This Is What Persona 3 Looked Like During Its Prototype Stage

By Sato . January 9, 2014 . 5:30pm

It’s been well over six years since Atlus released Persona 3 for PlayStation 2, and since then, it has been known for being the title that expanded the popularity of the franchise in both Japan and the west. In an old blog post, series director Katsura Hashino shared a look at what the game looked like in its prototype stage.


According to Hashino, a big part in the development of Persona 3 was the change of “game rules,” starting with the battle encounters.



Above is a look at a video showing what Persona 3’s field and battle encounter looked like in the prototype stage of its development.


Hashino, who had forgotten what it looked like, notes that the battles happened directly on the field in seamless fashion, without going into a different area or scene for the fight.



Due to problems related to memory, the development team decided to go with a change that involved a more orthodox battle scene change, as seen above. As you may have noticed, the shading in the backgrounds have also significantly changed after they decided to go easier on the memory usage.


Hashino says that this version looks a bit closer to the finished product, and mentions that there are many things like this that goes on during the development of their games. Hmm… perhaps we’ll see Persona 3’s original battle system concept finally realized in Persona 5?

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  • vileBrenman

    actually like to see the seamless battle system that they had for the prototype in p5 . I actually seen this video about a week ago. I’m glad you guys on siliconera posted it though

  • FlobotingIt

    That actually looks a bit like a newer version of the Persona 1/2 battle system. Pretty cool! I can’t wait to hear more about Persona 5 this year!!!

  • Warboss Aohd

    This almost looks better honestly.

    Also like how one of them kills an enemy BARE HANDED.

    • Mar Mar

      And its got really good animation for a prototype.

      I can’t imagine how P5 would be like.

    • Hound

      Probably one of my favorite parts about playing the demi-fiend in SMT: Nocturne and the non-human party in Digital Devil Saga was taking down massive armored demons while half-naked with a punch XD.

      Nothing makes you a bigger bad-ass XP. (erotic badass? O.o)

      • Warboss Aohd

        Yes, we orks do find individuals who just punch thing instead of using a weapon, whether it be Choppa or Bolter, and successfully at that as rather Orky indeed.

        If the Demi Fiend Existed, he’d be an Honorary Ork.

  • Rayhan PromisedGallery

    P3 >> P4

    I’m probably a minority though

    • 하세요

      I’m with ya there. I do like the battle enhancements in 4 though, making P3P just perfect. The only character in Arena I use is Liz.

    • XypherCode

      Same here. :)

    • LM009

      IMO the story makes more sense as cliche as the whole fighting evil thing was in P3, the P4 story overall was kinda dumb but the s. links and just the dynamic of the group was better in P4.

      • Abysswalker90

        I think you’re missing the point.

        Both games aren’t about their ACTUAL story as much as they are about the message they are trying to get across.

        The actual story exists as a metaphor to what the game is really about.
        P3 is about moving on with your life after dealing with a great loss.
        P4 is about making most of your life, and what it means to be human in a world that encourages falsehoods.

        I think their stories should be judged based on how well they manage to explore the game’s theme and get their messages across. In that department, I feel that P4 did a better job.

    • Arizato

      Totally agreeing with you there!

    • Kaetsu

      I preferred the story and atmosphere of 3 but I thought characters in 4 were better.

      • MrTyrant

        I agree with you in this one but the high tier characters in P3 are one of the greatest.

      • Mirai

        Completly agree with you on this one, I didn’t particulary dislike anyone in Persona 4’s main cast unlike Persona 3 I have Ken (I find him a nuisance) and somewhat Junpei. But no one can compare to Koromaru best character of the whole cast of both games.

        • Hound

          The first time I played the game (FES), I chronically ignored Junpei & Ken when picking a party (since other characters filled their roles and I found their voices and personalities annoying.)

          And then I noticed how much more helpful Junpei would have been than Koromaru when fighting Nyx (hard mode) >.>

      • Zeik56

        That’s one of the major reasons I prefer P4, because I think characters are much more important to an enjoyable story than the plot itself. That and P3’s plot isn’t really that strong anyway. (Compared to P2, which gets away with lots of flaws because of the strong story.)

      • Lalum

        I found the P4 characters to be much more bland.

        • ThirtyLetters

          Can’t get much blander than a grey bowlcut. Here’s hoping that the ‘red’ in the color wheel has more spice in it.

      • Ric Vazquez

        Yep, this exactly.

    • FlobotingIt

      I don’t agree with you, but I don’t disagree with you. I think both games are remarkable in their own way. I’m currently playing through P4 the first time, and I’ve played Persona 3 twice (P3P, though), and I can’t quite decide which one I like better. I enjoy Persona 3 for the fact that it was brand new to the series, a complete overhaul to everything the series was. I enjoy the atmosphere and story, and how grim it was. But I enjoy P4 due to it’s smaller setting, but bigger feeling. I also like the general feel of Persona 4 a lot, as it closely compares to Persona 2 in my mind. I do very much so like that, though they share the same battle system, the similarities end there, unlike Persona 1/2.

