The X Button
Dense Destiny

by Todd Ciolek, Jul 24th 2013

It's time for the results of that Persona 5 Essay Contest that I ran a few weeks ago. The entries taught me two things: people really want Persona 5, and I really should wrap my next contest around a format that doesn't take quite so long to read. Cinquain poems. That's the way to go.

Anyway, the grand-prize winner is John Parks. His entry got on my good side by invoking He Who Must Make More RPGs, and the rest of his ideas are pretty clever. He should copyright them before Atlus turns Baudelaire into a plush toy.

In Persona 5—a joint production involving ATLUS, Level-5, and designer Yasumi Matsuno—you are a Japanese transfer student at a university in a small northwest California town for one year. As a member of the International Student Organization and a Kirijo Group-backed Shadow Operative with partial amnesia, you are to unite the culturally diverse campus against a looming Shadow threat.

Summon many new multicultural legends as Personas, like Americana's Paul Bunyan and Africa's Grootslang!

Establish layered Social Links, which now incorporate the “Origin” of the characters: the Frontier, Sahara, Levant, Orient, and Europa. Use them to build relationships with teammates, members of different “factions” that may be divided along ethnic lines, and even animal allies like Baudelaire the Bald Eagle. These will affect the development of Personas with corresponding Origins, and affect storytelling decisions with delayed consequences, like in The Witcher.

You can do more activities per day. Stats can be raised by mini-games, like mine cart races and a small, exclusive Arc Systems Works fighter to play against NPCs and online.

Traverse through uniquely designed dungeons with puzzles that award loot or extended character development, in the real world and Shadow world.

Our first runner-up is Alison Nieves, who took the high-tech side of Persona to its next logical destination.

Persona has a backbone of psychological exploration, shin megami monsters, and lots and lots of high school murder. I'd really like them to take the series to a sci-fi location, and bring more of the “after school” activity into the game. Let's try a space station setting, with a vaguely military-style academy. You could still experience the personality-forming aspects of choosing a major, a career, and free time, but use the setting to make yourself a tactician, a pilot, a mechanic, or any number of other civilian support jobs. Meanwhile, murders have started occurring on the campus when several normal students seem to go crazy, and you and your closest fellow students would use some mind-exploring corporate-provided VR equipment to “clean out” your psyches, looking for suppressions that could make you similar killers. Maybe this ends with the secret goal of making you “more fit” for citizenship in the station by rooting out your inner demons.

For the mundane gameplay wishes: We need a female protagonist with equal character options (equips, non-horrifying dating prospects) as the male protagonist. Heck, make it so you can hit on anyone, and they react appropriately per your relationship.

Our second runner-up is Nick Redman, who wants Persona to stop watching TV and get a job, dammit.

By limiting the scope to a believable setting, Persona 3 and 4 gave players a chance to really feel attached to the supporting cast as they were slowly developed. I think this social link template still has great potential for immersing players and should definitely be the basis for Persona 5. What I think is sorely needed however is a change of scenery. Following the precedent set by Catherine, I pine for another compelling story about adults. I think the best fit for that would be a corporation, like the sort that proliferate in Shin Megami Tensei.

This preserves the ever-important NPC mingling: hit the bars after work, clock-in some overtime, or help a friend ascend through the business's ranks. With the company comes a broader cast, as you meet fresh young prodigies and aging salaried workers with virtual tenure. Taking a cue from Evangelion, this would also give a chance to explore the baggage that the employees have weighing on their shoulders – supporting a family, regret, competition, and compromise. They would be central to the ending: in choosing to aid or resist the conglomerate's agenda, the bonds formed with certain colleagues could be put to the test.

As for the worst entry, Guillaume Dube walked away with it thanks to this cynical proposal.

It's super easy to know what the next Persona game needs. It needs to be a post-apocalyptic gritty first-person shooter about us Americans finally getting rid of Japan and their weird games. Atlus would be perfect to make this game, because we already pwn them so hard. I mean, we make the best video games ever and Japan keeps clodding our shelves with their weird anime-styled super slow text readers they call games. Games should be about guns and blood and gritty 30-something-white-males-that-destroy-those-stupid-terrorists just like the best game ever: CALL OF DUTY! The best thing for Atlus to do would be to beg Activision to make a game with them where they'll make all the awesome people that you're going to shoot through the game... It'd be called Persona of Duty!

