Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night Development Interview on Music and Costumes

The recently released issue of “Persona Official Magazine #2018 DANCING!,” on May 24, 2018, includes two sets of interviews with developers behind Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night.

General Development

The first interview is with producer Kazuhisa Wada, director Nobuyoshi Miwa, and composer Ryota Kozuka.

The fully translated interview, which includes comments from remix artists on their songs, can be read on kouhi.me.

Main Themes

  • On P5D’s main theme “GROOVY” (Kozuka): “I wanted to show the mischievous nature of the original game, so it’s a bit of a thrilling song. I wanted to take it 1.5 steps further, and have people think ‘Yeah, P5 was like this.’ “
  • On P3D’s main theme “Our Moment” (Kozuka): “Kobayashi (Atlus planner Teppei Kobayashi, P3D/P5D sub-director) told me he wanted it to sound “VIP” *laughs*. P3 is a long-established series, so in contrast to P5, he wanted something that the veterans would appreciate. So, I thought I’d make something where you could feel nostalgic from the original game. At first I considered putting a bunch of P3 elements together like a buffet, but I changed my mind and settled for “P3-style with a bit of a digression into Dancing-style”. Like if what the RPG had was Salisbury steak, this would be fried shrimp *laughs*.”

Remix Artists

  • On considering remix artists: Atlus business planner Yosuke Uda used to be a DJ and is outspoken when it comes to the music scene, so he made many requests regarding the remix artists involved with the games. Atlus composed a list of famous and up-and-coming artists that were popular online, organized them by style of music, and made their selection based on those lists.

Gameplay

  • On the rhythm game charts: Atlus wanted to update how they made the music charts from P4D to P3D/P5D, so they had Kozuka be responsible for its foundation, and he ended up creating most of the Normal difficulty charts.
  • On the rhythm game charts #2 (Miwa): “Also, in P4D we didn’t use many precise notes like sixteenth notes, but this time we had a wider variety of songs, so we didn’t put any restrictions on how precise the notes could go.”

Costumes

  • On the costumes: The artwork team had a lot of different ideas, with a lot of them causing conflict between the artwork team and the rest of the staff when it came to implementing them into the games. The artwork team are the ones who strongly insisted that cross-dressing costumes be added. One of the scrapped cross-dressing costume ideas was an “oiran” costume for Yusuke, which was not technically feasible.

  • On the Sega collaboration costumes: Miwa was the one who matched up the Yakuza series Sega collaboration costumes with the characters. Ann Takamaki was given Goro Majima’s outfit “because of the opinion that ‘Majima is the heroine of Yakuza’.” “For both Yakuza and VF, we wanted to choose outfits that would match the characters instead of going for shock value.”

Artwork

The second interview is with “Atlus Artwork Team Art Director” and character designer Shigenori Soejima, Persona Team designer Akane Kabayashi, and Persona Team designer Azusa Shimada.

The fully translated interview can be read on kouhi.me.

General Design Work

  • Main costume and box art designer: The one who designed all of the main costumes and was in charge of the box art was Akane Kabayashi. Azusa Shimada helped, which she had teased in a March 2017 new employee interview.
  • On P3D’s logo: Soejima pondered over whether to use Koromaru or Aigis for the P3D logo, but determined that Koromaru was not representative of the game.
  • On the concept behind the box art: The main theme behind the box art illustrations was “sweat,” to evoke passion through dancing. The characters hadn’t been drawn perspiring before, and it took a lot of effort to execute on the concept.
  • On making Persona series designs for the original games (Kabayashi): “Most people might think it’s based on intuition, but many, many of the Persona series’ designs are made with logic as well, because we can’t explain them to people otherwise. Saying “We made it this way, now feel it” isn’t going to convey what we want, and the viewers miss out on the fun of speculation.”

Costume Design Work

  • On costume design freedom: The artwork team had more freedom when designing costumes for P3D/P5D compared to with P4D, as the foundation had been laid out already.
  • On technical limitations: The art team had to avoid making long dresses and swaying parts due to technical limitations.
  • On cross-dressing outfit design: “The crossdressing outfits were designed by the women, since men just don’t have the right sense for it. If you told me to design crossdressing outfits, they’d all turn out gross. At the very least, you wouldn’t be able to imagine the boys wearing them despite their embarrassment *laughs*.”

Character Rooms

  • On Yusuke’s Room (Shimada): “Yusuke was assigned to me, but I ended up contemplating what kind of art Yusuke was aiming for… I put a lot of weird objects and reference images in his room, so he seems totally insane *laughs*.”
  • On Ryuji’s Room (Shimada): “His laptop is on a steel rack and there are dumbbells and protein drinks lying around… He seems like the type to drink a lot of soft drinks, so there are a lot of bottle caps, too. And then there’s the rows upon rows of manga.”
  • On Haru’s Room (Shimada): “On the other hand, Haru’s room was difficult to design. We couldn’t just leave stuff related to her hobbies lying around. We deliberately refrained from showing off her personality, because she lived a sheltered life and her furniture was probably decided by her father.”
  • On Makoto’s Room (Shimada): “The basic idea was for everything to be arranged meticulously with a few cute mascots mixed in. Like that Buchimaru-kun cushion *laughs*. It shows that she deviates from her serious personality in some ways.”
  • On Ann’s Room (Kabayashi): “[…] I made it without having to think too deeply. The only issue was that it looked like a Western-style room, so I added things like an air conditioner and a power strip to make it look more Japanese.”

Persona 6

  • On the next mainline Persona game theme color (Soejima): “Although we already have a complete-feeling set of theme colours–blue, yellow, and red–so we’re trying to figure out what we should do next *laughs*. Maybe silver or pearl? *laughs* Anyway, I don’t know what’s going to happen with that, but first we have to get these games rolling, and hopefully that’ll lead into our next work.”

More information about the development for the recent Persona rhythm games can be found in a previous interview.

Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night was released for the PS4 and PS Vita on May 24, 2018 in Japan. They will be released for both platforms in Traditional Chinese on September 20, 2018.