Catherine (video game)

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Catherine
Catherine Cover Art.png
Uncensored PlayStation 3 cover art, featuring the titular Catherine and main protagonist Vincent.
Developer(s) Atlus
Publisher(s)
Distributor(s)
  • AU: QV Software
Director(s) Katsura Hashino
Producer(s) Katsura Hashino
Designer(s) Kazuhisa Wada
Programmer(s) Yujiro Kosaka
Artist(s) Shigenori Soejima
Writer(s) Katsura Hashino
Yuichiro Tanaka
Azusa Kido
Akira Akimine
Composer(s) Shoji Meguro
Engine Gamebryo
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s)
  • JP: February 17, 2011
  • NA: July 26, 2011
  • EU: February 10, 2012
  • AU: February 23, 2012
Genre(s) Puzzle platformer, adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Catherine (Japanese: キャサリン Hepburn: Kyasarin?) is a puzzle platformer adventure video game developed by Atlus for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The first Atlus title for high-definition consoles, the game released in 2011 in Japan and North America, and 2012 in other regions. Atlus published the title in Japan and North America, while it was released in PAL territories by Deep Silver. The story follows Vincent Brooks, a man who is beset by supernatural nightmares while torn between his feelings for longtime girlfriend Katherine and the similarly-named beauty Catherine. The gameplay is divided between daytime hours, where Vincent interacts with the characters, and his dreams where he must navigate three-dimensional tower puzzles. The game's ending is affected by moral choices made by Vincent over the course of the story.

Catherine was developed by the same team behind the Persona series, beginning production on the game alongside polishing for Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 in 2008. Multiple staff from the Persona series were involved; Katsura Hashino produced and directed, Shigenori Soejima was art director and character designer, and the music was composed by a team led by Shoji Meguro. The aim was to create something different from the Persona series aimed at an adult audience. The localization was handled by Atlus USA, with the English actors being allowed to adlib some lines. Reception was generally positive, with critics praising its mature subject matter and gameplay, despite criticism being directed towards its high difficulty. Several journalists have also commented on its representation of gender stereotypes. Having sold 500,000 units worldwide by the end of 2011, it exceeded sales expectations.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay screenshot of the character Vincent navigating through a Nightmare stage

Catherine is a puzzle platformer[1][2] adventure game[3] in which players control Vincent Brooks, who begins having strange nightmares after his girlfriend, Katherine, begins to talk about marriage and commitment. This matter becomes more complicated for him when he meets a girl named Catherine, and begins an affair with her, and the nightmares get more and more intense.[4] The main story mode, Golden Playhouse, follows the story between Daytime and Nightmare scenarios. During the daytime, Vincent will converse with his friends as well as try to handle his relationships with Catherine and Katherine. Most of this time takes place in the Stray Sheep bar where Vincent can save and send text messages from his mobile phone, talk to customers, order drinks, play a minigame titled Rapunzel or listen to a jukebox containing tracks from other Atlus games such as the Persona series.[5]

The main gameplay takes place in the Nightmare stages. In a nightmarish dreamworld inhabited by other men, who are represented as anthropomorphic sheep, Vincent must climb up giant staircases that are slowly collapsing underneath him and safely reach the top. To accomplish this, Vincent must push, pull and climb blocks as quickly as possible while avoiding various traps such as spikes and ice. Climbing up steps in quick succession increases a score multiplier, and at the end of the level, players are given an award based on their score. Each stage is split up into numerous areas, culminating in a boss stage in which a nightmarish creature also attempts to kill Vincent. Vincent can move faster depending on how much alcohol he drinks during the day and can earn pillows that allow him to retry levels. There are also several items which can be found or purchased in between stages, such as spare blocks, lightning which removes enemies and energy drinks that allow Vincent to climb more steps at a time.[6] Vincent will die if he falls off the bottom of the level, gets caught by a trap or is killed by a boss, with the game ending if Vincent runs out of retry pillows. In between action stages, Vincent can interact with the other sheep, save his game, learn techniques or spend coins on special items. When playing on easy and normal difficulty, players can push the Select/Back button to correct a single block move.[7][8]