      • Daru Titor

        you can play P3 Fes on the PS3,
        it’s available thru PSN

    • Romancer Ecclesia

      No not really, My favourites are Elizabeth and Aigis from P3. Also, Saviour and Thanatos are freaking cool designs. Persona 4 felt very much like a high school year, which gives really good vibes as well. Not my most favourite game but still 10/10. I was so attached to green and red by day 3 <3

      Most of us just tend to go with Persona 3 since the theme was 'death' lots of suicidal undertones, stories about how death causes loss and how people overcome it… overall the heavier and darker atmosphere tends to have a greater impact on more people, I assume?

      • Abysswalker90

        I like P4 in every way really. It left a much bigger impact on me than P3, that’s probably due to the fact that P3 didn’t do a perfect job delivering it’s messages imo. P3 was a great game in theory, but only above average in execution, I feel. While P4 managed all the goals it set for itself, and felt more complete. I also like how it actually follows The Fool’s Journey pretty closely. Heavy and dark =/= Better. Just my opinion really, I can go on and on as to why I like P4 so much, but so can anybody else about their favorite Persona game, and that’s the beauty of it.

        P3 was still great though, and I have high hopes for the animated movies.

        • Romancer Ecclesia

          Yes, I can understand where you’re coming from, seeing how P4 clicked with me by day three, whereas P3 took like… three quarters of the game (minus The Answer) for me to feel deeply for the characters? I guess it depends on how strongly we can relate to the characters on a basic level.

          Retrospectively, my reasons for those two was Aigis’s personality fleshed out in The Answer and the ending in P4U that revealed the true reason of her gazing out to sea; Elizabeth being so ridiculously badass yet quirky at the same time in P4U, how she’s charmingly persistent in her impossible quest to save Minato, and the revelation of her qualifying as someone who obtains the Fool arcana at the end.

          Atlus is awesome for giving us two games that are so wonderful in their own ways, but like you mentioned, the execution of P3 wasn’t that good. Perhaps it’s the series constantly improving over future iterations that causes that impression.

          • Abysswalker90

            There’s something…off I find about the cast of Persona 3.
            The characters seem very…distant and unrealistic. Think about it, what do we ACTUALLY know about any of them? Sure, we know that Junpei is the joker, Akihiko is the big bro, and Mitsuru is the big sis council president and heir to a big corporation…But what do we REALLY know about them? Their likes, dislikes, what they find annoying or offensive, their habits. traits…Almost nothing.

            Besides maybe a couple of characters, they all feel very vague and not really there. As much as I want to like Mitsuru, I can’t, because….after all that time I spent at the game, I don’t even know a single thing about what she’s really like, and the same can be said about most of the cast.

            In P4 the characters’ personalities really shines through. Take Youske for example, he seems like a decent chill guy, but we eventually learn that he is arrogant and easily annoyed, and it comes through in every way – from the way he acts around his friends up to the way he reacts in battles.

          • I disagree about P3’s characters– seems like you’re only going by what you know of them at the beginning of the game.

            Junpei was the class clown– the guy who made jokes in the back of the class, but he never had anything in his life he could take seriously.. that is, until he met Chidori, and having to always take the back seat behind Minato. This caused him to mature and start taking his life more seriously.

            Mitsuru was the girl who seemed like she had it all– cars, clothes, money, and good grades. She was a strong and resilient woman… or so you thought. She’s pretty weak on the inside, and had it not been for Yukari she would have been the first one out. She didn’t have a regular life because she’s constantly being pressured by her “bright future” and the demons of her ancestors. So, you can see why you wouldn’t really know much about her, since she may be kind, she keeps a lot to herself.

            Akihiko would probably be one of the weaker characters in terms of development to me– but not by much. Then again, I hadn’t played FES which does dive in more with his character, so idk.

            I’m sure I don’t have to mention Yukari and Ken, but I didn’t feel like the cast was as vague. I also think they had their own problems to struggle with, which might have made it seem like you were alone for most of the time, and it wasn’t really until the end of 3 on to the FES epilogue to see them act like a group of friends. (You can count the New Years event as one, too)

          • Exkaiser

            I don’t know, I still can’t really say what the P3 cast likes, as people. They’re much more like vague RPG party members. They have personality traits, but no internality. Like, outside of Shinji and boxing, what does Akihiko like? He’s a cool dude, but what does he -do-? That sort of thing. I get that they’re all super-preoccupied with SEES and monsters every night, but since the whole game is so tied into the everyday high school life, it makes the actual characters seem out-of-place.

