Persona 5 Director Katsura Hashino Interview About Development Process and Themes

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Persona 5 Box Art JPPersona is a “juvenile RPG” series with the setting of contemporary Japanese cities, where school boys and girls awaken to the ability of “persona” and confront a variety of incidents and difficulties in coming-of-age stories.

The Persona series will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in September 2016. It is a popular series for Atlus and the latest game in the series is Persona 5, which will be released on September 15th, 8 years after the previous mainline title. Keeping some of the themes from its predecessors, Persona 5 also has a “picaresque romance” charm, giving it its own identity.

4Gamer has had the opportunity to interview the creative producer and director Katsura Hashtino, who worked on Persona 5. He also worked on the scenario draft and game design of Persona 3 and Persona 4. He added new elements to Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden respectively. Hashino discusses his thoughts on Persona 5‘s development and the series’ 20th anniversary.

The original interview has been translated by MysticDistance of TRADUKO Soft, with help from fellow Persona Central writer Alex (@Crimsonfist101).

It’s precisely because I understand what the expectations are that I did not want to hold back with this work.

4Gamer:

Thank you for your time today, Hashino. This is the first time I’ve conducted an interview at 4Gamer.
With that said, let’s begin the interview.

Hashino Interview

Katsura Hashino: Atlus game developer. Involved in the development of titles such as “Persona 3” and “Persona 4.” His latest game is “Persona 5” as a creative producer / director.

Katsura Hashino (Referred to below as Hashino):

It is nice to meet you… this was certainly unexpected, but I am looking forward to it. Thank you.

4Gamer:

Thank you for being here. So, along with your self-introduction, we’d like to talk to you about your prior involvement with the Persona series, as well as ask you a few questions relating to the development history of Persona 5.

Hashino:

Yes. First of all, the Persona series came about when Atlus wanted to take the interesting and core portions of the “Megami Tensei” series and make it more approachable and fun for other customers. Everyone had wanted to touch upon this concept and the “Megaten” team at Atlus began the development of the off-shoot title known as “Revelations: Persona.”

4Gamer:

So, did you become involved with the Persona series?

Hashino:

When it comes to my work on the Persona series, that began with Persona 3. When I first started working at Atlus, by coincidence I had worked on a title that had the “school-life” elements of Persona, which was “Shin Megami Tensei if…” for the Super Famicom (laughs). I was not a part of the Persona Team from the start, however I myself worked on the planning for the Devil Summoner” series. I also was in charge of the direction for “Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne (PS2).”

It was after production had ended that I had thought: “I wonder what I should work on next.” After the release of “Persona 2: Eternal Punishment,” the Persona series seemed to have entered a situation where it was at a standstill.

4Gamer:

What lead to you being entrusted with an entry in the Persona series from there?

Hashino:

As part of the Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne production team, I was entrusted with attempting various new concepts for the game. At the time, Atlus was struggling with gradually broadening its player base, while once again thinking about the concept we just talked about. We consciously disassembled our work up to that point and started working on the scenario and game design for Persona 3.
…It has been over 10 years since then.

4Gamer:

From then on, you became the center of the Persona Team. The series grew from Persona 4 and, since then, a variety of other titles have derived from it. The series has grown to represent Atlus.

Eight years later, Persona 5 is about to be released. When did this project begin?

Hashino:

I believe I started firmly thinking about the title after five years had passed. At the time, it was going to be the first entry in the Persona series to be released for the PlayStation 3. I had come up against quite a difficult experience, and it was a case of trial and error.

4Gamer:

There were some difficulties?

Hashino:

Catherine box ArtThat’s right… Catherine (PS3 / Xbox 360) was released in 2011, but it was actually intended to be a test for the development of the next Persona game. We experimented with a lot of things: how to move the life-sized character models Soejima* had designed, how to craft the event scenes, and so on.

* Shigenori Soejima: Atlus character designer. He worked on the character design and art direction for games such as Persona 3 and Persona 4.