Throughout the game, the choices the player makes during certain sections of the game will affect the development of Vincent's character and the route the story takes place. This is represented by a morality meter, which can change in several ways, such as how Vincent types out a text message to one of the girls, how he answers certain questions and how he converses with non-playable characters. The game features multiple endings based on the route Vincent takes, and has over twenty hours of gameplay.[9][10] In addition to the Golden Playhouse mode, Babel Mode features four large stages playable with up to two players, while Vs Colosseum features two players simultaneously playing a stage in order to reach the top first.[11]

Synopsis[edit]

Setting and characters[edit]

Catherine takes place in an undefined North American city. The story is presented through the lens of Golden Playhouse, a television program described as "like a Saturday morning theatre, with a bit of a Twilight Zone vibe".[12] A key location in the game is the Stray Sheep Bar, where the main cast meet up on a regular basis and acting as the stage for the game's major events.[13][14] The story remains the same up to the ending, which varies based upon the choices Vincent has made in both the real world and the Nightmare realm.[12] The plot of Catherine focuses on three main characters:[15]

  • Vincent Brooks (ヴィンセント・ブルックス Vinsento Burukkusu?), the main protagonist, is a 32-year-old systems engineer salaryman, described as in between independence from his family and getting married. A lifelong bachelor, he lacks any kind of ambition and chooses to avoid the problems of adult life such as his career and possible future marriage, wanting to live a bachelor life as long as possible.[15][16] Vincent is voiced by Koichi Yamadera in Japanese,[16] and Troy Baker in English.[17]
  • Catherine (キャサリン Kyasarin?), a 22-year-old beauty who seemingly bumps into Vincent in the bar by accident, and ends up spending the night with him. This encounter, and her continued attempts to romance him, become the catalyst for the game's events. Outwardly Catherine is a playful, seductive and free spirited young woman; in reality, she is a succubus who tempts men for her own ends.[13][15] Catherine is voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro in Japanese,[16] and Laura Bailey in English.[17]
  • Katherine McBride (キャサリン・マクブライド Kyasarin Makuburaido?), a 32-year-old woman who is an old school friend of Vincent's working as an office manager at a clothing manufacturer. Having known each other since high school, Katherine and Vincent meet up again five years prior to the game's events and begin dating. Katherine is trying to push Vincent into marriage, and gets increasingly irritated by his indecisiveness.[15][18] Katherine is voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi in Japanese,[18] and Michelle Ruff in English.[17]

Other characters featured are Erica Anderson (エリカ・アンダーソン Erika Andāson?, voiced by Junko Minagawa/Erin Fitzgerald[14][17]) and Thomas Mutton (トーマス・マトン Tōmasu Maton?, voiced by Norio Wakamoto/Kirk Thornton[19]) or "Master", staff at the Stray Sheep Bar that Vincent frequents.[13][14] Vincent's regular drinking partners at the Stray Sheep Bar are Orlando Haddick (オーランド・ハディック Ōrando Hadikku?, voiced by Hiroaki Hirata/Liam O'Brien[19]), an old friend and divorcee who holds cynical views on marriage; Johnny Ariga (ジョニー・アリガ Jonī Ariga?, voiced by Takehito Koyasu/Travis Willingham[19]), a man whose view is that marriage to a destined partner is ideal; and Toby Nebbins (トビー・ネビンス Tobī Nebinsu?, voiced by Kishō Taniyama/Yuri Lowenthal[19]) a young co-worker of Johnny who is eager to marry and has a crush on Erica.[13][20] The whole experience is introduced by Trisha, known in Japanese as Rue Ishida (石田☆ルウ Ishida Rū?, voiced by Junko Minagawa/Erin Fitzgerald[17][19]), the host of Golden Playhouse who is dubbed the "Midnight Venus".[13][21]

