The Persona series has made a big splash in recent years, having peaked in popularity with the critical success that was Persona 5. Originally a spin-off from Atlus’ staple Shin Megami Tensei franchise, Persona has now become its thing, and the series has even found a steady spot in the hearts of avid JRPG fans.
Persona now approaches its 25th birthday. To celebrate, Atlus has planned out seven Persona project announcements, which they’ll slowly reveal from September 2021 through Autumn 2022.
Knowing this, fans have been left anxious and eager to speculate about what’s coming. After all, despite being a turn-based JRPG at heart, the Persona franchise has dabbled in all kinds of different game genres and absurd story premises. The sky’s the limit here, but there are no doubt some games that fans would love to see in one of these announcements.
With that being said, here are some of the games that we would love to see revealed for Persona’s 25th anniversary.
Remakes of Persona 1 and 2
25 years of Persona obviously implies some ancient games here and there. The very first and original Revelations: Persona launched way back in 1996 on the original Sony PlayStation, with a PlayStation Portable port coming later in 2009.
Persona 2 was also on the same boat, launching on the Sony PlayStation as Persona 2: Innocent Sin in 1999, followed by its sequel Persona 2: Eternal Punishment a year later. Like the original Persona game, it took more than a decade for PSP ports to arrive for these titles.
Persona 1 and 2 are special in that they weren’t popular games by any stretch of the imagination, having come before the boom that was Persona 3.
It’s become a meme at this point that Atlus never acknowledges Persona 1 and 2, and though some people swear by Persona 2 having the best story, the reality is that not only were P1 and P2 relatively unpopular at the time, they’re also just unavailable on any current generation platforms.
Since most fans likely missed out on the first few Persona games, remaking these games would be a great way to reintroduce the core good vs evil conflict between the gods Philemon and Nyarlathothep to a modern audience. The rivalry between these gods over the fate of mankind has always been a recurring theme, but Persona 3, 4, and 5 only subtly reference this compared to the older games.
Considering how old these games are too, a remake is also a ripe opportunity for the devs to change up old gameplay and perhaps streamline it in ways that newer fans will enjoy.
Remasters of Persona 3 and 4
Just like the golden age of the PlayStation 2, Persona 3 and Persona 4 are both considered JRPG classics for the console. They’re widely accepted as the games when the series really started to take off in popularity.
Persona 3 in particular was the first game to introduce a day-to-day calendar system, including elements such as social attributes, relationships, and a “1 More” turn-based system that was easier and more straightforward than Shin Megami Tensei’s traditional Press Turn system.
From its battle system to its social-sim gameplay, Persona 3 pretty much drew the blueprint for the series’ future, with the same mechanics carrying over through both Persona 4 and 5, with minor adjustments.
Suffice to say that Persona 5′s landmark success has to be largely attributed to Persona 3 and 4‘s systems and the lessons learned about how best to optimize that formula.
Yet, despite this, Persona 3 and 4 are still stuck on their original game platforms, for the most part, making it difficult for Persona 5 newcomers in particular to appreciate the history that paved the way for the game they love.
Persona 3, which launched in 2006, later had a rerelease on the PSP as Persona 3 Portable in 2009 and offered a slew of extra content. Similarly, Persona 4 launched in 2008 and was later ported to the PlayStation Vita as Persona 4 Golden in 2012. Since these releases on portable gaming devices, however, we have not seen a HD release of any kind…
…at least not until Persona 4 Golden’s surprise launch on Steam in June 2020. Seeing as the game has not been sighted on other current-gen platforms as of yet, it might not be too long until we see a more comprehensive HD collection being announced down the road.
About That Persona 5 Fighting Game…
If Persona 3 was the blueprint for the series’ future, Persona 4 would be what nudged the series into expanding beyond the Shin Megami Tensei brand.
Though Persona itself is a spin-off series, Persona 4 was popular enough that it spawned a series of its own spin-off games that catered to various genres.
Among these spin-offs, Persona 4 Arena was the ‘fighting game’ of the bunch, brought to us by Arc System Works, a reputable developer known for creating iconic 2D fighting games such as the BlazBlue and Guilty Gear series.
Persona 4 Arena is pretty much exactly the kind of game that’s being sold to you. It features your favourite Persona characters simply duking it out against each other with chairs, bows, swords, guns, and yes, even their Personas.
The reference to the 4th game in name aside, the series featured a roster consisting of both Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters, as well as some original characters unique to the game.
But why a Persona 5 fighting game? Well, in the wake of Persona 5’s release, we’ve recently gotten Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight and Persona Q2, which are both sequels to Persona 4’s own respective spin-offs, Persona 4: Dancing All Night and Persona Q. However, the one Persona 4 spin-off that’s still missing a sequel is Persona 4 Arena.
A brand-new Persona 5 Arena game would be a fun change of pace from Persona’s single-player focus and pretty much complete the trio of spin-off sequels.
Though Arc System Works appears a little too busy with big third-party IPs these days to pick up that mantle, we’re still crossing our fingers that the surge in popularity the Persona series has received as of late is enough to push for a new sequel.
Remember That Time A Persona 5 Mobile Game Was Teased?
In April 2021, Chinese game developer Perfect World Games came forward with the announcement that it was developing a mobile game based on a famous JRPG franchise.
Dubbed “Code Name: X,” the game’s teaser cinematic featured a bustling modern-day Tokyo, with characters hacking computers and hopping across rooftops, all to a musical tune that proved all too familiar.
Chinese game company Perfect World has announced it is working on a mobile game for a famous JRPG IP.
While the game is only known as CODE NAME: X, it is very clearly a mobile game based on the Persona IP.
It is currently in early development and only confirmed for China atm pic.twitter.com/pM0BzrYQmX
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) April 13, 2021
The artwork of the game also featured a lady clad in a mask and jabot-decorated outfit that would have honestly have fit right in among the Phantom Thieves we know and love.
As far as anyone was concerned, a Persona 5 mobile game was announced there and then in all but name.
Yet, it’s important to note that this project was announced only for its Chinese market, and has not been officially revealed as a Persona 5 spin-off, as obvious as it is to anyone.
Also, like it or not, mobile is a massive market in the gaming ecosystem, so it’s entirely possible that Atlus is looking for the perfect timing to showcase Persona’s first foray into the mobile world. Could they be waiting to introduce the game proper as one of Persona’s 25th-anniversary projects?
Make Way For Persona 6
It goes without saying that all of us want nothing more than a new mainline Persona game.
Although long-time Persona director Katsura Hashino is now trying something new with the upcoming Project Re Fantasy, he’s more so started his own separate team and handed the series over to fresh blood rather than put the series on hold.
It’s safe to say that a new Persona project is in the works right now by the folks over at P Studio, albeit under new leadership. With Hashino’s departure from the series and the changing of the guard, one could very well expect this new Persona game to take on a fresh coat of paint.
After three games that have been heavily reliant on social themes, a familiar battle system, and a time period of roughly one school year, will we see a substantial change in the fundamentals of the Persona series? Or will the developers ultimately decide that you don’t fix what ain’t broke?
Will we see a returning cast of characters? Will stories focus on adults rather than teenagers? Will we still get a cute anthropomorphic animal to be our best friend?
There are endless questions to be asked about the future of the series, but the 25th Persona anniversary seems set to give us a good grasp of what lies ahead. All we have to do now is wait.