Released in 2004, Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (not to be confused with a book I already reviewed) was released for the Sony PlayStation 2. At it’s core, it was an enjoyable take on the RPG genre that was a tad more on the traditional side in comparison to the parent brand’s demon wrangling mechanics (think goth Pokemon). The game was built on the premise of an abandoned script for the first SNES/Super Famicon Shin Megami Tensei game (one that involved Jekyll and Hyde styled demon transformations) and was handed over to popular writer Yu Godai.
While Godai worked on creating the setting and got as far as finishing a first draft, she had to leave the project due too health reasons. While most games in that situation are left for fans to wonder “what if…”, we actually get to read her original ideas, as she was granted the ability to create a novelization of her original ideas somehow. And here we are, reading volume one of Quantum Devil Saga. In saying that, this game is fairly divorced from a lot of the terms and ideas seen in the ATLUS RPG series, as ATLUS had little to nothing to actually do with this production. For all intents and purposes, this is an entirely new IP and should be thought of as such.
The story follows a group of soldiers in a seemingly endless battle against other tribes for supremacy of their world. Sadly, this world appears to be a post-apocalyptic Hellscape simply referred to as The Junkyard. These warring tribes vie to unify the six territories and thus gain entrance to Nirvana, the promised land. This whole ordeal is watched over by the Church, a religious order that decides the rules of this bleak world. Serph is the leader of the small but intrepid Embryon tribe, which consists of him, the tribe’s core members, and a handful of foot soldiers.
All of the sudden, this stable yet terrifying system is upended when a mysterious object appears in the Junkyard wreaking havoc on the balance of the war, it incites a battle between the Embryon tribe and the rival Vanguards. In the aftermath of this firefight, Serph discovers a mysterious girl named Sera, and finds that he and his closest warriors have gained the ability to transform into powerful demons. The Embryon must adapt to these developments and try to understand their meaning as the balance of power begins to shift in the Junkyard.
This book is a solid re-imagining of the original games. Luckily, it sounds like this could be part one of a five part series, so we may be blessed with many more volumes if this sells well. Translations of Japanese light novels (sort of like YA books here) have only recently started getting translated on a wide basis here, so supporting this could mean that we get translations of other books related to Shin Megami Tensei. This book does diverge quite a bit from the games story, so this is NOT a novelization – it’s like an alternate timeline. If you are a fan of these games, or like weird science fiction, in general, I’d recommend trying to snag a copy. It’s well worth a read. At this point, a second volume is also available, but I have yet to read it – maybe soon!
If you are interested in this book CLICK HERE
Or Volume 2 CLICK HERE