4Gamer:

I see. So, things like that arose during Catherine‘s production.

Hashino:

So, we made an actual title for the PS3, but as we had expected, it was difficult. Afterwards, the team was split into two: One side had to constantly produce titles for release; while the other team’s members were worried, yet worked diligently on the production of Persona 5 as it moved forward.

…There were also the circumstances that affected our company which made the development progress quite unstable. There were periods, one after another, where I had no idea what would happen going forward.

4Gamer:

Ah…

Hashino:

We’ve been involved in game production for approximately 20 years but, for the first time ever, we felt like we had been greeted with a situation where we made something that perhaps may not have been put out to the world. Of course, there was anxiety, too. All of the fans had a lot of expectations and they continued to make their voices heard. It was a difficult time, too. But we were able to continue concentrating on this amidst the hard times.

4Gamer:

So, the voices of those people became your support?

Hashino:

Yes. So when it came time to continue production, we felt supported by the fans’ expectations. It was for this reason that I felt, once again, that I must respond to their expectations at all costs necessary.

4Gamer:

During the Niconico livestream that aired on May 5 of this year, you were able to announce the release date and seemed to be deeply moved. In regards to that, what was your state of mind?

Hashino:

There was this feeling of relief that we were finally able to reveal the release date at last. But we should’ve said it was a “Summer Release” in the first place. I felt strongly sorry it could not have been that way.

4Gamer:

I assume that the development of the PS4 version also took a considerable amount of time, so that couldn’t have been helped. At the complete premiere on July 20, did you look at the impact and responses to the announcements made? What was the reaction like for the game you finished making?

Hashino:

According to public relations, there was a large reaction from Twitter users and Niconico viewers, but a lot of it was “How much will I enjoy the gameplay when I’m actually playing it?” So the anxiousness was actually greater than before when it comes to its release.

4Gamer:

Do you mean that, in fact, you’d rather have the voices of those who have played not reach you?

Hashino:

Of the responses we got when Persona 3 and Persona 4 were revealed, people had assumed we had settled on that style of gameplay. In Persona 5‘s case, especially, we wanted to see how we could exceed the expectations people had. How could we make it surprising and interesting? From there, we continued concentrating on that.

4Gamer:

So, when facing these expectations, how do you concretely decide on these types of elements?

Hashino:

An example would be the depth of the content in the game. From the mechanics to the volume of content, it’s these elements specifically. There’s a lot packed into the game; I almost wasn’t sure if we’d be able to compact it all down into one game. I don’t think you’ll be able to experience everything in a single playthrough.

In Atlus games, we focus on the elements of being able to speedrun through the game, of course. But, we also look at the worldview, its story, its characters, and CG technology used for the graphics to give off a specific “visual.” I think that we’ve been able to bring a satisfactory amount of content to this game.

4Gamer:

Of course, you’ve overseen elements such as the game design?

Hashino:

Customers have these expectations and I feel that they believe in me. So, I feel that I absolutely cannot betray them. First of all, we want to include content everyone would expect. Fundamentally, we aim for the design to be packed with unique mechanics and fun things that surpass the customers’ original expectations. Yet, it’s complicated, but we feel that it turned out how we intended it to. However, it’s taken a long time and people have had a while to wonder about what the game contains.

4Gamer:

I see. Therefore, you look for what the responses will be from those who have played the game?

Hashino:

Yes. And rather than worry about the game’s reputation at this stage, I think: “I wonder if it’s time for me to accept this.” It is the state I’m in while I wait for the release date.

persona-5-aoa

With the goal of “reforming the rotten adults,” the Phantom Thieves who steal hearts were born.

4Gamer:

I would like to ask you about the concept of Persona 5. The new juvenile school game with a “picaresque juvenile,”with the charm of a picaresque romance story added to it as an innovation, brought about the theme of the “Phantom Thieves of Hearts” theme.

