Atlus made headlines early this morning when it announced that Catherine: Full Body, a remake of 2011’s Catherine, would be coming in the future; featuring a new love interest, several extra scenes and online functionality.
It was a pretty straightforward announcement that shouldn’t have left much up to the imagination, but it appears that it has for one odd reason: the upcoming remake is also coming to the PlayStation Vita.
Soon after Catherine: Full Body was revealed, it didn’t take long for people to question why it was coming to the PS Vita, with statements such as this that can be found on Twitter or various sites where the news first broke.
Of course, it’s obvious why people have taken up such a stance: the Nintendo Switch.
It’s no secret that the PlayStation Vita has been struggling for years now, with Sony and mainstream developers quickly abandoning it after AAA series like Borderlands and Uncharted didn’t pan out. Now, its library is composed almost entirely of indie titles, as well as Japanese RPGs and visual novels.
However, that niche is being threatened thanks to the arrival of the Switch earlier this year. Not only are indie developers starting to migrate to the console in droves, but it is even more versatile than the PlayStation Vita. Hell, it is even starting to appeal to Japanese developers, who are starting to port their titles such as Disgaea 5 and Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon to the Switch as well.
As you might recall, the PS Vita was initially advertised as a handheld that could seamlessly play PlayStation 3 games while on the go and then users could pick up from where they left off on their console when they got back home. If this description sounds familiar then that’s because this is exactly what the Nintendo Switch does. The important difference between the two is that as opposed to the Switch which has earned Nintendo universal praise, Sony had to issue payments in 2015 due to the Vita not working as advertised.
With all these facts taken together, it’s clear that many view the Switch as a replacement for the Vita and believe Catherine: Full Body would be better off on a “superior” system.
But those who made such conclusions ignored one key factor: America isn’t Japan.
Such a distinction seems obvious, but it’s an incredibly important (and often overlooked) one. As evidenced by the games that we often get from niche developers, the Japanese have different sensibilities than those held by people in other parts of the world; and a prime example of that can be seen in gaming. The Japanese are notorious for their love of handheld and mobile games, but folks in the West prefer home consoles. Similarly, the Xbox One is immensely popular in the West, but is practically dead in Japan.
You can see where I’m going this.
Though the PlayStation Vita has done poorly in the West, it is still doing just fine in Japan. As seen in the picture used below, you’ll notice that the amount of shelf space dedicated to the Vita at various stores in Tokyo mirrors the amount that would be used for home consoles in almost any other region.
Furthermore, it’s not like Japan is sleeping on the Switch anyway: many titles with multi-platform releases get versions on the Switch that make its Vita counterpart look like an absolute joke. In fact, the numbers provided in a previous link here revealed that the Switch is making Nintendo a killing in Japan.
So, yes, it sucks that Catherine: Full Body isn’t coming to the Switch, but it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s coming to the Vita. The Switch, though successful, hasn’t even been out for a year and people are still migrating. Meanwhile, the Vita is an established handheld that has been around for years.
The bottom line is that the handheld is doing well enough in Japan for Atlus to justify releasing the remake on it.