Plot[edit]

Vincent is stalling getting married to Katherine, unwilling to commit and give up his life as a bachelor. One night at the Stray Sheep Bar, a drunken Vincent meets with Catherine, a woman who fulfills his fantasies. He sleeps with her in what he thinks is a one-night stand, but she takes it as a sign of his commitment to her. Faced with the fact that he is cheating on Katherine, Vincent begins being drawn into a Nightmare realm where himself and other men become trapped and must climb towers of interlinked blocks while outrunning terrifying monsters; if they fail, they will die in the real world. The pressure of keeping Catherine and Katherine apart increases when Katherine lies about being pregnant to test him, worsening his visits to the Nightmare. He also encounters others from the Stray Sheep Bar in the Nightmare—Orlando is beset by guilt for driving his wife away after the failure of his business, Johnny is torn between his loyalty to Vincent and unspoken love for Katherine, and Erica is guilty about pulling Toby into a relationship where they cannot have children.[22]

Things come to a head when, after Vincent decides to end the affair with Catherine, she and Katherine apparently meet in Vincent's flat, and in a violent scuffle Catherine is killed. It is revealed to be the Nightmare realm, and Vincent escapes with Katherine. The next day, Katherine—who has retained no knowledge of the Nightmare—breaks off her engagement to Vincent as she feels he cannot face the responsibilities of marriage. Unburdening himself to Orlando, Vincent realizes that no-one else knows about Catherine, and all her messages to him have vanished. Confronting Mutton, the only other person Catherine has spoken to, he learns the truth; "Mutton" is Dumuzid the Shepherd, and Catherine a succubus who aided Mutton in tempting Vincent into taking part in a game to phase out men who would refuse to commit to marriage and family and allow women to find more suitable partners. Vincent agrees to enter the Nightmare of his own will and climb the final tower on the condition that all men would be freed if he succeeds. He successfully navigates the final tower, defeating the Nightmare's master Astaroth.[22] In all the game's endings, Trisha appears and says that the point of Vincent's journey was to determine whether he wanted a steady life or a life of freedom, with the tower being a metaphor for the journey to adulthood.[13]

  • Katherine Ending: In this ending, Vincent has a meeting with Katherine and asks her to take him back. In the bad ending, she refuses and dumps him. In the good ending, Vincent's friends and Mutton reveal Vincent's ordeal, and Katherine forgives him and accepts his proposal of marriage. In the true ending, they are married—Orlando also decides to get back together with his wife, and Erica is revealed to be transgender, explaining her earlier guilt about Toby.[13]
  • Catherine Ending: In this ending, Vincent has Mutton summon Catherine so he can ask her to be his wife. In the bad ending, Catherine refuses. In the good ending, Catherine accepts when Vincent says he is prepared for what he may have to sacrifice. The two live together in Hell despite the objections of Nergal, the King of Hell and Catherine's father. In the true ending, Vincent overthrows Nergal, becoming the King of Hell and ruler of a harem of succubi with Catherine as his queen.[13]
  • Freedom Ending: Vincent decides to live his own life and take his time rather than return to either Katherine or Catherine. Having won the game against Mutton, he demands payment, borrowing a large amount to bet on a wrestling match. In the good ending, Vincent loses the bet. In the true ending, he wins and uses his winnings to help fund his lifelong dream of space tourism.[13]

Another ending is unlocked when the player unlocks the optional "Axis Mundi Babel" challenge level. Golden Playhouse host Trisha breaks the fourth wall, revealing herself to be the goddess Ishtar, with Astaroth having been one of her avatars. The events of Catherine have been a test to find someone worthy to become her consort as she has grown tired of Dumuzid's infidelity. Having completed the "Axis Mundi Babel" challenge, Trish visits the player and, having fallen for them, offers to make them a deity so they can become her consort.[13]

