4Gamer: Persona 5: The Phantom X Developer Interview


During it’s exhibit at Chinajoy, 4Gamer conducted an interview with the director of Perfect World Game’s upcoming mobile title Persona 5: The Phantom X.

4Gamer: Why did you decide to create a game in the world of Persona 5? Please tell us how this project got started.

Vulpe: Perfect World Games is a game developer with a lot of experience, and an early entrant into the Chinese mobile games market. Among our existing titles, we are strongest at large scale online games dealing with traditional Chinese themes. As the industry has been changing in recent years, we have been placing more focus on global and cross platform development.

We have been building a strong relationship with Sega for the past several years, so we had been considering how best to cooperate with them. Many of our team members are big fans of the Persona series, so we started to consider “what kind of game would a Persona for mobile be like.” After careful consideration and internal research, we built a proposal and went to Sega and Atlus in Japan to ask about developing a game to bring the charm of the Persona series to mobile devices. We received positive feedback from both companies, and development was decided to go ahead.

4Gamer: The reaction was positive when you proposed it to Sega and Atlus.

Vulpe: Sega and Atlus approved the proposal for a mobile game. As it is a Persona series title, I am sure it will be an extraordinary game. We have had frequent in-depth discussions with Sega and Atlus to better understand the most important aspects of the Persona series, and jointly decided on the direction of the game.

4Gamer: What kind of game did P5X become as a result of those discussions?

Vulpe: There were two options for making a Persona 5 mobile game. One was to bring Persona 5 to mobile players, and the other was to give players a new experience in the style of Persona 5. We had serious discussions with Atlus regarding this. The result was that rather than translating Persona 5 as it is, we decided to develop a spinoff with a new story.

In P5X players will put themselves in a different world to Persona 5, take control of a new protagonist “Wonder” and experience a completely new story. The title’s themes are also different from Persona 5, so I would like you to experience that whilst playing. We spent a lot of time polishing elements which were reproduced from Persona 5. Persona 5 is a unique and attractive work, so we worked to ensure that when you play this for the first time, you will think that “this is Persona 5″, whilst also experiencing the new elements unique to P5X. 

Although this is a mobile title, we are working on cross-platform development, so it can be played on PC in addition to iOS and Android.

4Gamer: It is a mobile game with live service elements, so what about updates?

Vulpe: We are thinking about how to incorporate systems and ways of playing which are suitable for mobile devices, whilst also taking advantage of popular systems from Persona 5. As it is a live service titles, it is necessary to provide fresh content over a long period of time. We plan to continue to deliver content to players whilst working closely with Sega and Atlus.

Foremost is the story. The main story will continue to be updated, and we will provide new stories in order to exceed player expectations. Please look forward to how the story of the Phantom Thieves will unfold. Additionally we plan to keep adding new events and new ways of playing, such as new characters and city areas.

4Gamer: Collecting Personas is an important part of the series. How are they obtained?

Vulpe: As you say, collecting Personas from the Shin Megami Tensei series is a key part of the game. We considered various methods, and also worked with Atlus to decided on methods that players will enjoy. For example, by exploring Palaces and the Metaverse there are systems allowing you to collect and fuse Personas easily. I hope you enjoy this to the fullest.

4Gamer: I am looking forward to that. Fusion is an essential part of collecting Personas. How is that handled?

Vulpe: This is done in the protagonist’s Velvet Room. The new character Merope will provide support for the player. Some elements will be implemented in the Awakening Beta test, so look forward to it. Fusion can be done using the same logic as the original, so this is something that Persona 5 fans can enjoy.

4Gamer: I understand that Persona can be collected without gacha systems, so what direction will monetization take place?

Vulpe: For a new element in P5X, we combined the terms “Phantom Thief (Kaito)” and “Idol (Aidoru)” to come up with the term “Kaidoru.” The game will be monetised by making these available through the gacha.

4Gamer: So this +α element is separate from the elements taken from Persona 5, and that will be monetised.

Vulple: Since this is a completely new story, new Phantom Thieves will appear. As you progress through the story, more and more Phantom Thieves will join your party. Most of these new Phantom Thieves will be available for free.

“Kaidoru” and original characters can be obtained through playing the game, however they can also be obtained through the gacha. Monetising the Persona series is difficult, so during the test we would like to make adjustments based on player feedback.

4Gamer: What sort of impact does these “Kaidoru” have on the game?

Vulpe: There are a limited number of Phantom Thieves, however there are many people in the world of P5X who share ideals with the Phantom Thieves. They will help the Phantom Thieves to overcome various crisis as Kaidoru in the cognitive world. In essence they are new partners for the Phantom Thieves.

4Gamer: How are Sega and Atlus involved in supervision?

Vulpe:  Although the game is outsourced, the game is being heavily supervised and they are deeply and closely involved. We have been communicating regularly with both Sega and Atlus, and both companies are very passionate about Persona 5. Shigenori Soejima is in charge of the main character design for P5X, and Atlus created the core of the story, so we have had strong cooperation with them. We will keep this going in the future.

4Gamer: So the two companies are move involved than I thought.

Vulpe: Yes, and almost all the other elements, such as the scenario, character design, music, direction and systems are all being highly supervised. At the start of development there were strict checks on us, but as we have built a deeper understanding of Persona 5 and have been able to more easily communicate, we are now in a very good development situation.

4Gamer: Finally please share your enthusiasm for the game’s development.

Vuple: As I have mentioned, P5X’s development is continuing in close communication with Sega and Atlus. We are working hard to release it as an entirely new smartphone game based on the world view and setting of Persona 5. Please look forward to it.