In a 4Gamer end of the year interview with several Japanese game developers, Persona series director Katsura Hashino talks once more about the themes he wishes to convey through Persona 5.
Hashino has the following to say about individuality in regards to his development team’s philosophy and the prevailing theme of Persona 5:
Looking towards the coming year, we’re rallying around the idea of bringing change through our own individuality. Internally, this is summarized in our team motto as ‘Be personal for change.’ Now when people think of the idea of individuality, it’s often framed in terms of straying away from social norms and the everyday rules of day-to-do living. People often refer to Atlus’ philosophy as a developer in this sense, although it’s also not without some negative connotations; dangerous people, for instance, are often viewed as having a sense of individuality that makes them go too far. But to me personally, individuality is as much about the good as it is the bad and as we display it towards other people, it affords an opportunity for our words, our thinking processes, our conduct to change. Individuality, for me, is most strongly about that power of human potential.”
In recent times especially, there’s a pervading sense of oppression for many people at an existential level, but so long as we as a species are able to form relationships one another in this world, we’ll always have the ability within ourselves to be able to break free from such restraints, both as individuals, but especially for groups that have a strong sense of self. In making a new proper numbered entry in the Persona series, we’re hoping to bring those issues to the forefront and are working tireless on it to make it happen, so be sure to keep an eye on more information about Persona 5 in the coming months.
Additionally, in the same interview, Hashino mentions how a 2014 game that particularly impressed him was inFamous: Second Son for the PS4, as it had several moral choices between good and bad that engage the player.
Three 2014 entertainment releases other than video games which Hashino enjoyed were Japanese films: Gatchaman, Kikaider Reboot and Lupin the Third.
People of note that captured Hashino’s attention in 2014 were the Persona Stalker Club‘s hosts—writer Mafia Kajita and voice actor Tomomi Isomura—for their work in popularizing the show, as well as the illustrator Yuji Himukai.
Finally, Hashino mentions how the protagonist of Persona 5 also captured a lot of his attention during the year. He states that he has perpetually been working on the way to develop the character’s feelings as the game’s story progresses, and how to match the character’s development with his status as a stand-in for the players.