This Week in Games
The Return of Persona 5

by Heidi Kemps,

Hey all! Gonna be a bit of a short one this week, as I'm in the midst of preparing for MAGfest, which starts… today! Eep!

Well, fortunately, it's a week of newsbits and a few big stories. Right now, Japan is in the midst of a New Year's celebratory period, and while that means a lot of things are closed and companies are on vacation, there are also a fair few events going on that have delivered some announcements, so we'll take a look at those.

Also, it's traditional for Japanese companies to send out new year's greeting cards, some of which feature nifty exclusive art. Gematsu has been collecting quite a few of these, so hop over there if you want a nice gallery of 2019 game industry new year's goodwill.

And hey, if you're going to be at MAGfest, I cordially invite you to come to the panels I'll be staffing. On Thursday at 8:30 PM I'll be talking about Video Games You've Never Heard Of, while on Friday at 9:30 AM myself and Matt Hall will be taking you on a journey through The Weirdest Arcade Fighting Games You've Never Played. Finally, to close out the event on Sunday, Matt and I will be playing randomly picked arcade games with the audience in MAME Roulette Live at 2:30 PM. If any of that sounds like a good time to you, then come on by and join the fun!

Anyhow, on to the news.

SURPRISING NO ONE, THERE'S AN EHANCED PERSONA 5 IN THE WORKS

Atlus recently opened a teaser website for “P5R.” Hmmm, I wonder what that could be?

Yeah, it's a new and improved Persona 5 in the same vein as P3FES and P4 Golden. There's a PlayStation logo attached to the uber-mysterious teaser trailer, so we know it's coming to PS4, at least. More details are planned to be revealed sometime in March.

Now the bigger question is “Is it coming to Switch too?” Which… well, let's be real here, Sakurai was at the Atlus offices giving them a hand-drawn picture of Morgana Kirby. I'd frankly be shocked if it wasn't coming to Switch. I anticipate the reveal will likely be on a Nintendo Direct, since that's where Nintendo and their third parties like to announce big stuff.

There were also a few announcements pertaining to this year's live Persona music concert, which will be held on April 24 and 25 and has the light novel-length title of “Persona Super Live P-Sound Street 2019: Welcome to No. Q Theatre!” Alas, unless you're in Japan, you'll likely have to wait for some sort of DVD/Blu-Ray release to see this concert.

(A suggestion from me: if you run a major anime con, a Persona concert in the States would be a hell of a get for your event. I'm just saying.)

M2 PREPS THEIR NEXT BIG SHOOTER RE-RELEASE

M2's been on an absolute tear recently. They've been killing it with the Sega Ages releases on Switch, knocked it out of the park with the PS4 release of Ketsui (which I reviewed in this column a couple weeks back), and just recently announced that they've acquired the rights to the beloved Aleste shooters and are working on a brand-new installment.

They also ran a poll as to what old shooters fans would like to see them handle for a re-release. The winner was ESPrade, a 1998 Cave release featuring a crisis in near-future Tokyo that only a trio of psychic teenagers can handle.

ESPrade is one of Cave's most beloved games, yet up until this point it's never had a home release. Atlus published the game in arcades (back when Atlus still did things in arcades), and presumably still has the rights – but since they're a part of Sega now ownership has gotten a bit more complicated. Still, it seems like M2 was able to work out the rights issues, and ESPrade is set for a long-awaited home release sometime in 2019.

A teaser website is online, and a limited edition physical package with a special illustration by Junya Inoue (the original art designer who is perhaps better known nowadays for the BTOOOM! manga). Japanese site Denfaminicogamer interviewed the M2 crew, and they said they're openly soliciting ideas for both gameplay-enhancing “gadgets” to include in the re-release and goodies for the limited edition bundle. Everybody, do me a favor: let them know that the LE should include a really pretty figure of J-B 5th, because I do not have enough figures of Cave shooter boys in my life.

ASSORTED NEW YEAR'S NEWSBITS

  • From Software says they have two unannounced games in the works. Cue more frothing fan excitement for Bloodborne 2, then crushing disappointment when neither is Bloodborne 2. Personally, I'd lose my mind if From made something totally out of left field. Or rather, King's Field.
  • Ryoei Mikage, former CEO of the now-bankrupt RPG developer ImageEpoch, is planning for his new company to announce a game on February 9th. Apparently it will “utilize IP created during the ImageEpoch era.” Perhaps a new Luminous Arc?
  • The Super Real Mahjong revival seems to keep on going strong, as a port of Super Real Mahjong PV was recently announced for the Japanese Switch. It's got the series staples: Ryō Tanaka character designs and animation, lots of voice and cutscenes, and exquisitely detailed sequences involving the removal of clothing. Given that this is coming to Switch, you'll probably only be able to get the ladies down to their skivvies. I doubt a Western release is in the cards, but the beautifully machine-translated Taisen Hot Gimmick is on the Western eShop, so who knows?
  • The Klonoa anime that was said to be in the works is no longer, according to a tweet from people involved. While it's disappointing, it's not surprising: Klonoa is a franchise that, while beloved by a very devoted audience, seems to be a hard sell to the mainstream. It feels like everything Klonoa-related in the last decade has simply been a nonstarter: the re-released game on Wii, the webcomic on Shiftylook, and now this. Pour one out and give a sad “wahoo” to our fuzzy friend.

And that's all for this week. See you again once I'm back from the East Coast!


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