Congratulations, Guillaume! Your copy of Kung Food will be mailed as soon as you prove that you didn't steal the above from some game-industry executive's actual design document for Persona 5.

NEWS

CAPCOM ANNOUNCES NEW STRIDER, PAINTS A TOWN GRAY
CAPCOM's original Strider games are, in my opinion, their most fascinating creations of the 1980s. Not necessarily their best creations—just the most fascinating. Developed in concert with the artists of Moto Kikaku, Strider encompassed an arcade game, an NES game, and a short manga. The manga shrank from sight rapidly, but the arcade game emerged as a modest success in its native habitat and moreseo on the Sega Genesis, while the NES game is a flawed but compelling affair more closely tied to the manga. There's a panache to them that most side-scrolling games of the era don't have, whether it's the arcade game's cinematic pacing or the NES game's slower, more depressing burn.

Anyway, they're tough acts to follow. CAPCOM last attempted a Strider sequel in 1999, and the years since saw protagonist Strider Hiryu reduced to roles in the Marvel vs. CAPCOM games. It's not easy to nail Strider's blend of constant novelty and bizarre futurism, and the games were never popular enough for CAPCOM to try that often.

That's why I look upon CAPCOM's new Strider with some concern. Sure, it's great to see the series return, and the revival looks faithful to Hiryu's original design (plus a plasma scarf) and stage-one music. The game's also driven by Metroid-like exploration as much as Strider's typically fast-paced gameplay. In preview footage, Hiryu dashes through a military complex, uncovering power-ups that let his sword reflect bullets, start fires, or charge up a powerful sweep of the blade. These new abilities unlock doors and reveal new areas. It's a bit reminiscent of the NES Strider…which CAPCOM rather noticeably didn't mention when announcing this new title. Hmm.

There's still something missing, though. The original arcade Strider is a colorful game that constantly summons new challenges; one stage is the cyborg-manned minarets of Kazakhstan, another's a jungle basin where Hiryu rides dinosaurs while the Teutonic war cries of amazon warriors split the air. It's a short arcade game, but it's never boring.

The new Strider clearly aims to last a little longer, since it's a modern game intended for the PLAYSTATION Network, XBox Live, and Steam. Previews show Hiryu dashing through steel corridors and joyless offices, dicing up the same android guards and hover-bots. The game evidently draws from the arcade Strider and its somewhat problematic sequel, but there's little sign of the vibrant, unpredictable Strider that arcade-goers gawked at some 20 years ago. It's the same setup, with Hiryu facing the all-powerful Master Meio, but it's clearly not the same game.

More discouraging is CAPCOM's partner in development: Double Helix Games, who previously fumbled their way through iterations of Silent Hill and Front Mission. CAPCOM seems aware of this. When announcing the game, they made it clear that four internal CAPCOM Japan developers, including an experienced arcade hand, also signed on to assist Double Helix. So there is indeed cause for trepidation, even if Hiryu has a plasma scarf.

EARTHBOUND APPEARS ON WII U, UPSTAGES OTHER NINTENDO THINGS
Among the many displays at Nintendo's Comic-Con lounge was a big Earthbound banner. It wasn't as striking as the Donkey Kong diorama or the talking Mario kiosk, but it was a surprise that Nintendo pushed out Earthbound so soon after announcing it for the Wii U's Virtual Console. In fact, Nintendo even invited Comic-Con attendees to record their own testimonials about the game.

What makes Earthbound so enduring? For one thing, it's like very little else in the game industry. It's an RPG with battles patterned after Dragon Quest, but it's all wrapped in a charmingly skewed vision of Americana, courtesy of writer Shigesato Itoi. The storyline's ostensibly about a boy and his friends saving a modern-day world from aliens, and it's by turns lighthearted, disturbing, reflective, and engagingly weird. And now it's only ten bucks on the Wii U, compared to the hundreds you'd pay on eBay.

This brings up another recent addition to the Wii U's Virtual Console: Shantae. Not many people noticed when WayForward shipped this cute side-scroller for the Game Boy Color. Hey, it was 2002, everyone had the Game Boy Advance by that point, and no one really thought that Shantae would become so much of a cult hit that copies would regularly command $400 on eBay.

Nintendo rectified this just as it did Earthbound's problem, and a Virtual Console download of Shantae now costs five dollars on the 3DS eShop. Fans of the later Shantae games will find the original a little more primitive in looks and control (Shantae herself is almost too large and detailed for the screen), but the appeal is unmistakable.

