Almost all of the characters appearing in Persona Q2 are returning cast members from Persona 3, Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4, and Persona 5. We see all of these party members and Velvet Room attendants we know and love. But, the story is also moved along by entirely new characters. In Persona Q2, we have three: Hikari, Nagi, and Doe. Each one brings something else to the cast, while also drawing parallels to the two original characters who showed up in Persona Q: Rei and Zen.
Editor’s Note: This is a spoiler-free look at the three new characters.
When players begin Persona Q2, they find themselves locked in a theater with a number of movies highlighting different dungeons. They aren’t alone. The first person they meet is a shadow operating the projector named Doe. Doe can’t speak, but they clearly attempt to communicating in their own way. The other two are a pair of women. One is an elegant older lady named Nagi, while the other seems to be a student about the same age as the Persona cast members named Hikari. While we only get to initially see these people in the theater hub area and don’t have any new-to-Persona Q2 characters right away, each one does a good job of defining themselves and calling to mind a member of the Persona Q cast.
Hikari is the "Rei" of Persona Q2. Like the Persona Q heroine, she is someone who is being aided and abetted by someone else. Both characters start out shy and soft-spoken, relying on another person, and grow into themselves as time passes. It’s there that the similarities end, which is to this game’s benefit. We see that Hikari’s demeanor comes because she is depressed, critical of herself, and not confident in herself and her abilities. Where in Persona Q, Rei was someone who gradually opened up and became personable as a result of the journey, Hikari is someone who is growing to accept herself and become the person we know she can be as a result of watching our team’s actions and courage to fight back. It feels like we have more of an influence, which makes the resulting friendship feel a little more natural.
Nagi fills the same role Zen did in Persona Q, though she does not join your party in Persona Q2. She is always at Hikari’s side, speaking for her and acting as something of a mediator between the young woman and the rest of the world. She also seems like she cares for the party, what with her offering what little knowledge she does know, initially running the shop so you can get items, and caring for Hikari. But like Zen, she isn’t exactly forthcoming. She does seem to want to help, or at the very least does not attempt to impede players’ progress. Basically, she is the mysterious stranger of the game. We aren’t sure of her motives. We don’t know if she can be trusted. But we do know that she is not overly malicious and she does seem to willingly act as Hikari’s advocate. It gives us someone to possibly respect, but also keep an eye on as we attempt to deduce everyone’s true nature.
The only wildcard here is Doe, as this character doesn’t have a counterpart in Persona Q. We don’t know what to expect from them, heading into Persona Q2. We know that they seem to be a friendly shadow. Like Nagi, there is no malice throughout the initial movies. What we do know is that as time goes by, Doe seems more desperate to communicate with the player. We also know that Doe is the one giving us the keys to find our way through this theater and possibly make our way out. Every time we clear one dungeon, they create/burp up a new key for us. Make of that what you will.
It almost feels like Persona Q2 wants to play with our expectations after Persona Q. Its new characters seem as though they fill similar roles. We have an initially timid person who seems uncertain and in need of some sort of guardian or guide. There is another person present that is acting as a protector, but has an air of mystery around them. Their personalities, eventual motivations, and the effect that the Persona cast members have on them are different, though. But by having some similarities, it might make it easier to find our pacing and develop ideas about how the story will go.
Persona Q2 is available on the Nintendo 3DS in Japan. While a worldwide release has not yet been announced, the game has been rated in Australia.