Development[edit]

Catherine was developed by the "2nd Creative Production Department", a team within Atlus who had previously handled development for the Persona series, a subseries within the Megami Tensei franchise.[23][24] Planning for Catherine began while the development team were performing final polishing work for Persona 4 prior to the latter's 2008 release.[24][25] Catherine was the very first title developed by Atlus for high-definition (HD) video game consoles, specifically the PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Xbox 360 (360).[16][25] It used the third-party Gamebryo game engine.[26] While they had the option of developing the title for handheld consoles or mobile devices, Hashino felt that the game would lose its charm on less powerful hardware. Using HD consoles they were able to fully portray the world of Catherine. Despite the shift onto HD consoles making their vision easier to realize, debugging for multiple consoles caused problems that pushed back the planned development schedule.[25] In a 2012 statement, an Atlus staff member said that Catherine was a "difficult" game for the company to make.[27] The game would later be called a "test" for the development of the next Persona title.[24]

The aim with Catherine was to create a game that was not within the role-playing genre as with the majority of Atlus' titles, in addition to making something that was aimed at adults. The main aim was to create something new as a change prior to developing a new role-playing game.[16] The three key staff members were all veterans of the Persona series: director and producer Katsura Hashino had helmed both Persona 3 and Persona 4; art director and character designer Shigenori Soejima had designed characters for both Persona 3 and Persona 4; and composer Shoji Meguro had created music for multiple Megami Tensei titles, including the Persona series. The chief designer was Kazuhisa Wada, while the chief programmer was Yujiro Kosaka.[16][24][28] The initial story was written by Hashino, who originally worked alone on the scenario before other writers were brought on to help.[29] Hashino felt that Catherine was an ambitious title due to its themes and subject matter, saying that no-one but Atlus would have supported the project. The main theme is love between men and women, although in its infancy the project was themed around conflict. In order to make the love triangle between Vincent, Catherine and Katherine sound realistic, he asked other members of Atlus staff for their experiences. One story, where a woman detailed killing people in her dreams, was almost directly referenced within the game.[29]

Soejima, who had mainly worked on the Persona series up to this point, was most focused on making the characters' expressions seem realistic within the context of the story.[16] All the characters were designed around being realistic, with their proportions being more akin to real people rather than stylized figures.[30][31] According to him, he was influenced by the game's themes of instinctual desire intruding into everyday life, the desire for sleep, and the concept of greed. Vincent exemplified these themes.[32] Vincent's character was based on and named after Vincent Gallo, specifically his appearance in the 1998 film Buffalo '66. The younger "Catherine" was designed to be beautiful and youthful when compared to "Katherine", who had an adult charm.[29] The cutscenes were created by anime production studio Studio 4°C.[28] While the Persona games up to that point boasted around half an hour of cutscenes, the number in Catherine came to considerably more. Studio 4 °C spent around a year working on the anime cutscenes.[29]

Meguro began working on the first demo tracks for the game in August 2009. Meguro worked as the main composer, leading a team composed of himself, Kenichi Tsuchiya, Atsushi Kitajoh, and Toshiki Konishi. Kitajoh was the general coordinator and managed sound effects for the action scenes.[33] Meguro did not have much freedom with the project, as Hashino was specific about that he wanted the music to be like. The key words he was given were "classic", "adult oriented" and "erotic".[16] Meguro and his team used multiple genres for the music in Catherine, switching genre depending on the flow of gameplay; action segments used remixes of Classical music, quiet moments used jazz, and the anime cutscenes used strings.[34] Meguro found creating music for the anime cutscenes difficult when compared to earlier projects within the company, as he had to match his music's beat to work by an external company. To help cope Meguro received aid from Tsuchiya, a long-time collaborator on previous cutscene-based pieces.[35] Meguro was highly impressed by both the sound quality compared to his previous work with the company, and the amount of control were was adjusting the relative volume of music and sound effects.[16][35]