INTERVIEW: ACE ATTORNEY'S MOTOHIDE ESHIRO AND TAKESHI YAMAZAKI

The Ace Attorney series may be the creation of Shu Takumi, but there's no denying Motohide Eshiro and Takeshi Yamazaki's contributions. Eshiro, a veteran of Onimusha and some old CAPCOM arcade titles, produced the Ace Attorney - Investigations games and the latest in the series, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies. Yamazaki had just as strong a role in the franchise of late, as he wrote and directed the Investigations titles as well as Dual Destinies. With Dual Destinies not so far from its third-quarter debut in North America (and out in Japan this week), I sat down with the two keepers of Phoenix Wright at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Can you tell us a bit about Athena Cykes, Phoenix Wright's new assistant for Dual Destinies? Who came up with her, and what was the inspiration?

Takeshi Yamazaki: Athena is a new lawyer who works for him, so he teaches her the ropes. We wanted more of an active partner for him and less of a supporter in the background, someone who would get down and dirty in the courtroom and help him out. She is an expert in psychology and she uses that to suss out what the opponent is really thinking and what goes on behind their statements.

And where did you get the idea for the Mood Matrix that Athena uses to sense emotions?

Yamazaki: Athena also has a special ability to analyze the tone of people's voices and get a good idea of their emotional state. So she has an amulet or necklace that she uses for this, and there are four emotional vectors to sense someone's mental state when they're speaking.

What inspired the Mood Matrix was that until now in the Ace Attorney series, the gameplay has largely been about evidence versus statements, listening to the testimony and pointing out logical inconsistencies there, and I got to thinking “What if there was a third element involved? What if it was the emotional state or the psychology behind that?” I thought that was an interesting mechanic, and the character was born from that.

How about the new rival character, Blackquill? What inspired him? His hairstyle looks a little like Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack.

Yamazaki: [laughs] Blackquill is very interesting in that he's simultaneously a prisoner and a lawyer. He was involved in some sort of murder case in the past, and he's in prison for the duration of the game. We wanted him to feel very evil and threatening, so we kept the black-and-white design motif. He's also an expert in psychology, so he's able to manipulate people. For instance, there's even an element of manipulation with one of the judges. So he's a quite powerful opponent.

Does he have his own machine, similar to what Athena has?

Yamazaki: He is in fact so powerful that he doesn't need any tools. He's such a smooth talker.

This is the first Ace Attorney game rated M for North America. Did you try to make it any darker or more graphic than previous games?

Motohide Eshiro: We certainly weren't aiming for an M rating. We don't think it's any darker or more grotesque than previous titles. But it did get an M rating, and we're fine with that. We didn't want to give a watered-down version to Western audiences.

The Apollo Justice and Dual Destinies hint at “dark times for the legal system.” What sort of threat might this be? It is commentary on modern legal systems?

Yamazaki: It's more of an internal threat. It's widespread corruption within the legal system. It was touched on in previous games, and we look at this game as a chance to get things back on track.

One big question among fans involves the current whereabouts of Maya Fey, Phoenix's old partner. Will we find out what happened to her in Dual Destinies?

Yamazaki: [laughs] You'll have to just play the game!

Are you hoping to make Dual Destinies a restarting point for the series, or will we see a lot in common with the older games?

Eshiro: It takes place about a year after the previous game, so there's a bit of space opened up there. But it's unmistakably the same universe. That said, we realized that some 3DS owners might be playing the series for the first time so we took care to make it as self-encapsulated as we could.

Apollo Justice effectively replaced Phoenix Wright in a previous game, and in Dual Destinies he's sort of Phoenix's subordinate. Do you find that fans prefer one character to the other? Does it vary from country to country?

Eshiro: I don't think you see a big difference between America and Japan when it comes to Apollo Justice, and I don't think there's even a definite swing one way or the other. With any newly introduced character in a series, it's going to boil down to taste. I think some people really like him, some people prefer the older character. It's a pretty natural reaction, and I don't think it swings particularly negative or positive.

Are there any authors or legal dramas you look to for inspiration? What about real-life cases?

Yamazaki: I take inspiration from all sorts of stories: books, movies, TV. But I can tell you one particular example. In chapter two of Dual Destinies, there's a story centered around traditional Japanese monsters, and that was directly inspired by an author called Natsuhiko Kyogoku, who wrote a series of books with a supernatural influence. But most of the time the inspirations and sources are a lot less clear.

