It all began with saving a town, after which you have foiled the plans of a killer named Joker. You then braved the tower of Tartarus, and stopped the transmission of the Midnight Channel. The locations and plotlines of the Persona series are both varied and sometimes bizzare, but the addictive gameplay and strong characterisation of the cast have led us to accept them as reality. This spin off from the Shin Megami Tensei franchise may not be as recognised as Final Fantasy, but is slowly gaining popularity, even amongst people who have never played an RPG.
With a range of successful games under their belt, as well as an array or remakes and extended editions, the Persona franchise will be receiving a fifth main instalment. This is technically the sixth game, but there were two games released under the Persona 2 title, and they have both been confirmed as canon in the series mythology by the developer. Although Persona 5 is going to be released in Japan in 2014, it will not receive a Western release until next year at the earliest. While this is a disappointment, it is reassuring to know that it will be localised, unlike many Japanese role-playing titles.
While all of us at VGU like different games for different reasons, I decided to ask three of our writers who have played previous releases what they would like to see in Persona 5.
“If anything I am just looking forward to what they do with the plot this time around. P2, P3 and P4 caught my attention in completely different ways and it was mainly how the plot developed and how it was based. A school that gets infested with demons, a midnight hour that causes the demon world to combine with the human world, a TV world that inhabits demons and shadows. The fact that Atlus can take these ideas and make them really compelling just has me wondering what they can do next. That and also how the Personas are going to be summoned this time around. We have had cards and guns, could we see masks next?” Dominic ‘The Xploder’ Coles
“What I’m really looking forward to seeing in the new Persona game is just exactly what themes will be explored. The Persona series has always been great when it comes to developing characters and relationships while dealing with some pretty dark concepts, and the new title seems no different. I’m especially intrigued by the idea that it is intended for those ‘discontent with their lives.’ Combine this cryptic message with the striking red promotional material, and this may point towards P5 being one of the darkest yet potentially uplifting tales yet. Atlus are promising that players will be truly moved by this entry, and I’m excited to see how they deliver.” Amy Conway
“I look forward to the exploration of “Freedom”, Persona 5’s main theme. Persona 3 focused on death, or at least the end of cycles and possible new beginnings, where as Persona 4 was all about the nature of truth and how there are no easy answers in life. Like the younger fans of the previous two games, Persona seems to be growing up by looking at the ties that bind us and the shackles we all wear in everyday life just to get by. While I expect the usually sunny sense of humour, I hope for a slight return of the darker nature of Persona 3 and The Answer. On a lesser note, some sort of nod to S.E.E.S and The Investigation Team as some sort of larger arc, as shown in the Arena titles, would really drag me in.” Will Fidler
On top of what they would like to see, here is what I would add to the mix.
“I would like to see dynamic social links that affect more than just the amount of experience you receive when you create new Personas. If you make morally ambiguous choices, you could receive certain bonuses or an inverted version of the arcana connected to the social link. I would like to see more of a selection of social classes that are shown throughout the game, with the possibility of entering into a same sex relationship available if the player chooses to pursue it. This option has been included in several games by Bioware and Electronic Arts, and while they were met with mixed reception, it was a step forward for changing what is culturally acceptable in video games.”
With several months to go until release, it is likely that we will receive titbits of information, with a larger preview to be unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show later this year. Are you excited to see what Persona 5 will bring to the franchise, and do you think that our ideas are feasible? Let us know what you think in the comments below.