Both IGN and GameSpot received confirmation from Atlus Senior Project Manager Yu Namba and Communication Manager Ari Advincula that Persona 5 Royal will have updated versions of scenes that were considered harmful by fans of the most recent title. The localization will be adjusted.
One of the central scenes in question concerns two openly gay characters who harass Ryuji, one of the high school-aged characters in the game. The original Persona 5 in-game dialogue was criticized for furthering the idea that gay men are predatory and sexually aggressive. The Persona franchise has been called out for the portrayal of gay men since Persona 4, which featured homophobic dialogue and plot beats that remains in the definitive Persona 4 Golden PlayStation Vita release.
When GameSpot spoke to Yu Namba at a preview event, he discussed the limitations of localizing a game outside of Japan and said, “As a localization manager, I really cannot do too much about what has already made it into the game.” While it’s true that it’s hard to change a game during localization, Namba further assured people that Atlus has listened to critiques and taken it to heart and noted, “Our team members felt a little bit of awkwardness (…) when working on it. And with Royal, we were determined to see if we could do something about it at least localization-wise.”
While the characters in question remain unchanged in the Japanese release of Persona 5 Royal, some see the change to the worldwide release as incredibly positive, including Advincula, who told IGN that this version of the game is “a chance [for Atlus] to make it right.”
Persona 5 Royal is immediately available on the PlayStation 4 in Japan and will release worldwide on March 31, 2020.