1988 and is renowned for his illustrations of mythical creatures originating from cultures all over the world. Recently, the Shin Megami Tensei artist announced he was leaving Atlus.

Kaneko is widely credited for his influence on Atlus' JRPG series. The illustrator not only worked as the character designer for many of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise's iconic demons but also as one of the visionaries who molded the world of the franchise and several of its popular spin-offs, such as the beloved Persona series and the cult classic Devil Summoner games. While Kaneko notably designed many human characters throughout his career and cultivated a reputation for his interest in modern fashion, he is particularly known for his dark yet eye-catching demon designs, which were often based on real-world cultures and historical artifacts.

Many fans acknowledged that Kaneko's unique art style has been huge for the Shin Megami Tensei series and its spin-offs, so it might have come as a surprise when the illustrator announced his departure from Atlus during a creator interview with Colopl. During the talk, the Demon Artist claimed he had been planning on changing studios since 2023 and even hired a job change agent to help him with the transition.

Kaneko did not go in-depth on his reasons for leaving after spending over three decades working on Shin Megami Tensei, only explaining that he wanted to take a chance and create an IP he could call his own. He has since joined Colopl's development team and has begun work on a brand-new franchise, though Kaneko also notably refrained from revealing further details regarding his unnamed project.

Kazuma Kaneko's Influence on Shin Megami Tensei

While Atlus' renowned Demon Artist might no longer be involved with the company, his influence as one of the designers of the dark and gritty world of the Shin Megami Tensei series will likely linger in future games and spin-offs. Longtime fans can also take heart in knowing that Kaneko's legacy can still be felt through his protege, Shigenori Soejima, who remains with Atlus and is currently working on the upcoming mobile spin-off game Persona 5: The Phantom X.

It remains to be seen how Kaneko's departure might affect the development of future Shin Megami Tensei titles. On the one hand, this might let comparatively younger artists push the series' iconic designs. On the other, there's always a chance that the franchise might lose a vital part of its identity and art style without a veteran illustrator's guidance.

Franchise Shin Megami Tensei Platform(s) Android , Sega Genesis Mini , iOS Released October 30, 1992 Developer(s) Atlus , Sega Publisher(s) Sega Genre(s) JRPG

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