Release[edit]

Uncensored Xbox 360 cover art featuring Katherine. The differing covers of the 360 and PS3 versions was intended to catch consumer eyes in stores, and exemplify the contrasting appeal of the two heroines.[36]

Catherine was first announced in August 2010, along with its prospective platforms.[37] Upon its announcement, Catherine proved unexpectedly popular, garnering as much public attention and fan expectation as recent releases in the Persona series.[29] Due to the game's content, Atlus found it difficult to gain their wished-for rating from Japan's CERO ratings board.[25] Beginning from October 2010, Atlus and its then-parent Index Media began a "aggressive" advertising campaign to promote the title in Japan.[38] Catherine released on February 17, 2011.[39] A PS3 demo for the game was released in January, but in early February Atlus pulled the demo, stating that it had achieved the maximum number of planned downloads.[40] Following player complaints about the game's difficulty, Atlus created a patch which added a lower difficulty. The patches for both the PS3 and 360 versions released in March.[41][42] The PS3 version was released in mainland Asia on July 26, 2011, distributed by Softsource. The 360 version was not released in the region due to unspecified coding issues.[43]

Different cover artwork was created by Soejima for the 360 and PS3 versions—the PS3 cover showed Catherine showing off her cleavage, while the 360 cover had Katherine lying on her front showing her behind. Soejima was originally told by Hashino to create covers that would catch people's eyes in stores; the different cover arts for different versions was chosen as they felt it would be interesting. The two characters were originally going to be in identical, near-naked poses. This was changed due to the character's different charms, which it was felt would be lost if they were posed in such a way. Soejima went through multiple cover designs, with one being the two characters holding different cutlery utensils. Hashino had little involvement beyond his initial instruction, but did ask that more of Katherine's back be shown in the image. The covers exemplified each character's contrasting appeal: Catherine's cleavage showed off her youthful beauty, while displaying Katherine's behind was meant to evoke her more motherly charms.[36] This artwork was used for retail posters, but Atlus also created alternate artwork for stores that wanted something less risque.[21]

Catherine was initially not planned for a Western release.[44] After an initial leak through listings on EB Games and Gamestop, Atlus USA confirmed that Catherine would be released in North America.[45] Atlus USA initially had difficulty persuading mainstream stores like Target and Walmart to take Catherine due to its suggestive cover art and marketing calling it an "adult" title, which was mostly associated with erotic games not sold in such stores. To convince them that the game was suitable for mainstream stores, Atlus USA put together a film reel of clips from triple-A games those stores did sell that featured more explicit content than Catherine. They did not say what games they used for the samples so as not to embarrass either the developers or retailers. When they met the retailer representatives, they showcased the film and pointed out that Catherine had none of that content, before showing off the most explicit scenes in the game to prove their point. The retailers were convinced and allowed Catherine to be sold in mainstream stores, and were also convinced into looking through their stocks as concerns were raised due to the film showcasing other games' erotic content.[46] As with the Japanese version, Atlus used alternate covers for the 360 and PS3 versions. In addition, they created alternate versions of those covers that toned down the suggestive elements for stores catering to more sensitive consumers.[47] Catherine released in North America on July 26, 2011.[48] In addition to the standard edition, a special limited "Love is Dead" edition was created for both PS3 and 360.[49]

Though initial statements from Atlus said that Catherine would not be released in Europe,[50] its release in the region was leaked through a rating for the 360 version in Germany.[51] Its official release was confirmed in a press release from Atlus shortly after the leak. The title was published by Deep Silver across all PAL territories, and featured written language support for English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian. Deep Silver was chosen as the publisher as they shared Atlus' enthusiasm about the game.[52] Catherine released in Europe on February 10, 2012.[53] As with North America, the PS3 and 360 versions had a limited special edition. Called the "Stray Sheep Edition" after a central location in the game, it had differing content to the North American edition.[54] In Australia, the title was distributed by QV Software.[55] The PS3 version released on February 16,[56] while the 360 version released on February 23.[57]

Localization[edit]

A 34-year-old man with spiky blonde hair, smiling at something to the left of the camera.
A 34-year-old woman with long, brown hair, smiling at someone to the right side the camera.
Troy Baker (left) and Laura Bailey (right) were the respective English voices for Vincent and Catherine. Describing the localization as a positive experience, they were free to adlib with their respective characters.[58][59]

The game was localized for the West by Atlus USA, who had previously handled many of the company's earlier titles.[17] Main localization staff included editors Mike Meeker and Clayton S. Chan; and quality assurance staff Scott Williams, Jonathon Reinhold, Kourtnie McKenzie, Allie Doyon and Charles Chaikaew.[60] Compared to previous Atlus titles, which had focused on Japanese culture, Atlus USA had comparatively little work adjusting things for a Western audience as the game was set within a North American city environment. Their main issue was with the dialogue, which was meant to be naturalistic despite some tongue in cheek dialogue, alongside jokes and references that needed adjusting so they would make sense to a Western audience. According to the localizers, the problem "[wasn't] translating the definition, it's translating the intent".[12] A major issue the team faced was with the quotes used in loading screens. While they were apparently all famous quotes, they had been taken from a Japanese book of quotes without any authors being mentioned, in addition to their translation into Japanese sometimes being poor. In the event, Atlus USA went with new quotes to put in their place rather than trying to identify and translate the existing quotes. The quotes used were from multiple sources, including Douglas Adams, George Carlin and Rodney Dangerfield. According to Chan, the main advantage of Catherine compared to other projects was that the situations and characters were ones he and other team members could understand rather than typical fantasy scenarios.[60]

Valerie Arem of PCB Productions was the voice director for dubbing.[17] Rather than recording as a team, each actor recorded their lines separately.[61] Baker, Bailey and Willingham, the respective voices of Vincent, Catherine and Johnny, described the voice recording period as a positive experience, reinforced by the fact that they were all old friends. Baker noted that it was a relative rarity for this to be the case in general voice acting.[58][59] Ruff, the voice of Katherine, was helped in her performance by both Arem and Atlus staff.[61] In contrast to the majority of Japanese game localizations, the lip movements for some cutscenes were adjusted so they would sync with the English voices. This was done to give the acting and performances a more natural feel. This meant that the voice actors had more freedom to adlib parts of their performance: a cited example was the fight between Katherine and Catherine, where the two actresses adlibed the majority of the characters' argument. The aim for realism also meant that the performances were more restrained than those given for Japanese anime, which leaned towards stylized performances.[17] For real-time cutscenes, lines had to be matched with gestures and line lengths to within 0.2 seconds; the Atlus staff needed to go through the Japanese script and create a dedicated column for speaking times, then they acted out the lines themselves so they had a reference for the voice actors, and finally they would allow an actor to alter things a little to suit their performance and document those changes so the subtitles matched.[60]

Baker, Bailey and Ruff had all previously worked with Atlus on the Persona series: Ruff voiced Yukari Takeba in Persona 3 while Baker and Bailey respectively voiced Kanji Tatsumi and Rise Kujikawa from Persona 4.[58][61][62] In an interview, Baker described the Atlus USA staff as giving him and the other English actors a great deal of freedom when it came to delivering lines and portraying their characters. He noted that the themes in Catherine were far more controversial compared to earlier titles he and Atlus had worked on, and that it was a unique voice acting opportunity.[58] Bailey was working on another Atlus project when she was offered the opportunity to voice Catherine. Having already heard of the project in the press, Bailey accepted the offer; during her time recording lines, she found the experience strange as she considered Baker to be a brotherly figure, starkly contrasting the relationship between Vincent and Catherine.[59] Ruff was offered the role based on her acting abilities and her previous work with Atlus. She saw some footage of Katherine to get a feeling for her relationship with Vincent, but did not try to sync her performance with the Japanese. This was partly because of the planned English sync adjustments, and partly because she heard Japanese voice recording and cutscene finalization was still in progress.[61] This was confirmed by Arem in a separate interview. Arem described each main actor's strengths during recording: Baker had good timing when it came to delivering his lines, Bailey required few retakes, while Ruff was able to realistically convey a variety of emotions. She also noted the work done by Fitzgerald, the voice actress for both Trisha and Erica; Fitzgerald had difficulty with the timing for Trisha's lines, but managed to "pull it off".[17] The amount of voice acting involved was so large that the actors felt they could not finish it.[58] Looking back on the production, Arem said she would not recast any of the characters.[17]