Hashino:

At the start of development, the Phantom Thief concept was not something that we had yet considered. Because the past works in the series were stories centered around school and its surroundings, I had been thinking of backpacking: a game where you’re flying around to various places, with the theme similar to that of a journey of self-discovery.

4Gamer:

Backpacking? I was taken by surprise by the Phantom Thief concept, but that’s also pretty unexpected.

Hashino:

At the time, while working on Persona 4 Golden, I had been testing various ideas. But, in the midst of thinking about them, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck (aka the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake). I felt that, suddenly, my mood about Japan had changed as I rethought things. I wanted to refocus on Japan rather than direct my feelings to the outside world.

4Gamer:

Certainly, you went on your own journey! Thus, you remain settled into place and considered the atmosphere surrounding you.

Hashino:

Yes. Since Persona is a contemporary drama involving juveniles—or rather society—and you get the feeling that the mindset of the people of Japan had changed, we felt we had no choice but to change the concept of the project. From this point on, we had no intention to fly around the world, and we started to look at the adventurous spirit of the human mind instead. “Don’t remain how you are, try something different.” So, by connecting the idea of an inner revolution to the theme of the game, a new idea came about.

4Gamer:

How did the notion of picaresque romance lead to “Phantom Thieves”?

Hashino:

Well, speaking of thieves, I think they’re easy to understand because anime such as “Lupin III” are especially famous. Both act carefree and do as they please, while seeking their treasure. Isn’t it quite refreshing? We wanted to fuse the vibe of longing to be a free man with Persona, so I talked with the team about tackling this interesting genre and that’s when it all came about.

4Gamer:

Why did you decide to go with the “Phantom Thief” approach?

Hashino:

It is a classical genre that is enjoyed even to the present day, and despite it being a slightly old-fashioned and stereotypical genre with vulgar words, it is still relevant even in modern times. Surprisingly, however, it doesn’t mean you see it often portrayed in games.

4Gamer:

From novels, movies, manga and anime, each has had a famous work. I’d certainly say that it’s a widely recognized genre, despite it having that old-fashioned feeling.

Hashino:

I feel like those works are somewhat familiar, but I don’t have a deep understanding of them. Even approaching it from that angle, I felt it was an interesting genre to tackle. So, by making the story’s premise about other people who become thieves, I could build a story in combination with the school elements to bring forth something which hasn’t been seen in games until now.

4Gamer:

Moving on from that, how did mixing together the Phantom Thief elements with the school class elements work?

Hashino:

If you were a high school student who was given an ability like the power to steal a person’s heart, and you were able to form a group of Phantom Thieves with your friends, what would you address? What kind of person would you want to target? In relation to that sort of thinking, it was easy to build up that concept and begin to develop the game. Speaking of the thieves, could you imagine car chases and things like that? “They can’t obtain their license to drive a car yet. They’re not allowed to drive!” That’s what it’s like. (laughs)

4Gamer:

It’s because they’re high school students (laughs). So you won’t be able to actually drive a car. But, we’ve seen that you’ve shown off a new element called the “Morgana Car” during the “Complete Showcase Premiere.” It’s a bit surreal to see Morgana transformed into a bus, but it’s also kind of cute. At the same time, this particular detail is also on my mind.

Going back to discussing the mix of school life and phantom thieves in the early stages of development, you said that it was easy “If I try to make it work, surely the school life and thieves will work together nicely.” How do you feel this turned out?

Hashino:

In regards to the scenario development itself, it moved forward without this relationship. In a game like Persona, the protagonist has hardly any spoken lines. Primarily, we wanted to make you feel a connection to him from the first time you play. So, we put considerable care into conveying the direction of high school students beginning an active quest for world reformation.

4Gamer:

Rather than following the story of another, as you would in a novel or movie, it feels like you’re putting the player themselves into the shoes of a Phantom Thief.

Hashino:

Whether the thief is the player or is someone else can have a big change on the story. Various plots and developments came about as a result of this struggle. On the surface though, it’s quite an easy-to-understand genre, and I feel like a fun and unique worldview has been created as a result.

