P-Studio Art Unit Interview About the Persona Series Character Design Process at Atlus


How the Work Proceeds

How do you distribute the work among one another?

Oribe: Soejima-san gets the bulk of it.

Soejima: I am involved from the initial announcement to the completion.

You’re talking of the art in the promotional materials for a new game (magazine articles, website, events, PVs), correct?

Soejima: Yes. I take charge of it because I feel that promotional art has an obligation to convey to the viewers the style and content of the game. But once those ideas are set in stone, it then feels like everyone is contributing in equal measure.

Oribe: Subtly taking on the more profitable jobs…

Shimada: You take all of them, Oribe-san! (laughs)

Oribe: But we have a system for deciding who’s qualified. It’s more than being lucrative. When anyone wants to volunteer for the job, it’s given to the better qualified employee. And a lot of that was just handed to me. (laughs)

Kabayashi: I don’t think I had anything like that. (laughs)

Oribe: Of course you did! Wait… maybe you didn’t?

Kabayashi: They keep giving you fashion jobs too, and it hurts me every single time.

Oribe: Sorry,  I didn’t realize! (laughs)

Kabayashi and Shimada: …What?

(laughs). Oribe-san is divided between the work she accepts, her particular skills, and her schedule.

Kabayashi: I’m usually asked to design the clothes if the initial costume has variations or additional articles. But when there are particular “niche” clothes, I hand those to Oribe-san.

Oribe: Not just because I want to design them?

Kabayashi: You get better ideas from a person who actually wants to.

Oribe: But all ideas are borrowed, aren’t they?

Kabayashi: And you eat mochi while we talk to you. (laughs)

Does asking for advice while you work happen often?

Kabayashi: Fairly so.

What kind of advice do you look for?

Kabayashi: Soejima-san does the final review for the work, but we give it to Oribe-san before that. We get her opinion; if it’s good, we move on, and if it’s not, we discuss the reasons. We zone in on the problem, pull out a concrete solution, then return to work.

Oribe: The person in charge of the project determines elements like design and composition overall. But when we wonder about how they can be properly conveyed to the players, we ask mediators for their opinions. We would be told things like, “You want to do it like this, but there’s another way,” or “This is a little difficult to convey.” The mediators would draw their suggestions from experience, and when we can’t reach a conclusion, all parties proceed to research.

All of you?

Oribe: All of us. Let’s say we wanted to design a dress that had a Christmas tree motif. We’d all gather various references and pick out which of them fits the idea we have. We consider everyone’s observations, and analyze what we believe Christmas trees are supposed to be. As it often happens, when each of us decide on our own meanings of it, we revise our designs and the manner in which to convey them.

Shimada: I ask for [Oribe’s and Kabayashi’s] opinions constantly, since there are things I wouldn’t be able to understand with my perspective alone. I can perceive one thing as a Christmas tree, when somebody can’t see it at all, so it’s important to consult with someone else and discuss with them.