In 2007, Atlus released the MMORPG Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine. After nine years, in 2016, the company closed SMT Imagine. Years later, fans of the game decided to revive it and let others play it again. Now, Atlus is suing them. Read on to learn more about the ongoing legal battle between Atlus and the fans behind the SMT Imagine private server.
How SMT started: Imagine
In 2006, Atlus released Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine as a free to play MMORPG set in post-apocalyptic Tokyo. Players take control of a Demon Buster, people who explore the land with their demon allies. These Demon Busters are based in Shinjuku Babel, a towering city center. Players can play alone or in a group with others, just like other MMORPGs. Although the game is free to play, microtransactions allow players to purchase stronger items. This game was critically acclaimed upon release and saw a North American release in 2008, followed by a European release shortly after. The western version of the game closed in 2014, followed by the Japanese version in 2016.
SMT: imagine private servers
Shortly after the Japanese servers shut down, work on the private servers began in full. One such private server, run by Rekuiemu Games and COMP_Hack, started in late 2020. These servers had no microtransactions, and the developers do not accept donations from their players. Another private server is the ReImagine Online server, which we’ll come back to later.
Damn, wait, this wasn’t a joke at all. Atlus is really suing the Imagine fan server. pic.twitter.com/UBeoobSlTF
— Marsh (@MarshSMT) September 26, 2022
The lawsuit against the owners of the private server was filed on December 28, 2021 for copyright infringement. Atlus stated that this fan project “caused and will continue to cause irreparable harm to Atlus unless restrained by this Court.” One of his main claims was that the fan server blatantly copied the original website and that Rekuiemu added his own copyright information in addition to Atlus, Sega, and Cave Interactive on the website. The case has become so big that Rekuiemu and COMP_Hack have been summoned to appear in court. Atlus is seeking $25,000 per violation, as well as an undetermined amount for damages suffered.
After this, the ReImagine Online server also shut down their servers, even if Atlus did not contact them. This was to protect the people behind the game, seeing as how Atlus chose to sue rather than serve a cease and desist order first.
I am devastated to learn that Imagine is now permanently offline.
It was one of my Pandemics games, the fan base was passionate and now walks a bit to become lost media.
It’s a sad chapter for the Megaten fanbase. But thanks to the Re:Imagine team for everything you’ve done! https://t.co/S8ejtxHul8 pic.twitter.com/vp2lLwx8Cs
— Devil Summoner Blaze #SoulHackers2 (@LiusBlaze) September 26, 2022
Private servers are not new to the MMORPG community. Many MMORPGs that were shut down by their developers were kept alive by fans who loved the games. If Atlus wins this lawsuit, it could change the MMORPG private server scene. We will inform you in case of new news about the situation.
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