Series chief director Katsura Hashino recently shared the latest on the development of Persona 5 in the March 2016 issue of Persona Magazine. Here are some of the key notes from the interview. [Thanks, Game Jouhou.]
- Persona 4 got a bunch of extra content added to Persona 4 Golden, and as a result of not compromising with the volume, it was a lot of work. That said, [Persona 5] has some truly gorgeous content.
- Dungeons and level design will be very different when compared to past titles. There are things that make them all different, and each dungeon will be thoroughly enjoyable.
- Thanks to having a bit of a stereotypical theme with “phantom thief,” it made it possible to be able to put in work that will surprise the players. From there, they’re looking to mix in contemporary drama with the likeness of Persona, to create something that can express the fun of entertainment.
- The reason the stage is set in Tokyo is so they can push the idea of having an amazing phantom thief drama play out in the world we know.
- Most of the characters in the game are labeled, judged, and are living unfortunate everyday lives that have no escape. Rising up and breaking out of such situation is what you’ll see as you move forward in the game.
- About Ryuji Sakamoto: He’s one to say “let’s change this world!” and pull the protagonist. It’s because of Ryuji that the protagonist begins his life as a phantom thief. He may be defiant, but he’s a nice guy. For this reason, voice actor Mamoru Miyano is a good fit. His Persona “Captain Kidd” is a good fit with Ryuji’s setting and episode.
- About Ann Takamaki: She’s a quarter-American girl who returned to Japan, and while she may be popular, she doesn’t have any friends, and is a character that looks like she may stand out among her peers, but she’s actually isolated and lonely. Once she joins the party, she’ll take on the role of the life of the party. Her Persona, “Carmen,” has a femme-fatale side to her, and due to a certain incident, they join the protagonist and Ryuji to take on the other world. That said, she’s a character that will have an impact on the fate of the main characters.
- About Morgana: Morgana is similar to Persona 4’s Teddie, and will help in the navigation of the other world. Morgana has been working in the phantom thief business since before due to certain reasons, and will raise the protagonist and friends as proper phantom thieves. Morgana takes the appearance of a regular cat in the real world, but Hashino will keep the reason for that as a surprise for now. Morgana’s Persona “Zorro” is actually his/her admired form. Since Morgana is little and is often called out with “hey, cat,” the Persona shows its ideal macho form.
- About Yusuke Kitagawa: An eccentric character, but you might sense a different charm from him than you’d get from his illustration appearance. He’s a talented artist, and is an honor student in art.
- There will be a similar system to “Social Link.” With the question of how to make communication for the characters of Persona 5 into a driving force, Hashino hopes to see it go a step higher in the human relation part of things than what we saw in the Social Link of Persona 3 and Persona 4.
- Heading into the Persona series’ 20th anniversary, Hashino hopes they can make an announcement to please the fans, but he hopes everyone looks forward to Persona 5 first.
Persona 5 is expected to release in summer 2016 in Japan for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, and sometime later in 2016 for North America.
[Editor’s note: We got in touch with Atlus about Morgana’s gender, and Atlus says that while they can’t say whether it’ll have any bearing on the final localization or if things have changed since, they used gender-neutral terms when localizing the interview with GameInformer, where Morgana’s gender wasn’t confirmed when asked. That said, we’ll do the same until further notice.]