Persona 6 may have only shined in Atlus’ eyes, and we can’t help but talk about it anymore. With Atlus building momentum after the release of Persona 5: Royal and focusing on the February release of Persona 5: Strikers, a direct sequel to Persona 5 probably isn’t high on the studio’s priority list. But can we be blamed for indulging in harmless speculation? Persona 5 is one of this generation’s most beloved JRPGs, a masterful embodiment of the series’ best elements with modern polish and a distinctive style.
Persona is no ordinary series. It’s not every day that a strange old man calls you into a limo or a jail cell to explain that you can now summon elemental demons to fight allegorical manifestations of social injustice. Don’t forget math: you can’t destroy the lord of the palace if you don’t pass your trigonometry exam tomorrow. You’ll have to learn those angles if you want to successfully bounce a real bullet off a toy gun, won’t you? Here’s a good wild card.
Interestingly, these two aspects of Persona-the true “attack and overthrow God” of Persona and the social simulation for which the series has become known over the years are often seen as diametrically opposed. In many ways, Persona-especially Persona 5, which I’m guessing everyone reading this article has played at least a little bit-feels like a game made up of two different halves. But it’s important to at least acknowledge how deeply academic Persona’s setting is. The metauniverse, the memories, the tarot cards, and the whole concept of revealing your true power after removing the mask that closes your heart are, of course, tied to psychoanalysis. In other words, the whole basis of Castles, Palaces, and Prisons is Carl Jung 101, but with demons.
Will we get a Persona 6?
The short answer is yes. It may already be in the early stages of development. In an October 2019 interview with Dengeki magazine (via Segment Next), Atlus developer Kazuhisa Wada said of the future of the Persona series, “We are working on a medium to a long-term plan that includes new installments in the series so that fans can continue to enjoy the Persona series.”
It’s hard to see “new themes” as anything other than Persona 6. Although Atlus hasn’t officially announced it, it seems almost undeniable that a sequel to Persona 5 is in development.
In any case, even if Wada’s quote was misinterpreted or mistranslated, it seems incredibly unlikely that Atlus would let one of its biggest hits die along with a game as popular as Persona 5. For that reason alone, Persona 6 seems inevitable. At this point, it’s not a question of if it will be released, but when.
How Persona 6 can improve on Persona 5: The protagonist
In the main Persona games — with the exception of Persona 3 Portable, the main character was exclusively a male high school student. However, Persona 6 is expected to have a female protagonist. There will be no real mechanical changes in this regard, but it will allow the game to approach society from a different angle.
The game could focus solely on a female protagonist, or it could give the player the option of embodying both a male and female protagonist. The latter option could potentially increase the replayability value of the game over the typical “new game +” option. The only problem with making the protagonist selectable is the impact of the potential anime, at least as far as protagonists considered “canon” is concerned.
Romance in Persona Series
Romance has always been a part of the Persona series, but it has never been very deep. It is usually relegated to the background and has nothing to do with the main plot, only changing certain events, such as Valentine’s Day. In Persona 6, the player’s romantic decisions should affect the story and their relationships with the other characters. It should also provide a deeper look into the mechanics behind romantic relationships. Talking to a character isn’t enough to make romance happen, but starting a relationship should take some work.
Persona 6 was also supposed to be the game that finally made romances more inclusive. The series only featured heterosexual relationships, and Persona 5 was heavily criticized for its treatment of the LGBTQ+ characters that existed. There were also many male characters in this game who could have been just as interesting love interests for the Joker as the female characters. Overall, the possibility of same-sex romances would have made the game more appealing to a wider range of players.
The Persona series is a turn-based JRPG that focuses on exploiting enemy weaknesses to win. For the most part, the combat system works well. It has enough strategy to keep you interested while being simple enough for newcomers to understand. However, with the release of Persona 5 Strikers, players get a chance to see what a more action-oriented approach might look like. The weakness system has been retained, but characters have been given the ability to move freely in open terrain.
If Persona 6 had utilized this option, it would have allowed for even more tactical options in battle. The additional movement options in boss fights would have added to the drama. It would have also made the situations more dynamic and exciting, similar to Striker fights. For example, a fight against a copy of the Joker will be fast-paced and you’ll have to use a combination of environments and abilities to win.
Persona 6 game focus point
Persona 6 games generally focus on school-age characters, allowing players to see the world from a young (often naive and idealistic) perspective. As the game progresses, characters are forced to grow up and embrace real life beyond their childhood fantasies. However, Persona 6 could change the setting and place its characters in college. If the characters go to college, it would open up new horizons for them in terms of their views and reactions to situations as they emerge from adolescence.
University life in Japan is a bit different than in the West, as it is more community-oriented. University campuses are not as large as we are used to in the West, and most students commute to work. However, this can work in Persona’s favor, as the map and available locations don’t have to change very often.
The platform of Persona 6 Xbox and Switch
Despite our protests, Persona 5 remains a PlayStation exclusive title. But it’s very likely that Persona 6 will share the love with other platforms when it launches. For a number of reasons, I’d say the Switch – or any other current Nintendo console at the time of Persona 6’s release – is the best choice for a multiplatform Persona 6 release.
One of those reasons is that Persona 5: Scramble has already been released on Switch in Japan, setting a stellar precedent for Atlus to port its predecessor and, if there’s any hope, Persona 6. Additionally, the Joker is now a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a testament to the friendly relationship between Atlus and Nintendo. More importantly, Atlus has experience developing games for Nintendo platforms since the 1980s, with Persona 5 Scramble, Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE Encore, and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth being the most recent examples.