What's the hardest part of writing a mystery?

Yamazaki: What's particularly hard about writing the Ace Attorney games is that they are games and not a movie or novel. In those, you can be fairly straightforward and reveal a little bit of information at a time. But with these games, the user is fairly actively involved, and they're going to be making guesses every step of the way. So it's hard to steer them in the right direction without giving away too much information.

Will the Mood Matrix show up in the game's investigation scenes as well as the courtroom scenes?

Eshiro: The Mood Matrix is used exclusively in the courtroom. That said, there are a lot of new elements to the investigative part. The graphics are in 3-D, and it's not exactly as we've done it before.

How much of a challenge was it to replicate the older games' 2-D animation with 3-D graphics?

Eshiro: That was a really, really difficult part of the process, and I would say we spent literally six months just nailing down the look. We did some tricks to make it work. One of the things we did is with Phoenix just standing there and doing his “objection” pose. If you just use the standard model, it doesn't look all that impressive. The foreshortening works in such a way that his arm looks rather slim; it doesn't look very impactful. So when he starts the motion of aiming, we'll swap out the model partway through to give him a big forearm and finger so it looks cool. Viewed from a different angle it would look ridiculous, but we know where the camera's going to be so we can do that sort of deformation.

Another example: in the investigation parts you'll see Phoenix straight on, and in the courtroom parts you'll see him from a three-quarters angle. Those are two distinct models, because they need to look a certain way from certain angles. So we had to try some workarounds to fool you into seeing something that looks two-dimensional even though it is indeed polygons.

The earlier Ace Attorney games avoided full voice acting, and Dual Destinies does the same. Was this a design choice or was it dictated by the hardware?

Eshiro: Yes, it was a conscious choice. There are some animated portions that are fully voiced, but for the main portions we stuck with the conventional method. We like this because it gives a lot of freedom to the user. They can devise the sort of voice they like in their head.

Even the dot-dot-dot sound effects are a very deliberate part of the presentation. None of these things are in there by accident. It's all there to preserve the pacing, the tempo of the game. Fully voicing everything would throw that out of whack.

Did Dual Destinies share any development staff with Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney?

Eshiro: There is actually no staff overlap there.

Do you have any input on the Ace Attorney film or the Takarazuka musical?

Eshiro: We're actually really involved in those, both the film and the musical. We're consulted on the scripts, and we've gone to the shoots and the stage productions to give notes on how the characters should behave. So we've been pretty heavily involved in those, moreso than other spin-offs of games.

We've seen an Ace Attorney manga and other spin-offs, but not yet an anime series. How do you think one would work out?

Eshiro: I think it would be suited to an animated TV series or film. I think the only reason we haven't done it so far is because there are so many things that need to fall into place. We need to find the right studio and a director who understands the series. It's a lock, and if all of the tumblers could fall into place, we would certainly turn the key.

Who's your favorite minor character in the series?

Eshiro: I like Yumihiko Ichiyanagi from Ace Attorney - Investigations 2. I think he has a really interesting character arc and he grows in some interesting ways. Unfortunately, he has no English name.

My favorite character in Dual Destinies is actually Blackquill.

Yamazaki: Well, any character I've written for the games I love automatically. But among the characters I didn't create, there's a character named Damon Gant in the original Ace Attorney that I really like.

NEXT WEEK'S RELEASES

There isn't much this week beyond the collector's edition of Terraria for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Perhaps it's a breather before the weight of the fall season drops in August.

THE X BUTTON'S PERSONA 5 PITCHES

Readers came up with a variety of good ideas for Persona 5, and I'm going to run them all. Take note, Atlus.

Kelestin Draven summed up what a lot of fans really want: some answers.

I'll start by bringing up P4 arena. Who was that mysterious voice and what were they really after? It could harness illusions, screw with your mind, and control others...brings one infamous SOB to mind. Nyarlathotep. He has now studied the main forces of both P3 and P4, tampering with their dark sides could make for some interesting battles in P5, this could also bring about some great cameos from the last two games. Next it wasn't until P3 that we started fighting shadows, my theory is that shadowmen from P2 IS are in fact the shadows leaking into the “real” world. That would explain their resentment towards humans. There's also the addition of Izanami to the Tatsuya Suou PSP exclusive scenario in EP, why would they add her in as a tie in if they weren't planning on bringing us around full circle? There's also the evergrowing police persona users to consider. Tatsuya, Katsuya, Akihiko, Naoto, and the aspiring Chie, what could become of them with financial backing from the Kirijo group? Especially when most of them already have social ties from arena. It'd be cool to see them get some action.

