‘Creators Talking about Flower of Romance and Persona’ Interview Translated

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With the breakout success of Persona 5, it’s easy to overlook the series’ roots. In truth, the Persona series has changed the trajectory of Atlus many times, even before Persona 3 captured us with its bold new art style and innovative game systems. To understand what I mean, let’s rewind the clock. All the way back, in fact, to autumn of 1996. The air is finally cooling down. Leaves are beginning to turn. You pick up the latest issue of Famitsu and turn to the reviews (yes, you’re in Japan). Something catches your eye.

It’s a new game. The title is reminiscent of Shin Megami Tensei, but this one is… strange. There’s a dreamlike quality to the screenshots. Story events are presented with an isometric camera. Battles take place on a grid, adding a strategy RPG element. Your party is made up of humans. Their strength comes not from a demonic contract, but from deep within their psyche. A vague hint of a story is written across each character design. Something pushed aside, something tucked away. The mystery takes root.

In your sight for the first time is Megami Ibunroku Persona, Atlus’ most innovative game yet. It’s the characters that leave the biggest impression. Nanjo’s pompous stance, Brown’s toothy grin, Maki’s over-sized compact; it’s clear that some complex holds each of them. In order to achieve this level of originality, “fresh blood” was selected within Atlus to lead development of this new type of game.

And their efforts paid off. Selling 200,000 copies in its first week, Megami Ibunroku Persona was an immediate hit. Fan art began to pour in. Audio dramas were produced. Merchandise was consumed. I can only imagine how validating it must have felt for the development team to see their work resonate with so many people. Persona opened a lot of avenues for Atlus. Moving into 1997, it must have felt like the possibilities were endless.

It’s in this era of enthusiasm that the following interview was conducted. Appearing in the back of Megami Ibunroku Persona‘s official guidebook with Famitsu, the interview features a very meme-able photo of art director Kazuma Kaneko in a field of flowers. However, the surrounding text has never been translated. That is, until now.

For Persona’s 28th anniversary this year, let’s take a look back. Who were the creative minds that laid the foundation of the series? What drove them? What did they think of its success? And most importantly, what did they want us to take away from the experience?

Without further ado, below is “Creators Talking about Flower of Romance and Persona” with Atlus founder Kouji “Cozy” Okada, scenario writer Satomi Tadashi, and illustrator Kazuma Kaneko (along with Masashi Ida acting as another interviewer).

Creators Talking about Flower of Romance and Persona

The Google Drive version of the interview can be accessed here.

Another translated roundtable interview with the original creators behind the first Persona game can be found here.

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Enormous thanks to the following people who helped bring this interview to the modern day: