Since its inception, the series has expanded with the release of several other self-contained titles and related media. It has also spawned several other side-series, including the Devil Summoner series, Persona series, and others.
Shin Megami Tensei is translated as "True Goddess Reincarnation" or as "True Goddess Metempsychosis".Metempsychosis is a process of transmigration of the soul through birth, death, and rebirth, which is central to Buddhist religious tradition and is predominately featured as a recurring plotline in the Shin Megami Tensei games. The "Goddess" referenced does not necessarily refer to any one character in each title, but can be interpreted as a reference to a game's leading female character or to the transformation that Japan experiences in-game.
↑The specific word used in Japanese is gaiden (外伝), which can also translate to "spin-off."
↑ 1.01.1"デジタル・デビル物語 女神転生」を原点とし、1992年以降、 多くの個性的な作品を生み出してきた本シリーズ。『ペルソナ』 や 『デビルサマナー』 など、人気シリーズもここから生まれた。" Translation: "Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei was the starting point for this series, which has produced many unique works since 1992. Popular series such as Persona and Devil Summoner were also created here." History of Shin Megami Tensei. Shin-Megamitensei.jp.
↑ 2.02.1"『真SJ』は『真if』と同じように「シリーズ外伝」と区分けされていますが、 例えば低年齢層向けに作られた『真・女神転生デビルチルドレン』ほど離れた世界観ではありません。 悪魔と人間の関係性などを見ていけば、《ペルソナ》 シリーズの各作品と比べても明らかに本編に近い世界観の下制作されていることがわかります。 外伝とはいってもナンバリング作と共通するスタッフによって作られているのだからそれも当然と言えますが、 『真SJ』は表面的な違いが目立って見えたとしても、実際に遊んでみれば本流に含まれる作品と変わらないことが感覚的にわかることから「シリーズ25周年」の歴史に含まれる作品と位置づけられています。" Translation: "Although 'Shin SJ' is classified as a 'Gaiden,' like 'Shin if,' it is not as far removed from the world as, for example, 'Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children,' which was created for a younger audience. The relationship between demons and humans is clearly more similar to that of the main series than the other works in the 'Persona' series. Although 'Shin SJ' is a gaiden, it was created by the same staff as the numbered series, so it is not surprising that it is a gaiden. It is therefore positioned as a work included in the history of the '25th anniversary' of the series." MegaTen Maniacs, Nobuyuki Shioda. Published by Atlus. p. 122.
↑Page description: A chart showing all Megami Tensei franchise games released as of 2017, divided by series. The games Shin Megami Tensei if..., Shin Megami Tensei: Nine, and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey are all listed under the mainline Shin Megami Tensei line, indicating they are part of the mainline series of games. MegaTen Maniacs, Nobuyuki Shioda. Published by Atlus. p. 180.
↑ 4.04.14.2"'Shin Megami Tensei' is a Japanese phrase that translates as 'True Goddess Metempsychosis.' An unusual piece of philosophical jargon, 'metempsychosis' refers specifically to the unending process of birth, death, and rebirth that is of central importance to the Buddhist religious tradition. Even deities are slaves to the cycle of metempsychosis in Buddhist thought, and this belief features prominently in the plotlines of the various Shin Megami Tensei games. Who exactly the titular 'goddess' is supposed to be is usually left up to the player. Each SMT game features a female character that the title could be referring to, or it could be taken as a reference to radical transformations that Japan itself experiences during the course of a game." Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne - Official Strategy Guide. Published by DoubleJump Books. p. 385.