Vic Youngblood wants demons. Demons everywhere.

The Persona franchise saved my life. Ironic, really, considering my favorite entry of the series contains teenagers with social issues shooting themselves to summon demons. Yet somehow, the social-sim RPG hybrid managed to make me become a better person, and in turn, inspired me to write an essay which, in turn, got me into the liberal arts school I attend now.

Given that this franchise means the world to me, there are several directions that the franchise could take, but what would really be fascinating to see is the seamless blending of both the “other world” and the human world. Sure, we've seen Tarturus and the Midnight Channel affecting human beings in the third and fourth entries, but I feel Persona Team should take the next step. Seeing the actual world slowly getting plunged deeper into a demonic realm would have fascinating effects on the narrative. Imagine going to school every day in fear of demonic attack or possession, or actually being able to date a demon. Heck, demon/human hybrids would be a possibility.

Josh Bennett brought up several points. I for one always wondered why the men and women of Persona never got mad about the main character's Lothario habits.

The biggest thing I want to see in Persona 5 is that the relationships/social links you obtain throughout the game affect how battles play put. For instance, say you are dating a girl (or boy if for some reason the protagonist happens to be a girl this time) and you haven't maxed out the Social Link yet when you start dating another girl. This would ordinarily just reverse the social link for the first person and you would have to work hard to get it back on track outside of the dungeon, but that is all you need to do. I want to see something like the girl you scorned won't do as you command in battle, or do it half-heartily with some sort of stat decrease. You can think of it like having a Pokémon with a higher level than what your current badge will let you control. You would have to work harder in battles if something like this were to happen.

Speaking of battles, I'd like the courage, diligence, knowledge etc. stats that you earn throughout the game be implemented not only in conversations between characters but also within battles as well. For instance, knowledge could be used to predict the next move your enemy might make after battling them so many times in a dungeon. Not predict it 100%, but as you increase your knowledge the predictions would become more accurate. Diligence could be used for something like if a shadow casts enervation on you. A higher diligence stat will give you the willpower to snap out of the enervation more quickly than normal. These are just some examples how those stats could be used.

Camous is sick and tired of being sick and tired of random dungeons.

My desperate hope for the Persona sequel is quality over quantity.

This series needs to replace its dungeon floors with actual level design; you know places that are visually exciting, beckoning you to explore them. How? Well to start with how about designing something that cannot be called a dungeon? How is it possible that to this day RPGs are released with maze-like gameplay sections laid out like grid paper dungeons?

Have we not yet realized that grid paper maze dungeons found in many an early '80s RPG owed their origin to bad game design when early computer RPG makers were trying to convert a tabletop game, designed to be played with pen and paper, into a computer game with infinitely more possibilities?

Computers of the early '80s were primitive, but not so much that these maze of hallways connected at 90 degree angles should have been suffered to exist past, say, the mid '80s.

Trudging through such dungeons and pressing attack to get through filler encounters is mundane and boring. RPGs are filled with such filler, and I think RPG players have come to accept these and even grown fond of them in a twisted Stockholm syndrome sort of way.

This needs to stop. The Persona games could be so much better if their 100+ hour play time was trimmed of all the mundane and repetition so it was a more manageable but amazingly dense 40 hours.

As an avid gamer I can tell you that one can easily cut 60 hours out of most RPG's without losing anything, and that is not just sad, it is pathetic.

Also, on the narrative side, here is a suggestion I have for all RPG developers. If your narrative segment was not worth it to you to fully animate, that means not using canned animation, and fully voice, then it is not worth the player's time to sit through.

So trim that fat, it's good for you, and it's good for us.

Josh Borreson came up the most plausible of pitches.

What I want from Persona 5 is a female main character. How about we make her a BL-writing Fujoshi that likes writing stories based on demons. One day she's caught up in her own world writing a MaraXSatan story when she realizes the world around her has changed. She has been transported into the shadow world. When the shadows approach her, she screams and her persona awakens. After the fight, two men approach her and explain the world to her. She fails to listen to a word they say and when they ask if she has any questions, she responds "Which of you is the seme and which is the uke?"

Guillaume Dube explains the reasoning behind that winning “worst entry.”

