A Persona 6 Reveal Seems Likelier by the Day
There’s quite a few video game anniversaries going on lately. 2020 has involved more than a few celebrations, with Super Mario as one example. Mario and company have been celebrated with everything from Super Mario 3D All-Stars to a Direct offering a sneak peak at the Mario-themed theme parks opening next year. Nintendo fans are also looking forward to The Legend of Zelda’s 35th anniversary next year, hoping Breath of the Wild 2 will be Nintendo’s core celebration. It’s not just Nintendo that’s celebrating, though. Atlus’ RPG series Persona turns 25 next year, so that’s another cause for excitement.
Just like Nintendo, it looks like Atlus won’t let an anniversary pass unrecognized. A veteran producer and director at Atlus has already hinted at Persona news for next year, specifically meant to celebrate the anniversary. Atlus has so many other projects going on right now that it leaves fans wondering what it could be planning, and the increasingly apparent choice is that Atlus will finally reveal Persona 6 next year. The next installment in the franchise has been rumored to be in development for a long time now, and the 25th anniversary seems like the perfect time for Atlus to come forward and point Persona in its next direction.
The Persona 5 Market
If someone from Atlus had said a few months ago that there was big Persona news coming out next year, Western fans probably would’ve assumed that it meant Persona 5 Strikers. This Dynasty Warriors flavored spinoff of Persona 5 has been exclusive to Japan for a long time, and fans worldwide have been clamoring for the game to get an international release. However, only a little while ago, Atlus already revealed that Persona 5 Strikers will arrive on game store shelves everywhere next February. It’s certainly big Persona news for 2021, but apparently it’s not how Atlus wants to celebrate the 25th anniversary.
With Persona 5 Strikers out of the way, there’s no known Persona content awaiting a release in the near future. Kazuhisa Wada, the Atlus director who teased Persona news in the near future, didn’t provide details on what Atlus is planning, but it ought to be huge with Persona 5’s side content out of the way. Fans of the original game have had many months to get through the expanded Persona 5 Royal by now, and soon they’ll get to play Persona 5 Strikers to tide themselves over until Atlus’ next big announcement releases.
In a way, it seems like Atlus has been staggering this side content to keep Persona hype alive while it works toward the 25th anniversary. Persona 5 Strikers may have taken a long time to release worldwide, but that looming release keeps the game and the franchise on players’ minds. It wouldn’t be surprising is Atlus is shrewdly buying itself time while it gets Persona 6 ready for a reveal around the same time as P5 Strikers’ global release. Its market has expanded vastly after the overwhelming success of Persona 5, so it’s wise to give fans some extra content to enjoy while it plans the next steps for the series.
A Five-Course Persona Meal
It’s worth acknowledging that there’s lots of other things Atlus could announce to celebrate Persona’s anniversary. For example, after Persona 4 Golden got a remastered release on Steam, veteran Persona players are optimistic that there’s a remaster in Persona 3’s future too. In a similar vein, many fans are hopeful that Persona 5 will make its way onto PC sometime soon. Perhaps even more surprising would be it Atlus decided to return to the first two Persona games, remastering them for a new generation of fans. Atlus definitely isn’t short on options to celebrate here.
The 25th is a big anniversary, though. Just a remake of an old game or a rerelease of Persona 5 seems like insufficient celebration, especially compared to that of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, released in the year of Zelda’s 25th anniversary. Skyward Sword is a crucial entry in the series, as it tells the story of the Master Sword’s creation and the beginnings of the endless battles for the Triforce, essentially serving as the prologue to all other Zelda games. It would seem more appropriate if Atlus introduced a brand new Persona game that’s as ambitious and important to Persona as Skyward Sword was to Zelda.
Again, that comes back to the obvious option: the reveal of the next Persona game. Certainly this wouldn’t have to be the only thing that Atlus reveals to celebrate the anniversary, though. It could also announce ports of games like Persona 3 and 5 as companions to a brand new game, giving fans a chance to celebrate and revere Persona’s history in the same way that Shin Megami Tensei fans get to do with the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne remaster, which releases around the same time as series newcomer Shin Megami Tensei 5.
Persona Then And Now
If Atlus does in fact reveal the next Persona game next year, the form it takes will be a big deal. A game specifically intended to celebrate the 25th anniversary will make waves and show fans where the series is going. Lots of fans are actually hoping that the next Persona game will actually be a mainline Persona 5 sequel, more than the way Persona 5 Strikers acts as a sequel. If the 25th anniversary of the series is defined by a new adventure for the Phantom Thieves, it might mean Atlus is willing to commit to a very specific cast of characters for years to come, rather than changing things up every time, as is tradition.
One also wonders if Persona 6 will make any significant changes to the structure or themes of the games. While it’ll almost certainly always be a turn-based RPG about teenagers or young adults mastering their Personas, Atlus has all the power to overhaul elements like the combat or Social Link systems if it so chooses. It has room to be a little experimental after it’s recent surge of success, but it does still have to find ways to appeal to Persona 5’s huge fanbase if it wants to preserve the attention of new players. It’s not a guarantee that Persona 6 will be announced next year at all. Even if it’s only an announcement and not a release, though, the next core game in the franchise would be the best way to congratulate Persona on 25 years of making RPG history.