Professional competition[edit]

Catherine is occasionally played competitively in eSport tournaments. The game's professional scene began when FGC member David "Dacidbro" Broweleit desired to learn the insides of the game's engine.[63] The first notable tournament was an event called Super NorCal Install, which took place in 2012. The tournament would become the basis for the game's competitive scene.[64] Publisher Atlus would later officially sponsor the game as a side event at Evo 2015, while streaming it on their Twitch.tv account.[65] The attention surrounding the event would later carry on into Evo 2016, CEOtaku 2016,[63] Genesis 4,[66] as well as an event in San Jose called The King of Catherine, which had awarded a $5,000 prize pool to winners.[67]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic (X360) 82/100[68]
(PS3) 79/100[69]
Review scores
Publication Score
CVG 8.0/10[70]
GameSpot 8.5/10[72]
GamesRadar (JPN) 5/10[10]
(ENG) 8/10[71]
GameTrailers 7.8/10[73]
IGN 9/10[74]
Awards
Publication Award
IGN Best Story, Best PS3 Story
1UP.com, TeamXbox Biggest Surprise
1UP.com Most Daring Game
411mania, GameZone Most Original Game
Famitsu Rookie Prize
GameZone Best New Character (Vincent) (Runner-Up)
GameZone Best Puzzle (Runner-Up)

Catherine received mostly positive reviews from critics. It holds average aggregate scores of 82 and 79 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, respectively, on Metacritic.[68][69] In an import review, GamesRadar gave the game a 5/10, praising the story but criticizing the game's difficulty due to random enemy AI,[10] though they later gave the English release 8/10, citing crucial changes had removed most of the game's annoyances.[71] Some Japanese gamers have complained that the game is too difficult, even on the easy setting. Atlus has since released a patch that includes a Super Easy mode, which is included in the English version.[75] IGN gave the North American version of Catherine an overall score of 9.0.[74] Computer and Video Games gave the game an 8.0.[70] Tom Bissell of Grantland.com, the sports and pop culture website owned by ESPN and run by Bill Simmons, was pleasantly surprised by the game and gave it a very positive review, which included a listing of its eerie qualities.[76]

Sales[edit]

The PlayStation 3 version topped the Japanese charts in its opening week with over 140,000 copies sold while the Xbox 360 version came in 7th with over 21,000, and was able to outsell Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, which was released on the same day, by a margin of two-to-one.[77] The game has also been commercially successful in America, selling 78,000 copies across both systems to consumers in its first six days, making it Atlus' biggest launch yet for a game.[78] The game has sold around 500,000 copies by the end of 2011, being a huge success for the company.[79] The game sold 260,000 copies in Japan and 230,000 in North America by the end of 2011.[80]

Awards[edit]