It would be really easy to put a list of things that I absolutely would like to see in Persona 5, but those things wouldn't really matter. Why? Because I just want Atlus to go with their guts and do whatever they want to do, because this is where they are the most ingenious. I don't want them to sacrifice their originality and their craziness to make a "AAA modern" game; I want them to stay in their weird bubble and make a game with a coherent, but imaginative story; characters that you can relate with, but aren't too trope-y; a system that is simple to understand, but challenging to master... All in all, I just want them to make a Shin Megami Tensei: Persona game, because this is where they excel!

Ben Jonas wrote a poem instead of an essay. I think.

This is just to say
I've never played a single game
In the Shin Megami Tensei series.

Forgive me for being
Out of the loop,
But I would like to see
A complete anime adaptation
A couple years after the game's release
That isn't watered down
And nails all the major plot points
Without having to spend one hundred hours
To play a game
Just to fill in all the plot gaps.

That is all.

Cetais Pixeleuh knows that time is valuable and that more dating is good.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5, like the others in its series, will surely revolve around summoning monsters and social links. That's a given, I guess. More seriously, I think they will use a better refined time system, just like they did for Catherine. At the place of a block of time, making time passing in small bits with conversations and everything like that. I would really love if there was an option to date other team member, without necessarily stopping the male protagonist from dating another male member.

Having only played Persona 4 so far ( I mean, Persona 3 FES on PS2 is way out of my salary, saw it in a store half the price of a 3DS XL) I can't make much links with others game in the Shin Megami Tensei series.

Maybe this time, it will be a more fantastic setting, with parallel universes were dragons, goblins and elves live? Well, without getting rid of the usual school setting, I mean.

We can also expect an anime based of it, with the popularity of Persona 4 The Animation. I'm sure the movies of P3 will be as popular.

Hanakaii prefers something a bit more grim.

For starters, I'd definitely love to see a Persona 5 that has better gameplay, graphics, and amazing plot (along the lines of a apocalyptic sci-fi but set in space). Hopefully, this time around they should graduate from the middle-school/high school age group characters, (I mean c'mon teen angst is overrated. Not saying teen angst is bad but I'm looking for something refreshing from this game). Lastly, coherent and audible English lyrics for the music would be nice, (it's kind of a waste to have a catchy upbeat R&B soundtrack only to be ruined by nonsensical "Engrish").

Bobby Bicknell cuts to the heart of something that Persona dodges too often.

The SMT:P community has been going strong ever since Persona 3, and has gotten bigger since Persona 4's release. The one thing i've noticed, though, is the amount of fanfiction and doujin created with characters like Yu and Yosuke. What I want Atlus to add to Persona 5 is the option of same-sex relationships from maxed-out social links. They've already been proven successful, and with the amount of controversial issues brought up successfully in Persona 4, why not?

Paige Villacin wants more social links and less restrictions.

I'll just start listing what I want to see in Persona 5 the most now before this thing gets too boring:

The option to select what gender your protagonist can be. Persona 3 Portable has proven that Atlus is perfectly capable of catering to its female fans; in fact the only issue I had with an otherwise flawless remake was the lack of interaction the male protagonist had with his fellow male party members. In Persona 5, as with its predecessor, the protagonist should be given the option to create social links with all of their party members, regardless of gender. However, the scenarios for the social link should differ depending on the character's gender, i.e. Senpai-kun likes female protag and flirts with her throughout their social link until he learns to be a better person. But that same Senpai-kun becomes a big brother mentor of sorts to the male protag and once again, learns to be a better person throughout their sociallink. Not the most original suggestion, I know, but being a female player myself, I'd love to play through another Persona game as my own gender.

Antonio Albarran Godinez wrote an entire opening for the game, and he used my favorite Parisian makeout spot!

The setting for my idea of Persona 5 would have to be in medical school, the silent character would be 18 years old in the second year of premed school just having been transferred from New York City to med school in Paris. Having always lived in a city he fit right in with the rest of his schoolmates, (not Mr. Popular but not Mr. Antisocial either) and he made 2 friends in the first couple of weeks and started to take this new path seriously, even enrolling to an after class job in the school's morgue. Dealing with the corpses was a bit difficult and gross at first but he got the hang of it quickly. On winter vacation he was asked to take care of the bodies until the man from the incineration company came to take them, he waited all afternoon but the man never showed up, however since he wasn't coming home this year to visit his family he decided to keep waiting for the man, the boredom of waiting took its toll and he began to fall asleep. . . At first it seemed he was looking at his reflection in a crystal clear mirror but then he was surrounded by a strange fog with a strange smell, like humid earth and rotten meat, he began walking towards a small blueish light in the distance, it felt like he'd been walking for hours until he finally arrived to a small room similar to the catacombs he'd seen in the brochures from the famous catacombs in Paris…

Jamie Hott wants a return to basics.