          • Abysswalker90

            Yukari was the best character imo. She felt the most human(even though I personally don’t like her).
            P3FES made some necessary improvements, but these things should have been in vanilla in the first place.
            I can see what you’re getting at, but by the end of the day it felt like almost every character was missing a lot of human traits that one would actually get to know after spending a year with these same people at a dorm. The feeling I got after beating the game twice, is that these people are still very distant to me, and I don’t actually know them all that well, it’s like they were conceived for the purpose of the game, without having life prior to that. They almost feel robotic in that sense. Aside from an outline of their personality, nothing else was really present.
            Pick a random P3 and P4 cast member, and compare the things of which you know about each of them.

          • That’s the thing– I’ve yet to play Persona 4. (I know, fml, right!?)

            Anyway, I just wanted to make my point– I felt like I knew the characters well enough and that was yet another reason why I loved the game and wanted to play other Persona titles.

    • Servant BerserCAR

      It doesn’t matter for me. P3 and P4 are the best RPG(s) in the world and definitely games that you must play before you die.

    • Rake

      Guess I’m a bigger minority finding P2 to be my favourite over those two. I did like both P3 and P4, although P3 was a bit bland with the dungeons, and P4 was too happy go luck with Murders being the dark part of the game, which if you didn’t know.. Murders in Japan is something that tends to scare most of the people.

      • Herok♞

        Agreed P2 was the best by far

        • mike dickson

          No Herok that’s false the encounter rate butcher the game severly I wish I was kidding but I’m not

          • Herok♞

            the encounter rate isn’t that bad and even if you find it high you can get out of any random battle without fighting

          • mike dickson

            Not when you are at the last dungeon trying to grind and something gos wrong u won’t be able to run and that isn’t the main problem when u are. Trying to leave a dungeon u will get annoyed of. The Encounter

          • Rake

            The random encounter system wasn’t a problem to me. I still find P2 to be the best in the series in my opinion. The random encounter actually forced me to grind when I was starting to slack later on in the game.

          • mike dickson

            Same happened to me when i got to the last dungeon I had to grind a lot and Trish was a bitch I ran out of cash at some point she let me die Outside her shop she so heartless XD

      • MrTyrant

        The murders in P2 were stronger and more powerful. I loved that.

        • Rake

          Even though they were scarce, they were quite impact-ful, including a certain someone’s~

      • Rake

        Oh yeah and being that Tatsuya was that protagonist that seemed more human than the rest. Having emotion, being awkward, and having his own personal issues. And ending up becoming the most powerful persona user in the series.

    • Suriel Cruz

      Both of them are AMAZING, but I prefer P3 better.
      P3(FES included) not only have the AMAZING design of Thanatos and Messiah(which are my favorite Personas), but the story doesn’t follow a patron of New Character = Character Shadow = Boss. I recently finish FES AGAIN on my PS3 and… I DON’T REGRET IT.

      To see these videos, is SUCH nostalgia, like GREATNESS. I do have the first version(original) for the PS2, which comes with an artbook and I remember those character designs.

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      I liked *If*better

      • Exkaiser

        If… is pretty cool!

    • Tom_Phoenix

      I liked P4’s gameplay and dungeon design better, but I prefer the plot, themes and atmosphere of P3.

      • Mirai

        Personally my biggest dislike with Persona 4’s gameplay was making physical skills all into one type in Persona 4. I hope they bring back the variety of different physical types from the previous Persona games into Persona 5.

    • TheFoolArcana

      I completely agree. Every aspect of P4 is done better in P3. Except the battle system, that’s about equal since they added Party Control but dumbed down everything else.

      In regards to the characters, only Dojima, Nanako, and Adachi held a candle to anyone in the P3 cast. SEES in P3 felt more like a real group of close friends, while The Investigation Team in P4 felt like everyone dickriding the protagonist. All the social interactions were extremely awkward when they weren’t exploiting a character trait over and over, and whenever they show up during others social links. Marie being the greatest example for the latter (and she’s insufferable by the way). Every time you do you her social link one of the other character’s shows up for awkward interactions. It felt like nothing was personal. On top of that, the characters are practically static in the story. Even if you consider the social links none of them grow without superhero MC solving all their problems unlike P3 or any of the characters in any Megaten game ever. And all the main girls besides Rise fall in love with you just by listening to them ramble on for few hours. Not being able to break social links is another point against it.

      tl;dr P3 felt human, P4 felt like wish-fulfillment.

      • Seizui

        …Ah… superhero MC solving all of their problems. I think that is what made me dislike P4 protagonist a lot. There was something that made me dislike him more than P3’s protagonist. Though, P3 protagonist didn’t grab me too much either, admittedly.

        • That’s the weird part to me; a lot of people like the idea of “pimptastic uber cool and perfect” P4MC, but I find that dull. For me, I played and imagined him as someone earnest and mellow that kind of just went with the chaos unfolding around him – like a sincere but meta type character.

