The Caligula Effect

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The Caligula Effect
Caligula cover art.png
Japanese cover art
Director(s)Takuya Yamanaka
Writer(s)Tadashi Satomi
Composer(s)Tsukasa Masuko
EngineUnreal Engine 4 (Overdose)

The Caligula Effect[c] is a role-playing video game developed by Aquria. It was released for the PlayStation Vita in Japan in June 2016, and by Atlus USA in North America and Europe in May 2017. A remake of the game, The Caligula Effect: Overdose[d], was released for the PlayStation 4 in Japan in May 2018, and worldwide by NIS America in March 2019 for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows. An anime adaptation of the same name premiered in April 2018.


The Caligula Effect is a role-playing video game featuring turn-based combat in dungeon environments. Combat is triggered upon encountering enemy characters during dungeon exploration.[1] A party can consist of four playable characters maximum. There are 9 main characters that can be used in the party as the story progresses. Any NPC can be recruited into the party after obtaining level 2 or higher association. Three commands can be chained together per turn for each party member and can preview its effect before initiating. Players can raise association with other NPCs by interacting with them. Certain NPCs are not accessible until specific NPC association is gained. After reaching a certain amount of association, side-quests are unlocked for specific NPCs.


The Caligula Effect is set in a virtual reality program known as "Mobius", created so people can escape pain in their lives and live in an idyllic high school setting, forced to live out their 3 years indefinitely. The main protagonist is one of a group who realize that they are in a virtual world, and form the "Go-Home Club", a group dedicated to escaping from Mobius and its god-like overseer program, a vocal program called "μ". They oppose the "Ostinato Musicians", a group who supports μ and sees the Go-Home Club as traitors.[1][2]


The Caligula Effect was developed by FuRyu and published worldwide by Atlus USA. It was directed by Takuya Yamanaka, with character designs by Oguchi. It was written by Tadashi Satomi, who had previously worked on the first three games in the Persona series – Revelations: Persona, Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. The music was written by former Megami Tensei series composer Tsukasa Masuko, and the theme song is performed by a three-person group: Eriko Nakamura, Emi Nitta and Yuka Ōtsubo. The developers define Caligula as a "next-generation juvenile RPG" focusing on modern pathology and trauma.[1][3]

The characters were said to violate a variety of taboos, with Satomi specifically creating one that the team were initially wanting to avoid. The title stems from the psychological term "Caligula effect", referring to the want to see and do prohibited things. Despite its prominence and tying into the gameplay experience, the word itself is not mentioned within the game's context.[1][3]

The game was first announced on February 23, 2016 in that week's issue of Famitsu, along with its release date.[4] At the time it was announced, it was said to be 50% complete.[1] A teaser trailer and the first screenshots was released soon after the initial announcement.[5]


The game was released by FuRyu for the PlayStation Vita in Japan on June 23, 2016,[6] and was released by Atlus USA in North America on May 2, 2017, and in Europe on May 9.[7] Initially, Atlus USA did not rule out a physical release of The Caligula Effect through Limited Run Games,[8] but eventually decided against it.[9] An anime adaptation, Caligula, premiered in Japan in April 2018.[10]

In November 2017, a remake titled The Caligula Effect: Overdose was announced. It was released in Japan for the PlayStation 4 on May 18, 2018, and by NIS America for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows in North America on March 12, 2019, and in Europe on March 15, 2019.[11] The remake, developed by the studio Historia using Unreal Engine 4, features upgraded visuals and gameplay, a new playable female protagonist, new endings, and more supporting characters.[12][13][14]


The Caligula Effect received "mixed or average reviews" from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[15][16][17] Famitsu scored the original version of the game with a 30 out of 40 rating, with an 8/7/8/7 out of 10 breakdown among the four reviewers.[18] Josh Tolentino from Destructoid gave the game 4/10, praising the fresh idea and the battle system of the game, but criticized the shallow character bonding system, the long length of battles and the poor performance of the game on the PlayStation Vita.[21]

The remake fared better among reviewers, with Famitsu giving it with a higher 33 out of 40 score, consisting of ratings from four critics who individually gave it 9/8/8/8.[19]

It was the second best selling video game in Japan during its opening week, with 31,243 copies sold.[22] During its second week, it dropped to eleventh place, with an additional 7,289 copies sold.[23] The PlayStation 4 version sold 20,399 copies within its first week on sale in Japan, placing it at first on the all format sales chart.[24]


  1. ^ Ported to Microsoft Windows and Nintendo Switch by Engine Software BV.
  2. ^ Windows version was released on March 13, 2019
  3. ^ Known in Japan as Caligula (カリギュラ, Karigyura)
  4. ^ Known in Japan as Caligula: Overdose (カリギュラ オーバードーズ, Karigyura Ōbādōzu)


  1. ^ a b c d e Romano, Sal (2016-02-23). "FuRyu announces Caligula for PS Vita". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2016-02-24. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  2. ^ "The Caligula Effect launches May 2 in the Americas and Europe - Gematsu". Gematsu. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  3. ^ a b 『Caligula -カリギュラ-』フリューが贈る次代のオリジナル学園ジュブナイルRPG 主題歌、予約特典情報を公開. Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain. 2016-02-25. Archived from the original on 2016-02-26. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  4. ^ 【先出し週刊ファミ通】『Caligula -カリギュラ-』フリューの完全新作RPGをスクープ(2016年2月25日発売号). Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain. 2016-02-23. Archived from the original on 2016-02-24. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  5. ^ Romano, Sal (2016-02-24). "Caligula teaser trailer, Famitsu screenshots". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  6. ^ "Caligula's New Trailer Highlights Characters Of Its Virtual High School World". Siliconera. 20 April 2016.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Puntschart, Justin. "Limited Run Games Releasing Caligula is "Not Impossible"". Operation Rainfall. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  9. ^ Hardin, John. "For those asking, no news on Caligula until 2017. We're still in early loc stages. And it is 100% final there's no physical. No LRG, etc". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  10. ^ "The Caligula Effect Game Gets TV Anime Adaptation in April 2018". Anime News Network. November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  11. ^ Sato. "The Caligula Effect: Overdose Dated For March 2019 In The West For PS4, Switch, And PC". Siliconera. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  12. ^ Romano, Sal (November 22, 2017). "Historia developing The Caligula Effect: Overdose". Gematsu. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  13. ^ Sato. "The Caligula Effect: Overdose Goes Over What's New In The Unreal Engine 4 Remake". Siliconera. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  14. ^ "The Caligula Effect: Overdose announced for PS4 - Gematsu". Gematsu. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  15. ^ a b "The Caligula Effect for PlayStation Vita Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "The Caligula Effect: Overdose for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "The Caligula Effect: Overdose for Nintendo Switch Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1437 - Gematsu". Gematsu. 15 June 2016.
  19. ^ a b Romano, Sal (May 8, 2018). "Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1536". Gematsu. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Review: The Caligula Effect". destructoid. Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  22. ^ Romano, Sal (2016-06-29). "Media Create Sales: 6/20/16 – 6/26/16". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  23. ^ Romano, Sal (2016-07-06). "Media Create Sales: 6/27/16 – 7/3/16". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2016-07-06. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  24. ^ Romano, Sal (May 23, 2018). "Media Create Sales: 5/14/18 – 5/20/18". Gematsu. Retrieved May 25, 2018.

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