4Gamer:

In addition to the relation between “School life” and “Phantom life,” do you think you will be able to properly convey the core idea of this game alongside the concept of the Persona series? Do you think the balance between the two will turn out smoothly?

Hashino:

Will it be successful? Will the customers who pick it up feel that they can relate to it? That, I can’t say. But, a Phantom Thief in this day and age? Their vocabulary is vulgar. Or rather, relatively shameful. I think there are some embarrassing things about it. In that same respect, I also find the allure of B-movies quite interesting and enjoyable

4Gamer:

I think there was a line of dialogue in one of the PVs: “Shitty adults in a shitty society, don’t you think we can reform it?” It comes across as quite embarrassing. I was wondering if that was sort of what you were aiming for? Since it’s a high school student saying those words, there might be more sympathy to them from younger players from the same generation as the main character. While adults would think, “I wish that was me, it reminds me of my youth,” despite believing that it’s an immature thought which won’t solve anything.

Hashino:

Most of all, it’s about justice being upheld by immature high school students (laughs). They are dealing with adults and the modern day values of society, and the story should deal with themes that blend with the story. The heroes are people running in high spirits alongside what they believe is the side of justice, but you might even end up sympathising with the enemy. According to how you play, it can evoke a variety of feelings, so we’ve implemented certain mechanics accordingly.

P5 Image

The young Phantom Thieves oppose the great “incident of the heart.”

4Gamer:

So who the heroes are, their reason to fight, and the kind of “evil” that they’re up against is all born from the distortion of society. By going over the information and PVs we’ve seen so far, the keyword “spirit rampage” comes to mind.

Hashino:

First of all, a “person’s mind” is a precarious thing. It can be changed and influenced by what surrounds it, causing it to become distorted and unstable. Even if it is constantly stable, I do not think there is ever a solid grasp on it. Being able to change a person’s mind with a turn of the palm of your hand… This is an important part of the story. But, as of now, I can’t elaborate more clearly on the matter. However, this idea is a core part of the presentation of Persona 5.

4Gamer:

One thing I’m very concerned about is if it will be enjoyable to play the game from this type of perspective. To enter people’s hearts like that, the heroes use a tool called the “Metaverse Navigator.” It seems this is a key mechanic of the game.

Hashino:

The sudden appearance of the smartphone app before the heroes is a mystery. So, as you say, this is a key mechanic in Persona 5.

4Gamer:

I wonder, how exactly will they use this app?

Hashino:

Isekainabi P5In Persona 5, there is another world known as “Palace” which takes a different form depending on the person. For example, someone who thinks of the school as his “castle,” where he sees everything his way. This will cause another version of the school to manifest in a parallel world as his Palace. So you’d use the Metaverse Navigator to input the location of the Castle.

4Gamer:

Like deciding on the right path at a crossroad, players will be able to navigate to their destination, as the name implies?

Hashino:

When you go to a location for the first time, one in a modern society will rely on navigation systems, right? At first I thought, “Because this is such an important device, I wonder if it would be too mundane.” I think the players and anyone who has used a smartphone for navigation will find this easier to accept rather than an odder device.

4Gamer:

It was something I thought of, the idea of a modern tool like a smartphone causing a phenomenon that causes turmoil in people’s hearts. For example, maybe you’ve found abuse written on the internet, or it’s something you’ve read in a text. It’s something that can affect people to a quite considerable degree.

Hashino:

We chose smartphones as a tool because this was exactly the meaning that we wanted to convey. Are people enslaved by smartphones? Or are smartphones enslaved by people? I think the difference is paper-thin. The Phantom Thieves wear masks, too, and the meaning used is “persona = mask.” With this entry, our aim was to simplify the setting.

4Gamer:

In the PV released on May 5, 2016 (PV#04 for Persona 5), we saw something called “KaitouCh.”* From its name, this sounds like some sort of anonymous bulletin board (BBS). What sort of influence will this have on the world of Persona 5?