          • Pyrofrost

            I agree, I really don’t like “Mr. Swagtastic Yu Narukami” that the media gave us. I prefer the silent Souji Seta, and allowing my imagination to do the work on how I see him.

          • Yeah, I think that’s also what it comes down to the most, regardless of the persona they gave us (which we didn’t care for anyway), it should be about us being able to fill it in.

      • As much as I love P4, it is driven by wish fulfillment practically. Almost to a nauseating point at times.

        • Kumiko Akimoto

          Well that’s true but if i could sit through the equestria girls movie I think i could take another japanese rpg crammed to the brim with friendship is magic

          • Haha, well the FiM part of P4 is great, but everyone jonesin for Seta’s bones is the nauseating part (combined with what that entails).

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            It was pretty dangerous during that ski trip i admit, it felt like blood was going to spill

      • Scrooge_McDuck

        Er, really? Speaking strictly in the scope of wish-fulfillment, both protagonists felt the same to me. P3MC felt aloof most of the time (reflected in most of his choices), yet all the guys envy him and all the girls fall all over him (with Mitsuru’s S.Link feeling the most forced and out of nowhere).

        Also, perhaps this is simply a matter of experience: my close group of friends has its own Yosuke, Chie, Kanji, what have you, and they goof around in similar manner, too. Heck, the only character who isn’t similar to my friends at all is Teddie (didn’t play P4G so I don’t know what Marie is like). In contrast, in P3 I only find expies in Junpei and Fuuka.

        So personally, I connect more to P4 cast rather than P3’s as a real group of close friends.

      • Auvers

        But in P3 don’t you HAVE to date all the female s-links (or atleast the ones in your age range) and Mitsuru even has to be kind of out of character in order for that to happen… I’m also not sure what you mean by “Super-Hero MC”, it seems like as far as their involvement in the other characters lives they all had about the same amount of involvement.

      • Haganeren

        I kind of think the opposite.

        Persona 3 is more dark, more cold.
        The group fight together but… They don’t seem very attached to one another, they are all alone. YOU are all alone. That’s why I think the battle system without party command (which I seem to be the only one which enjoyed that… I mean if you use the auto battle efficiently, you can make them attack/heal/use magic whenever you want. I didn’t feel it was a problem) genius and totally attached to the feeling of the game.
        I didn’t like the plot though, but the character was good… And the atmosphere absolutely fantastic !

        Persona 4 is more human-oriented but maybe less original because of that. (The lonely feeling in Persona 3 was so cool). They are a bunch of friend, the plot is more intersting even with the slow pace of the game. (It’s always fun to search a killer). So less atmosphere, less ambitious but
        more “human” and the cast seem more… You know sympathetic. That’s why I enjoyed them more.

        Curiously I really preferred dungeon in Persona 3 than in Persona 4. The “random” aspect of Persona 3 where you
        could separate your team for exploring more easily was more cool for me that the forced Level Design of Persona 4. (The maze was never ama in the SMT series I find…)

      • SeventhEvening

        That’s interesting, I actually felt more or less the opposite, with the exception of Marie, who I agree with you about. Everyone seems to hate each other in Persona 3.
        Yukari does have very realistic writing, but I don’t mean that in a good way. I absolutely hate her. She’s whiny, bitchy, petty and complains a lot despite having the least traumatic backstory of the characters. She’s in no way heroic or strong, which is exactly like a lot of real girls. That’s pretty cool, except she never really grows that much and you’re stuck with her the entire game. Most of the scenes with her had me rolling my eyes.

        I actually felt that most of the P4 characters more or less solved their own problems with the main character kind of standing in the background rooting for them. In Kanji’s social link, you stand up for him one time, and other than that, you just encourage him to do his thing. With Rise, you do nothing except listen to her and she comes to her own conclusions and matures without any help. She even decides what her future will hold and you can’t really change her mind, even if you have a romantic relationship with her. For Yumiko you just eat her cooking and try not to get sick. I thought the P3 protagonist got a lot more “dickriding” as you put it.

    • Seizui

      Oh, don’t worry! I am one of those who enjoyed Persona 3 more than Persona 4. I will agree with the others that the characters in Persona 4 were a bit more likeable, however, the atmosphere and story did not do it for me in Persona 4. I preferred Persona 3’s darker atmosphere and for the fact that you got to fight against the antagonistic Persona-users. I wanted to see more of Persona-User vs Persona-User type battle … instead of what you got for Persona 4.

      • Hound

        Not a fan of Persona users that turn into giant floating babies that turn into a 3D Dot Game Heroes character?

    • Sakurazaki

      I’ve actually heard more going 3 > 4.

      But it’s probably because the people on the sites I visit have a gathered opinion…

      As for me I couldn’t care less. If it’s a great game, it’s just “great” in my book.

    • Slickyslacker

      P3 = P4

      They’re both amazing games by different dimensions, and I honestly don’t prefer one over the other. I played through P4 first, oddly enough.

