Last year, it looked as if Atlus was in trouble.
First Atlus' parent company Index Corporation was under investigation by the Japanese authorities after accusations of "window dressing," and then its financial woes continued to such a degree that it was auctioned off. Sega was the highest bidder, with its new "Sega Dream Corporation" branch taking ownership of Index (and, by extension, Atlus) in order to "create synergies" and "gain access to prominent IPs in the home video game software, through which the Company can expect to achieve steady flows of revenue."
Some five months after the deal was initially reported, Gematsu reports Sega has announced that it is splitting Index Corporation into two components: one still called Index Corporation, which will concentrate on Internet-based content, and the other being the Atlus we know and love, who will continue to work on game planning and development. Index Digital Media, the international arm of Index Corporation, will be officially rebranded as Atlus USA, which is pretty much how people knew it already anyway.
The important news here for gamers is that Atlus is safe and sound, with 121 people continuing to work on upcoming Atlus games -- like, say, the upcoming Persona 5.
Writing on Persona Channel, the Persona team's chief director and creative producer Katsura Hashino noted that the last few years have been hard for him and his team. He apologized for worrying the fans and giving them trouble, and said that the last few years have given him and his team the opportunity to reflect on why they make games -- not just for players to have fun, but also to leave them with something in return at the end of the experience. That certainly sounds like Persona to me. (Thanks to Japanator senior editor Elliot Gay for the translation of Hashino's words.)
Atlus has a number of promising-looking games on the horizon, many of which come from the Persona universe. There's a sequel to fighting game Persona 4 Arena, music game Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Etrian Odyssey-style dungeon crawler Persona Q and, of course, Persona 5, the latter of which is a PlayStation 3 exclusive due for release towards the end of the year.