Atlus waited 25 years to give the original Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers a sequel. The recently released Soul Hackers 2 is a pared-down Shin Megami Tensei alternative that acts as a way for longtime fans and new players to enjoy a more casual experience without sinking in dozens and dozens of hours in-game.
Despite its problems, Soul Hackers 2 is a solid game with a promising world to explore, so Atlus shouldn't wait another 25 years to make Soul Hackers 3. The plot for the third entry may already be set up in the most unlikely place: the bad ending of Soul Hackers 2.
Who needs a happy ending? — Soul Hackers 2 contains two endings for players to uncover. If you make the right choices, you can achieve the “good” ending. In this version, Ringo is able to soul-hack Figue, bringing her back from the edge of death and showing her that humanity still deserves to exist even after all the tragedy characters have experienced.
The world averts apocalypse and Aion returns to its place as an artificial hive mind watching humanity in the shadows, no longer needing to intervene in their fate through Ringo and Figue. Party members Arrow, Milady, and Saizo all are able to return to their lives. It's a pretty happy ending that wraps the story up in a nice tidy bow. While it is nice to see our characters get some much-needed rest and relaxation, it isn’t very conducive to a sequel.
That’s where the bad ending comes in.
In this not-so-sunny ending, Ringo does not save Figue. Losing both Figue and Aion entirely leaves Ringo stuck in the human world somewhere between artificial intelligence and a human but not quite either. While the other party members return to their lives just as in the good ending, Ringo is left alone to watch over humanity, waiting for Aion and Figue to someday return from the void into consciousness and reunite with her.
Loose threads — The bad ending is certainly a better jumping-off point for a sequel to Soul Hackers 2, even if it comes at the cost of the characters’ happiness. But no matter which ending Atlus does end up going with, there are already loose threads left dangling at the end of Soul Hackers 2 that tantalize the player to imagine what could come next.
The entire plot of Soul Hackers 2 centers around the Covenants, five MacGuffins of great power that when brought together can summon a world-ending creature. Switching ownership throughout the game, all five Covenants eventually make their way into the possession of Figue. In both endings of Soul Hackers 2, Figue dies (although in the good ending you bring her back) which releases the Covenants from her possession.
There’s an ending cutscene where the party debriefs each other on the events of the game and the aftermath of Figue’s defeat. Eventually, the question of the Covenants comes up. Both Yatagarasu and the Phantom Society, two of the game’s prominent Devil Summoner organizations, cannot locate the Covenants. Saizo theorizes that perhaps an unknown person claimed them as they left Figue. The mystery of where the Covenants wound up presents the perfect plot thread to set up a sequel and a potential new antagonist who seeks to collect their power.
One thing is for certain: The true bad ending for us all happens if Atlus waits another quarter-century to deliver another Soul Hackers game — or not at all.
Soul Hackers 2 is now available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series consoles, and PC.