    • Scipio

      I agree, though I love both.

    • Kumiko Akimoto

      Nope p4 had a more likable class and has the better gameplay

    • Astromime

      Shinjiro Epitome of Manliness Aragaki…enough said.

    • Really tough but I’d probably agree. I really like the atmosphere on P3 but the combat was more polished on P4 :) Love them both at the end really!

    • Hound

      I may be in the minority as I liked Persona 3’s required auto-functions and lack of “defend”.

      The auto-AI is terrible when fighting Nyx on Hard, but I felt it was something special everywhere else. There’s more danger and pressure when relying on your allies’ AI, and during smaller battles, they were incredible at finding your enemy’s weakness despite them not being analyzed. It felt like a team. Your MC’s friends were all-stars that could do their own thing, and you helped coordinate them in fights with big-baddies. You worked with your team, you didn’t control them like marionettes. They were their own people, and it was an incredible dynamic.

      But to my disappointment, the AI in P4 experienced absolutely no dynamic changes. My MC’s friends were just as brain dead against final bosses as they were before. And using “defend” and element shields at the appropriate times simplified the party set-up and made some bosses in P4 that would have been a force to be reckoned with in P3 far too tame. I felt like it took a leap backwards with the battle system in the hopes to open up the difficulty.

      P4 is a very good RPG (and I enjoyed the social links much more than P3’s), but just like Valkyria Chronicles’ transition to Valkyria Chronicles II, I felt that the sense of teamwork and survival (instead of being expanded) was sacrificed a bit to make the game more open to newcomers.

      The same occurred with Strange Journey -> Shin Megami Tensei IV. A lot of the factors that evoked a sense of unity with your party and a feeling that you could easily lose control over the situation (however false it may have been) were significantly dialed back..

      It’s this (often false) danger that was spawned with the release of SMT3:Nocturne that really made the battle system and the psychological atmospheres of Atlus’ RPGs stand hand-in-hand. P4 never lost it, but I certainly hope they find a way to move the system forward in P5 (even if it has to be limited to higher difficulty settings.)

      • Exkaiser

        I’m glad someone else enjoyed the AI in P3 as much as I did!

    • Sakurazaki

      It looks like you aren’t a minority here on Siliconera XD

    • sharpshot909

      I liked the Persona 2 duology more than Persona 3

    • I liked how 3 just seemed so much darker. 4 seems more…happy go lucky to me? With too much fanservice. And I also couldn’t tolerate any of the girls in 4 save for Naoto, while no one in 3 particularly irked me.
      I’ll also forever be butthurt that we didn’t at least get a female protagonist option in P4G.

    • Lain

      I agree with you so much, I just finished P4 for the first time like recently I have been planning to play it for the longest time but never got around to it… till now. I’ve played P3 once before the original one on ps2 and loved it so much and couldn’t wait for the next installment. Soooo years later I got a hold of P3P and fell in love with the series ALL over again! It was exciting, love the female play through and missed all the characters. Okay but other than that after I played through P3P I started P4. I liked it too as well but I thought the story wasn’t as good. I love mysteries but I thought they could of made it more complex in a way, I thought the crime was a little simple to solve.
      I thought Persona 4 was better at game play, which I already assumed it would be XD or hoped so because its newer. I love how much bigger and longer it felt ^///^. It gave you more opportunities to hang out with your friends. Another thing I liked about P4 was how they changed up the dungeons I didn’t get as bored going through them as I did with tartarus! So P4 didnt have me procrastinating my exploring as I did in P3P X).
      I thought the characters were “okay” in comparison to those in P3. My two favorites were Kanji and Naoto just because I felt like they were unique and more interesting than the other characters who felt like throw backs to P3 just with minor changes.Yosuke was so annoying… anyone agree? lol

      Overall I love P3 more I’m sure no one cares XD.

      Looking forward to the next one though! :) Hoping they add more neat ways to interact and build up your S.Links with other people, like maybe incorporating the cellphone more or something else… I’m sure its going to be just as good as the others :)

  • 하세요

    Those arms wiggling all about made me chuckle. It’s really cool to see videos of prototype gameplay for games. I’m glad they went with what they did, but a polished version of the first version would be cool to see in a future title.

  • The first concept is great, in a good Chrono Trigger fashion.

  • SlickRoach

    Dang, if the original P3 was like this I’d have probably played it until the end.

  • konsama

    Well next gen and current gen consoles should be able to withstand what the PS2 couldn’t and even more, i would look forward to see some of these battle systems, mostly the seamless one with the polished stuff from P4G and maybe some bits of SMT4.

  • Kaetsu

    Looks like P2 in 3D

  • Rake

    Looks like a 3D version of Persona 2’s battle system..
    …Persona 2 3d port anyone~?

    • LightZero

      I wish they would give that and P1 a more modern remake. P2 would be perfection with the story and character in tact but with more of a P4 like battle system.