*Phantom Thieves’ Channel in English.

Hashino:

When the thieves cause an incident to occur, I wanted to include a system to show how the public deal with it and in what way the heroes are stirred up by it. This is the expression of “public opinion” that is included as a system in the game.

4Gamer:

And along with the comments, there appears to be a percentage of some sort. What is that?

Hashino:

Persona 5 Approval RatingThat is something like a support or approval rating. In the past, your reputation in the world made you known around the neighbourhood and your workplace, and places such as school. I think that people’s reputations were based on those around them. Nowadays, the voices on the Internet may be treated like public opinion, so that’s how we handled this.

4Gamer:

Certainly, that’s how things are now.

Hashino:

So nowadays, for example, if some incident occurs, rather than have a scene in the game where the hero is thanked by the person they helped, the incident might be addressed on the Internet instead. What will be discussed and shown? I wonder if this will become a natural means of expression.

4Gamer:

Checking the bulletin board to see their own reputation. Strangely, I feel like this is quite a realistic thing for them to be doing…

Hashino:

You’ll have this kind of bulletin board in real life, so it’s kind of natural that they would be checking there to see what kind of response the public has. It was incorporated to give a sense of realism. Of course, KaitouCh is not the only way to see this. You can interact with people around town to talk to them and get a sense of the Phantom Thieves’ reputation.

4Gamer:

You talk about exchanges with people around the town. I think we’ve previously had information about this system: “Co-op” (aka “Cooperation”), which is Persona 5‘s version of the “Community” (“Social Link” in English) system in Persona 3 and Persona 4. Since Community was a very popular system in previous games in the series, I feel like a lot of people are excited for this.

Hashino:

Tae Takemi Persona 5Since the Community systems and sub-stories in the games up to Persona 5 have garnered many fans, we’ve come up with a new interpretation for this mechanic in the game. You need to take advantage of these to power up, but you might be invested in a specific story and see that “this person is available to take part in activities,” so you can also use these elements to grow closer to them.

4Gamer:

Nice, this calculating approach to using people seems rather appropriate for a team of Phantom Thieves.

Hashino:

As they get closer to their target this time, many “adults” will make an appearance. The heroes all have their own reasons for feeling that they lack their own place in life. These high school student “misfits” want to make their own place in life and this is part of why they form a group of Phantom Thieves that take on serious evils. The adults are “misfits” who feel like the world has withered away, so this sparks a fire in their hearts.

4Gamer:

There are adults who, in the past, would project themselves onto heroes they wanted to be like. By interacting with people, it can trigger opportunities to grow as a human and, from this, the “Social Link” system changed.

Hashino:

Of course, force of heart allows you to become stronger as a person, which in turn allows you to strengthen your personas. The core of this system hasn’t changed. This time, additionally, if you’re friends with the arms merchant, for example, it will allow you to modify weapons into stronger ones. Being friends with a journalist will allow you to influence information and control the public opinion, and so on. It’s characterised by the idea that cooperation will expand the team’s thievish activities.

4Gamer:

Living as an ordinary student at school, then being part of a thief gang after school. It sounds exciting!

Hashino:

I hope that the players think so, too. The game’s progression is split in two parts: “daily life” and “dungeon parts,” following a similar system to that seen in previous Persona games. This time around, it features this idea of living a double life between being a thief and a high schooler participating in normal activities. Actions you’ve taken during the previous night can have consequences the next day. While you enjoy normal activities after school or train to become a better thief, I feel that those two parts were made closely linked.

Persona 5 School

The Phantom Thieves journey in order to challenge the parallel world built by the human mind known as “Palace”

4Gamer:

I would like to ask you about the dungeons where the activities of the Phantom Thieves take place. In the past, we’ve seen a variety of dungeons such as a castle and a pyramid. How do you go about making these places?

Hashino:

Because people feel like staying in the same place is akin to a prison. They want to feel that they are in their own “paradise,” amongst other things, based on the same material an individual is familiar with. But, will that change each person’s perspective?