Last month, Atlus released a survey asking fans if they would like to see various Atlus games, including Persona 5, ported to the Switch. It’s hard to believe they needed a poll to find the answer to this question, but it’s another sign of Atlus’s willingness to work with Nintendo to build a wider audience for their games.
Persona 6 release
Considering that Persona 5 was released in 2011 and released five years later, we shouldn’t expect Persona 6 for at least a few years. Of course, the development of one game is not always a reliable indicator of the development of another, but to say that Persona 6 could be released before 2022 would be foolishly optimistic.
Persona games, like Atlus games in general, are notoriously long and exceptionally polished. This means more developers are needed to perfect a game’s various systems, more time to write and develop the game, and ultimately, fans must be patient in exchange for a reliable and satisfying product. Still, there is reason to be optimistic about development times.
Persona 6 will not be as good as Persona 5
It probably goes without saying, but there are spoilers about Persona 5 below. It probably doesn’t mean anything, since everyone and their mothers played along, but – in the name of human decency – you’ve been warned.
Persona 5 and P5 Royal are lightning in a bottle. A combination of style and content that, when combined, became a cultural phenomenon. P5 and P5R changed what people expected from RPGs and JRPGs in particular. So it goes without saying that Persona 6 would inevitably turn out to be a failed sequel.
After all, lightning only strikes the bottle once. Unless you’re Peter Jackson, creator of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But where P5/P5R succeeded, there were also failures. Some of the series’ long-standing problems persisted even when it reached its mechanical and stylistic zenith. That’s where Persona 6 could come into play.
10 things we want to see in Persona 6
Persona 6 is probably not yet in development, but that hasn’t stopped fans from trying to see how it can improve on its predecessors.
Other Shin Megami Tensei effects
Persona 5 introduces the ability to negotiate with shadows in the midst of battle, a mechanic related to the main Shin Megami Tensei series. Since Nocturn has recently been re-released, it could be tested to introduce novelties or a new tone to the Persona franchise, recalling the origins of the Shin Megami Tensei series.
While the Tartarus dungeons of Persona 3 and Persona 4 were boring, procedurally generated cases that were difficult to get through, the new approach to the series’ dungeons in Persona 5 Royal has made them much more enjoyable overall. With plenty of movement options, such as a grappling hook, and puzzles to solve, these dynamic and thoughtful dungeons are definitely the right direction for the series.
Perhaps Persona 6 will be able to implement even more ways to make each dungeon feel fresh and unique, perhaps even including dungeon-specific mechanics.
Choice of the female protagonist
In the entire Persona series, there were only two games in the main series in which the player could play as a female character: Persona 2: Eternal Punishment and Persona 3 Portable. Of these two games, only Persona 3 Portable allowed the player to choose the gender of their character. By offering this option, many players would be able to bond more closely with the character and thus become more immersed in the game, while also having the ability to add additional content to the game.
Create a character
Surprisingly, despite almost every game in the Persona series having a silent protagonist, none of the games in the series included character creation. As mentioned above, while these features are not essential, they make it easier for the player to get into character and take the game and its protagonist as their own.
More personality of the main character
With the exception of Persona 2, Persona’s playable protagonists fall under the trope of the silent protagonist. While this allows the player to fill in the gaps in the character’s personality on their own, the character lacks character. Giving the player character a more defined personality certainly makes them less free, but it also allows them to take a more unique and interesting stance, and they can actually participate in the dialogue.
Like Final Fantasy, most of the Persona 6 games are very disconnected from each other. Unlike Final Fantasy, where each episode takes place in a different world, each Persona game takes place in the same world and is only loosely related. However, despite the fact that you can visit the Persona 3 campus in Persona 4, Persona 2 characters appeared on TV in Persona 3, and Persona 2 had a playable member from Persona 1, the connections to the previous games are increasingly trivial. Perhaps including more direct connections to earlier parts of the series could be a good solution for longtime fans of the series.
Older party members
While high school has become the default setting for the Persona series, it hasn’t always been that way. In Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, characters were in their 20s and 30s, players lived in their own apartments and dealt with more adult themes. That said, in the last three installments of the series, players were put in the shoes of high school students, which limited the types of characters that could be included in the game and the types of stories that could be told.
Persona 6: A wise choice
Although the Persona 6 series allows players to make choices, from choosing party members to choosing social links and proxies, the decisions made by players usually have little impact on gameplay. The rest of the game may require the player to make more informed decisions, choosing between two possible social links from the same arcane, as was the case with Yumi and Ayane in Persona 4, or even that party members are only available with a specific choice. This can add an additional level of replay value to the game and encourage the player to see what is possible in subsequent playthroughs.
In addition, one of the most notable results that emphasis on choice can bring is the inclusion of multiple endings. While games like Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 technically have multiple endings, they are not based on player choice, but are merely alternate endings to the story, good, bad, and incomplete, often ending the game early.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Persona series is that each installment is different from the others and has its own personality, from art direction to music style to tone. This keeps the series from feeling stale, as even Persona 3 and Persona 4, games on the same console with shared resources, were able to maintain their individuality by experimenting with what was possible in the series. So if we expect to see something new in Persona 6, it’s that the game doesn’t play it safe and repeat ideas from the past, but that risks are taken and the team isn’t afraid to experiment.
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