    • Hound

      Interestingly, it looks like the Prototype also seemed to factor in Player Positioning (which would have made it a lot like Persona 1 & 2.)

  • fool

    The use of shadows is really neat looking.

  • MrTyrant

    This could have been another persona spin-off to handhelds closer to the originals.

  • Earthjolly

    They should of left it this way

    • Akemi Nakajima

      I don’t think that’s possible for the PS2, according to the director.

      • Heropon

        No , i think it possible . Final Fantasy XII archived seamless battle and a huge semi open world at that time along with more realistic and better graphic than P3 so i am sure that Atlus didn’t have enough experience programmer not because of the limitation and memory of PS2

        • Hound

          Regardless. FFXII, Rogue Galaxy, and .hack// were MMO-likes. The flavor of absolutely seamless encounters would be too action oriented for P3’s battle system. I think something close to FFXII wouldn’t have fit the flavor.

          P3 has less of an identity crisis when encounters act more like Lufia 2, Evolution: The World of Sacred Device, or Xenosaga than Secret of Mana.

          As far as encounters are concerned, the above prototype reminds me a lot of Devil Summoner for the Saturn, where the field its-self transitions into a random encounter.

          But if you want a game “like FFXII” from Atlus, they’ve tried that. The games were Shin Megami Tensei: NINE for XBOX and Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha 1&2 for the PS2. The battle systems weren’t as well-received as their other titles at the time.

  • saxophone15

    It would be a dream come true for me if Persona 5 removed the idea of randomly generated floors. The more I play Persona, the more I realize just how much I hate that style of dungeon crawling.

    • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

      I quite like Japanese roguelikes, but I agree. I liked Persona 1-2’s dungeons way more than 3-4’s.

  • I gotta admit, it doesn’t look half-bad, aesthetically. While the system in 3/4 did allow for more detail to the characters as a result, this one definitely is very reminiscent of 1/2, and it feels nice to see. Hopefully they might go ahead and reuse it with the newer technology that’s around.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Why does it remind me of that failed MMO for the Xbox called shin megami tensei Nine?

    • brian

      Not sure if you’re aware of this, but it isn’t an MMO, though it was going to be and that idea was scrapped.
      As for the question I have no idea?

      • ShawnOtakuSomething
        • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

          “Although the game was intended to lead into an Atlus-developed MMORPG, the network pack was canceled after NINE was released, which is in part due to how unpopular the Xbox was in Japan.”

          • ShawnOtakuSomething

            yeah I know…..just saying the Beta persona 3 remind me of it

  • I love the little victory twirl at the end!

  • MasterScrub

    …Can’t say I’m a fan of the direction P3 was going in. Glad they went with what they did.

  • RagingTiger44

    Speak of the Devil. I’m currently playing through P3:FES. Well memory limitations shouldn’t be a problem today. Make it happen in P5!!

  • Shane Guidaboni

    Why in the hell didn’t they keep that smooth transition into battle?!

    • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

      Because the article says there were memory problems around it.

      • Shane Guidaboni

        I know. I read the article. It wasn’t a real question.

  • JustThisOne

    I kind of like the idea of a semi-seamless battle transition. :> If it ends up showing up in P5, it’d be kind of cool. I mean, the PS2 might not have been able to handle what they were going for, but surely the PS3 can. Or at least I’m hoping so.

    • Hound

      It seems like Atlus had been toying with the idea of seamless battle transitions for a while. Devil Summoner for the Saturn is a good example where the background becomes tiles that flip and dissolve into a battle, and bosses are sometimes set in-front of the background you were at (even if it was fixed).

      The aesthetics are rather interesting, but at the same time I’d rather not see battles that are so seamless that they appear to be MMO-like.

  • LightZero

    P3 prototype definitely gives me the P1/P2 vibe. I hope P5 uses their original idea.

  • Kango234

    That first video was actually pretty badass

  • 3PointDecoupage

    That was pretty awesome. Atlus, make this instead of Persona Q!

  • new_tradition

    The seamless battle was pretty kewl. I think it would be a great aesthetic addition if it was used in P5.

  • karldeck

    Well, Im kind of suspicioius that they decided to show the prototype of the game the same month as the stage play comes out and I wonder if this doesnt lead into something bigger, like Persona 3 complete for vita and ps3?

    • MrSirFeatherFang

      No, it wasn’t Atlus showing this off. That user who uploaded the videos did some extensive digging on the internet. As it says in the article.
      edit: wait, this video was uploaded by Ishaan lol. I was talking about someone else. Ah, oh well :P

      In an old blog post, series director Katsura Hashino shared a look at what the game looked like in its prototype stage.

    • They didn’t. This blog post is really old. We only came across it ourselves a couple of weeks ago and were waiting for the right time to post it.