4Gamer:

That’s a good example of places like school and the workplace.

Hashino:

As I said before, “the school being seen as a castle” is because it’s an example of the type of scenery that looks distorted to those living in modern Tokyo. What gives Persona its own style is linking the different world with an eccentric and interesting design.

4Gamer:

Does the imaginary scenery of the parallel world represent the real world?

Hashino:

That’s right. The locations are what you would imagine a Phantom Thief would explore. Like long-distance trains and luxury cruise ships—places evoking royalty—with areas like ancient ruins, appearing as locations that took shape from the warped feelings within people’s hearts.

4Gamer:

The scenery represents the imagination of the human mind, and this is connected to the locations explored by the Phantom Thieves.

Hashino:

Yes, they are linked. Like Lupin’s gang who have had treasure hunting adventures, I thought of locations that would seem irrelevant, but that would be very familiar. This interpretation represents Atlus’ individual style, and the charm we think we’ve delivered with Persona 5.

4Gamer:

Dungeons also have scenes such as that one moment which feels reminiscent of “Indiana Jones,” where you are being chased by a boulder. And you have moments where you’re hiding in the shadows to stay out of sight from enemies. The PVs seem to have introduced a lot of action elements.

Hashino:

Certainly, the PVs seem to show a lot of various actions where you’re doing a lot of moving around. But the majority of this can actually be operated with one button, so the game doesn’t demand fast reflexes. The action parts should be enjoyable without any problems, even for those who aren’t too good at action.

4Gamer:

I’ve played the demo version of the completed game during the premium showcase. The speed and responsiveness of the one-button actions felt exhilarating to perform. Movements also included hiding in the shadows or jumping between signs. All of these movements gave off this feeling of the Phantom Thieves being stylish and cool.

Hashino:

P5 ShootingThe character movement in Persona 5 was built from the general “picaresque romance” themes of the game. Roguish heroes behave in a way in which they are very aware of how “cool” they look. Firearms were also brought back, and I wanted it to be possible to hold personas at gunpoint when negotiating with them.

4Gamer:

I was surprised to see that personas are now acquired through a negotiation system. Demon conversations have been in a lot of older Megaten titles, including Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment, and I feel like it’s an irresistable element of the game for fans of Atlus since the old days. What made you bring back demon negotiation for this title?

Hashino:

The reason I adopted it is inspired by movies where the villain won’t negotiate and they’ll simply hold up their target at gunpoint. Like, hand over your money and be obedient. (laughs)

4Gamer:

You talk about negotiations, but it seems almost more like intimidation (laughs). When I was playing the demo version, I instigated negotiations by bringing all the enemies to the “Hold Up!” state. The visual of this seemed consistent with the image of rogue heroes.

Hashino:

I can’t go into many details about the negotiation system yet. The Palace is a world where the desires of individuals are exposed. It has its roots in this concept known as the “collective unconscious.” So the things we pretend not to see in our hearts, an archetype of the self. This appears as a shadow in various forms. It’s the shadows that you hold up at gunpoint, and you force them to “show their true self” in order for them to face it. It’s through doing this that you can cause a persona to come forth.

4Gamer:

It’s very interesting. However, with the return of firearms and the negotiation system, old systems have been revived.

Hashino:

Things like the deadly curse skill “Eiha” and the negotiation system have been revived for the 20th anniversary (laughs). While this is a completely unique Persona game on its own, its roots are embedded within the Megaten franchise.

4Gamer:

I see. Therefore, it’s going back to the roots of the Persona series.

Hashino:

By having a well-established history, it is perhaps quite strange for elements looked down upon or forgotten that can simply show up in a new game.

4Gamer:

Yes.

Hashino:

For example, the battle system is the way it is because we’ve cultivated that know-how. While we take in new things as well, it’s also important to consider keeping certain things. I think that, this way, the players can take in the game and enjoy it. Of course, there are some whose first Atlus game will be Persona 5, as well.