In December 2011, Catherine received the award for "Biggest Surprise of 2011" from TeamXbox, with Dead Island as the runner-up.[81] In GameSpot's 2011 Game of the Year awards, Catherine was nominated in the categories of "Best Puzzle Game",[82] "Best Story",[83] "Best New Character",[84] "Best Voice Acting",[85] "Best Original IP",[86] "Best Ending",[87] and "Best Puzzles".[88] The game has also received an Annie Award nomination for the "Best Animated Video Game" category, alongside another adventure game Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective.[89] In IGN's "Best of 2011" awards, Catherine received the award for "Best PS3 Story" and had been nominated in the "PS3 Game of the Year" category.[90] IGN has also given Catherine the overall "Best Story" award and nominated it for the "Best Video Game Trailer" award.[91] GameZone gave the game the "Best Original IP" award and chose Vincent as the runner-up for the "Best New Character" award.[92] GameZone also chose the game as the runner-up for the "Best Puzzle" award.[93] 411mania gave it the "Most Original Game" award.[94] 1UP.com gave it the "Most Daring Game" award and chose it as the runner-up for the "Most Surprising Game" award.[95] The A.V. Club chose it as the third best game of the year.[96] Famitsu awarded it the Rookie Prize in its 2012 awards ceremony.[97]

Legacy[edit]

Since its release, Catherine has appeared on several lists of the top games of the seventh generation era of video game consoles. In August 2012, IGN placed the game at number eighteen on its list of "The Top 25 PlayStation 3 Games", with editor Colin Moriarty praising it as "authentically unique" after calling it an example of something "that's so radically unlike anything else that came before it that it's hard to ignore."[98] The next year in September 2013, Catherine ranked twenty-fourth on IGN's updated "Top 25 PlayStation 3 Games" list, with Moriarty stating that "the puzzles are both challenging and fun, but what makes Catherine truly stand apart is its daring subject matter and its unapologetic nudging to make us confront some incredibly uncomfortable – but tempting – situations."[99] In November 2013, Hardcore Gamer ranked the game seventy-ninth on its "Top 100 Games of the Generation" list,[100] while Complex placed it at number eight on its list of "The 25 Most Underrated Games Of the Last Console Generation".[101] That same month, PlayStation Universe ranked Catherine number seventy-three on its list of "The Best 100 Games Of the PS3 Generation", stating that its "core puzzle-platforming offers nerve-wracking excitement" and praised its "engaging, authentic story."[102] In January 2014, Catherine was included on Game Revolution's list of the "Top 7 Most Underrated Games Of Last Generation", with editor Alex Osborn describing it as "One part block puzzle game, the other social simulation, Catherine is like nothing you've ever played before."[103] In May 2014, IGN ranked Catherine sixty-fifth on its "Top 100 Games of a Generation" list, praising its themes, story, and puzzle gameplay before calling it "one of the most refreshingly adult games of this past generation."[104] The next month in June 2014, the game placed at number sixty-one on IGN's list of the "Games of a Generation: Your Top 100" as voted by readers of the website.[105]

Catherine protagonist Vincent made a cameo appearance in Persona 3 Portable, the PlayStation Portable remake of Persona 3. The port's female protagonist runs into Vincent, who makes reference to the events of Catherine.[106] Vincent was included in Persona 3 Portable as it was created by the same development team as Catherine, but the version of Vincent in Persona 3 Portable is not the same as that used in Catherine.[107] Despite the possibility, staff have discounted the possibility of either an anime adaptation or further games in the series, the latter due to the game's challenging production.[12][27] In 2013, Liz Lanier of Game Informer included "Catherine / Katherine" among the top ten female villains in video games, stating that "...Vincent can't catch a break between Catherine seducing him one minute and manipulating him the next; Katherine isn't much better with her passive-aggressive push toward marriage. Considering both appear as horrifying boss battles, they can easily be any man's worst nightmare."[108] In 2014, David Auerbach of Slate found Catherine sexist, writing that its treatment of relationships and sex exemplified a misogynous tendency in video game culture that became a topic of media discussion over the next several years. According to Auerbach, the game is "a bellwether for what tech culture and gaming have come to mean for a lot of men: a safe playspace from the realities that they believe women force on them."[109]

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External links[edit]