  • Hi! I’m a freelance translator who does a lot of Megami Tensei and Persona stuff in my free time. I posted about Hashino’s blog post and these same videos to my own personal Tumblr (where I go by this same username) and YouTube (where I go by bobrossfreak) accounts about a week ago. Not that I’m trying to start anything by asking this, but just for my own clarification and that of the readers’, I wanted to ask whether you came upon all of this through my own postings or through your own research. Either way is obviously fine, especially since none of the original Japanese material is mine personally, but there’s been a lot of Internet chatter about these videos in the past week since I posted my own piece to Tumblr and I just wanted to say that if you did originally come upon all of this by way of my blog that I would appreciate having that mentioned. I’m not attempting or wanting to claim I was the first to find that material since I only learned of its existence through another source myself several years back and I’ve been recently made aware that small pockets of the English-speaking SMT community were previously aware to a limited degree of the existence of the original videos and blog, so if my blog wasn’t the intermediary source, I’d be happy to chalk this up as a case of just two different people coming upon the same interesting material at relatively the same time. But from what I can tell, most of the attention on these videos among English speaking fans has come since I mentioned them on my blog, so I just wanted that clarification for my own peace of mind.


    • Ferrick

      well it’s was more like the series’ director is the source of the information for this article

      though the videos may be a different story

    • Hey there!

      Thanks for writing in. We actually had no idea that this info was already out in English. Siliconera specializes in digging up information from sources that most people don’t pay attention to, and this was just another such case. Sometimes, when we find something, we sit on it for a while and wait for the best time to run it on the site, so as many people as possible get to read it.

      In this case, I came across Hashino’s blog post while digging through Index Corporation’s various websites a few weeks ago, after Persona 5 was announced, to see if we could find any interesting information. Eventually, it led me to Hashino’s design notes and I put them in our pipeline. I guess we coincidentally came across them at the same time.

      We actually take credibility and research very seriously here, and we always make sure to credit folks when we use their work, so if we’d seen your Tumblr with the translation on it, we would’ve been sure to credit you. I know how it feels when someone uses your work without crediting you. It actually happens to us very often and drives us up the wall. But yeah, in this particular case, it was a complete coincidence that we found these at the same time.

      That said, if you do translate any more of Hashino’s design notes on your blog (or already have), I’d be happy to put up a post with a link to your blog to give you a little more exposure. Obviously, we’d need to have the translation double-checked by our own team, just to make sure we cover our backs, but if that would make you feel a little better, let me know and we’ll figure something out. :)

      • Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to me! Obviously I don’t mean to tell you how to run your site and I believe you when you say that this timing was all a coincidence. I’m sorry if I sounded irritated; I’ve also had other incidents of people plagiarizing my translations from time to time and while I wrote my previous comment hoping for the best, I’ll admit to feeling a bit stressed earlier having those memories come back up. While I don’t actively use my fan work to bring in an income, it does sometimes result in people coming to hire me as a freelancer, so I just like to check up on where that hobbyist work is potentially circulating from time to time. But I know all too well that coincidences like this happen when independent translators are just off on their merry way disconnected from each other, so I won’t make a fuss about this anymore since it seems to be my misunderstanding all along.

        Thanks again for replying to my comments and especially for doing so in a civil manner. I wasn’t expecting an argument to break out over this or anything, but it’s still nice to be able to hash things out like this. :)

        • No worries. Thanks for being so nice about the issue while bringing it up. These affairs turn into mud-slinging really easily sometimes, and I’m happy we didn’t go there.

          You don’t sound irritated at all… I’d feel the same way if I thought someone was plagiarizing my work. As I said, we’ve had people use our research as their own several times, and it’s very annoying.

          I do feel bad that this happened, though, coincidence or not, so the offer still stands. If you’re going to be posting more of their developer diaries in the near future, you can let me know, and we’ll source your blog on the ones that you translate. :)

          • For sure, I don’t even really have the energy to even contemplate escalating an issue beyond polite resolution whenever possible, so I’m just happy to do my part to make sure things work out okay.

            And thanks for the offer! Most of the really juicy blogs from that source I believe have been translated by other people already, but I’ll keep you in mind if I end up working on stuff that I think your audience would appreciate in the future. :)

          • So, earlier today, I finished Shin Megami Tensei IV on the Neutral ending, and I was Googling around for online discussion of the story. Eventually, I came across a Tumblr blog and found a brief post on the social commentary, which I 100% agreed with.

            Looking through the blog some more, I found the translation of the Hachima rumour on superstition and Index’s financial standing. At that point, I noticed the blog’s name, and it rang a bell, so just on a hunch, I decided to check the comments here for your username, and sure enough, it was you!

  • AndyLC

    Haters gonna hate

  • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

    Very cool!