Persona Get P5

To give you the power to change “something.” This is what I think the Persona series is about.

4Gamer:

Since we’re running low on time, could you give your thoughts on the Persona series nearing its 20th anniversary?

Hashino:

Well… I’m grateful to have been able to work on these projects for a long time, and I have a special thought about this.

I remember first working on the Persona series with Persona 3, and at the same time, the Etrian Odyssey series was coming to form. It was very interesting to see Atlus grow and widen their userbase with these games. At that time, I acquired this sense of know-how. From then on, I felt it was really important to focus on that.

4Gamer:

With each installment, what is something you feel this series has put forth?

Hashino:

Everyone feels some form of frustration after playing, thinking of tomorrow like “Oh, that was fun, but the same old reality awaits me after playing the game” instead of “maybe I’ll live differently from now on.” There are things that people keep in mind that will incite change that games can encourage.

This is a common element of the series that has remained unchanged.

4Gamer:

So, in the latest installment that is Persona 5, what is its prevailing thought?

Hashino:

Nowadays, I think, “I have to do it myself to make a better tomorrow from here” is a hard conviction to have. I think that all generations hold this vague uneasiness of not being able to progress in a good form without relationships.

4Gamer:

Concerning the uncertainty about future prospects, it is difficult to take that first step forward.

Hashino:

I felt like focusing on something such as “independence” in a story about juveniles would fit in these times. However, when something such as the world is easily able to become distorted, it can be changed with the thoughts within the center of an individual’s heart.

Changing things in your own way, pushing away ideologies. I fixate my view on the world and think about how to face it in my head. I think this work can trigger something like that.

4Gamer:

Where do you think the Persona series will go from here? How would you like to expand it in the future?

Hashino:

First of all, above all else, we want to deliver Persona 5 to everyone. It’s hard to talk about future prospects, or whether to make anything at all. Personally, I want to create something that will cause a lot of talk and debates, and get everyone excited.

4Gamer:

So finally, would you like to give readers a message? First of all, a thank you to all of the fans who have enjoyed the series up to this point.

Hashino:

Sorry to have kept you waiting for so long, but it’s finally completed. Since expectations are high, it’s kind of scary (laughs). As always, I hope you enjoy it. At least, I’m certain that we’ve put together an enjoyable amount of content. The story is completely brand new, but since it shares a setting with past works, it may contain small elements that will bring a smile to your face. By all means, please be excited for it.

4Gamer:

Continuing on that note, there are also people who have never before been exposed to the Persona series. Do you have a comment for those people?

Hashino:

I feel that every person living in this modern society has something hidden within their hearts, and we made this game with that memorable element in mind. If there is one thing in the game we want you to be pleased with, we want it to be your “encounter” with this new game. Whether you’ve played Atlus games or other Persona series entries, I think you’ll find something enjoyable. If you’ve seen pictures or trailers, and you see something that seems somewhat interesting or nice, please think about trying this game out.

4Gamer:

You’ve talked about a lot of valuable details. September 15th is when we’ll begin the story of the young Phantom Thieves. I look forward to it. Thank you for today.

Hashino:

Thank you very much.

Persona 5 Awakening

Persona 5 is slated to be released for the PS3 and PS4 in Japan on September 15, 2016. It will release in North America and Europe on February 14, 2017, and in traditional Chinese in 2017.

4Gamer

  • nowhereman 84

    Amazing read! Many thanks for bringing us the translation.

  • Patrick Honeyman

    That was a really great interview. Lots of questions discussing the philosophy behind the game’s design, Persona Team’s intentions and a little reflection on how it relates to real-world struggle.

    Although it would have been great to have the game earlier these things can’t be helped when ownership of the developer changesands.

    I hope this is the greatest Persona game in the series that I get to play yet. I do wonder how Atlus will top it though if it ends up being truly excellent?

    Thanks for the quality translation of the interview.