In Persona 5 I actually want to see a major change in pace compared to the last two games in the series. I really would love it if we moved out of the school scene and went into more of an adult world. In Persona 2: Eternal Punishment the main character we got to play as a character, named Maya, which worked as a reporter for a magazine. I would love to see a return to this kind of idea, just with the social elements used in Persona 3 and 4 since they were not in Persona 1 and 2.

Another thing I always like to see in Shin Megami Tensei games would be the communicating with the enemy aspect that is in some of the games, including Persona 2. I love having the learn how to communicate to certain personality types to get something I need to get. In Persona 2 just talking to the enemies to get cards was a blast trying out multiple ways of interrogation based on the characters used.

I guess really all I'm saying is I want a return to older Persona Games with the social elements included.

The enthusiastic Saiban Go! also likes Persona 2 callbacks.

Persona 2, in a nutshell, consists of two games: Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment which were released in 1999-2000. It is a sequel to the first Persona and provides the very foundation which its successors, Persona 3 and 4 take place. Unfortunately, the series is woefully neglected by P3/4 players for most part because P2 follows old school model (along with P1). With all the talk about P5, I figure this is the right time to dedicate as well as to advocate the very game that should be acknowledged.

I always presume that the world of P3/4 takes place beyond EP. The end of IS shows the destruction of the world so basically EP retcons the world of IS in a similar yet different way. The TV show in P3 provides vague details about what the characters are up to. However, we don't know their situation in P4 so things might change or still remain the same. I wish they return as cameo for P5 because this will answer some questions the P3 show cannot provide. It's way too vague to draw conclusions.

Conall McMahon looked into the future and, instead of finding out the next four Super Bowl winners, picked up a game magazine.

[…] Due to gamers' desire for high definition graphics and gritty reboots, Atlus made the decision to take Persona in a new direction. They decided to make it the most realistic one yet “We have spent years analysing and experimenting with what the 'Persona' actually is, and we wanted to make Persona 5 a natural progression of the idea of truth which we explored in Persona 4”. The game engine reportedly makes use of a Gamemaster that would exist "beyond the clouds” and would procedurally generate the game world for players.

“You typically start off as a child who must grow and grasp different truths. As you gain more knowledge, the world starts to open up and more options are introduced to the player, but the world itself becomes more challenging as well”.

With the right skills, the player character could even become a passionate gamer; a passionate gamer writing a snarky game column; or better yet: a passionate gamer writing a trite game ideas for a snarky game column written by another passionate gamer. Persona 5 will be available on the Playstation Vita next year.

(find the full text in the 2016 August edition of Edge magazine)

Michael Willis knows that Margaret is up to something.

I'm not so good at essays I'm afraid, but what I really want to see is a game of what Margaret alluded to after you defeat her in Persona 4. I want a game where Aegis and Elizabeth join forces to go and rip the main character from Persona 3 out of Nyx.

Yotaru Vegeta wants an evil version of Pump Up! the Volume, among other things.

So here's Persona 5. In P3, we had the Dark Hour, in P4, we had the Midnight Channel. In Persona 5, we have Aku Radio.

Something strange has happened to the local radio station. Our hero (female) has decided to enroll in a school near where her cousin, a radio producer, lives. One night, the hero goes to her new friend's house, and they are listening to the radio. Something's wrong. The hero checks the station on her smartphone app, and she's transported into aku radio!

World is more open. The overworld map is gone.

Playable characters include a tiger and a 20-something radio intern.

Boss characters are warped versions of the DJs who work at the radio station. Each represent a radio format. The Public Radio boss is SCARY!

Boost relationships with NPCs and rare Personas you find/fuse. If you're on bad terms with one of these Personas, it affects you in battle.

You can work, like in Persona 4, but you have one job; several tasks within that job boost different stats. You can only have one job at a time; quit one job for another.

Great soundtrack. Duh.

And that's all! You know, I'll be a bit disappointed when Persona 5 comes along and doesn't include at least same-sex dating and an evil radio station.


Todd Ciolek occasionally updates his website, and you can follow him on Twitter for insipid observations in general.


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