  • Pdugna

    People wishing for this combat to be in P5, I don’t get you….sure I would love no load times and such but the classic enter a battle and do your thing is nice and also you could choose your enemies in P3-4 easily you just walked past them…dunno just the whole intro of every battle in Persona 4 Golden felt awesome with the Battle music building up for the upcoming battle and such. This while looking smooth just kinda felt meh, and yes I know it’s a prototype but if this is what it ended up being not sure I wouldve liked Persona 3 or 4 at all.

  • Raoni Marques

    glad they changed it

  • koksuckaahh

    Only thing about p3 that i can truelly say i hate was the way the damn reaper spawned…scared me shitless first time i encountered it.

    • Hound

      I loved how aegis could fight all day with the reaper if you make her attack the enemy on the field. And he’d never approach stairwells. I guess he’s like a vampire that can’t go over running water XD

  • Prinnydoom

    I hope this ISN’T the combat system in P5. Its interesting sure but the combat in p3 and 4 is what makes the games so good. This combat looks a lot like Stella Deus I think both were made around the same time.

  • Personally, I think the prototype’s system could work at another Atlus Megaten game, but, it is not something I’d expect from a Persona game.


    The battle in the first video seems alot more interesting than the one ewe ended up getting imo

  • colorblindnightmare

    Wow that is a big difference between prototype and final product. Holy crap. P3 had a better Story and soundtrack but The characters and setting for P4 were better in my humble opinion. The Stories to me were on par for different reasons.

  • EQeE

    am I the only one who thinks that the prototype looks like a shit compared to P3 final version.

    • Manny Being Manny

      Persona 4 is my favorite game of all time and I wouldn’t have touched it if the new Persona games looked like that.

    • Well, duh. It’s a PROTOTYPE. Just a mock-up in the earliest stages of development. Of COURSE it’s not gonna look like a polished-to-perfection final product. ;)

  • Unlimax

    Persona 2.5 !
    The battle system actually remind me of the first 2 Persona games , it feels like a traditional SMT game .

  • Sydney Losstarot

    Wow, I really would enjoy the original Persona 3’s battle system. I just recently beaten P4G and while I was grinding thru the dungeons I was thinking of how interesting this game would be if it had a battle system like Final Fantasy 12. I kept wanting to replay FF12 again when ever I would fight a battle in P4G.

    I wonder why more games don’t have a battle system that is similar to FF12 now days? Xenoblade’s battle system was sort of like FF12’s but the characters that you weren’t in control of would do things you wouldn’t want them to do which is unlike 12. The RUSH option in P4G reminded me of when I would press and hold the attack button in FF games when I was grinding. I like FF12 because I didn’t have to hold down the attack button and the characters would use the actions I would have liked them to. FF13 also reminded me of holding down the attack button, but the game would pick some actions that I wish it didn’t, like picking a ice spell when you are fighting a ice monster instead of a fire spell.

    I know that this is off topic, but I wish the International version of FF12 was actually international so that I would have a reason to play it again, I am bogged down by so many new games that I haven’t beaten that I don’t have the time to replay the games I liked.

    • saxophone15

      We just have to be patient for the inevitable FFXII HD Remaster for PS3 and Vita (just speculation, nothing confirmed yet).

  • mike dickson

    Truth be told the main protagonist of p3 is by far th best IMO reason why that I don’t give a shit face and he had the most taught in his design

  • Junko Enoshima

    Looks a lot more like Persona 2 in these pictures.

  • koksuckaahh

    Hoping that P5 brings back the water and earth elements, those 2 elements were axed after P1/P2IS/P2ET for some reason.

  • brostar

    It seems the prototype used demons instead of shadows. I hope Persona 5 does that or makes a completely new type of enemies. Yeah I liked the Shadows but I’ve seen enough of them honestly. One might argue that the SMT demons have been shown enough but they all seem to have a slight redesign every now and then and their designs are so interesting and different it’s not too bad seeing them. The shadows were… okay… But none of them were as designed as well as the demons.

  • tarbis

    I’m hoping Atlus will remake P3 like P4 Golden while retaining the option to play the female lead. I’ll buy that in a heart beat.

    • DragKudo

      Would have to make a whole new game if they put a female lead for p4. No point in making yet another remake just to have the characters say she’s gone get over it. (But i see what you mean. should make a MegaTEN COLLECTION PACK)

      • tarbis

        I’m not asking Atlus to remake P4 with a female lead. Please read again.

        • DragKudo

          Ah sorry dude. I just skimmed over.

      • Neppygear

        Considering the scope of the franchise, a MegaTen collection pack would probably be the size of a Metal Gear and retail for like 200k yen.

        • DragKudo

          I would gladly pay for that. Didn’t they have the final fantasy collection thing. It had a 13-14 games.

  • Kari

    I thought i saw a dead body on the floor ….

  • Ben Green

    Persona 3 was my first Shin Megami Tensei game, so it’s a really special game for me, but there’s no doubt in my head that Persona 4 is better. but i tend to praise Persona 3 because i like it more. do i make sense?

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